Got the back-to-school blues? My Sweet Vegan author and food photographer Hannah Kaminsky is just the girl to cheer you up. Between classes and exams, Hannah adds flavor to the school year with her e-cookbooks—including Lunch Box Bites—and her blog, Bitter Sweet. Here, Hannah takes time out of her busy school schedule to share a few lessons of her own.
Q: You take all your own photographs for your cookbook, e-cookbooks, and blog; what’s your process for turning kitchen creations into eye-catching images?
A: Every dish is different, but the goal is always the same: make it look absolutely mouth-watering. This is often easier said than done, especially with messy or ugly dishes Take Saag “Paneer,” for example—looks like stewed grass clippings, but tastes wonderful! Here are two helpful food photography tips:
1. Keep it clean. A few errant crumbs can be nice, since you don’t want the scene unrealistically immaculate, but you don’t want splatters and splashes all over the place. Wipe the rim of plates and bowls with a towel, and make sure silverware glistens. And don’t clutter up the set with tons of odds and ends.
2. When framing your shot, do get close to your food, but not so close that you fall in. In other words, snap the photo close to your food, but not so close that you can’t tell what you’re looking at. I’d rather be able to identify a dish as corn chowder than puzzle over a single giant corn kernel floating in a sea of broth.
The best part about food photography though, is that there are no hard and fast rules. Sometimes I go against my own advice, but these suggestions work at least 90 percent of the time.
Q: Do you see yourself pursuing food photography and vegan baking as a career after college?
A: Definitely! I hope to pursue a career in food photography primarily, so I’m only taking courses that will improve my photography skills. But I don’t think anything would stop me from writing new recipes, baking, and cooking, so whether or not I continue that path professionally, it will always be a passion of mine.
Q: What role has blogging played in your development as a photographer and baker?
A: Without the blog, I don’t think I would be baking or doing serious photography at all! Originally, Bitter Sweet was just a craft blog. Eventually, cooking and baking seemed like an obvious avenue to go down. I learned from experimentation, right there in those early posts. That’s the best thing about my current line of work—it’s also my hobby, and I love doing it!
—Sarah J. Montoro, Editorial Intern