At first, you may think it’s crazy to believe you can improve your photography by photographing your meals. But it's true. Like in all things, practice makes you better. Practice makes perfect, as they say. Most of us don't get near enough practice on our craft. Most people cameras never come out of the closet, unless its someone's birthday or a family vacation. Photographing your meals will give you the opportunity to practice your photographic technique and more importantly sharpen your photographic eye.
The beauty of practicing your photography during meals is the time to compose, and study light, shadows, textures is it’s already built into the process of dining out. In a normal restaurant setting you place your order and then you wait for the waiter or waitress to bring your meal. During this time it'll allow you to observe and look with your photographic eye for light shadows and textures and subjects of interest.
When the meal comes, try and see the details, the beauty, and try to quickly construct the perfect shot to showcase your meal. Here I have a simple Fried Egg Sandwich. But notice the detail, the textures, and then of course the runny yolk which brings all things together in the shot. It was the perfect opportunity to test my composition and technical skills. I wanted a reduced depth of field to create a pleasing aesthetic and draw the viewer’s eye to the subject. Here I chose a composition that isolated a small section of the sandwich for a more dramatic effect.
This shot above, I was having breakfast and the waitress was kind enough to bring me my morning coffee first before the meal. I opened one of the dairy creamers and quickly ported into my cup of Joe. As I started to look for a spoon to stir my coffee I glanced at the coffee mug and saw this almost surreal unmixed texture of coffee and creamer in the mug I immediately said to myself I need to capture this. I quickly pulled out my camera compose the shot and captured. I think you’ll agree that this shot is aesthetically pleasing.
This shot here I can almost take no credit for as the restaurant cook did most of the work for me. the chef here carefully orchestrated my plate so that it was extremely aesthetically pleasing and made me hungry. This was a simple quick snapshot grabbed, as I couldn’t wait to dig in! The chef here actually knew that we eat with her eyes first, then our stomachs. By the way this breakfast was delicious!
The shot here was one of extremely slow service. I was waiting for my food to be delivered by the waitress for over 20 minutes I got bored and saw the fork sitting on the table and I decided it was time to pull out my camera and work on my depth of field control. I placed my camera directly on a napkin dispenser and used it as a tripod to study my shot and opened up to my widest aperture to restrict the depth of field strictly to the fork tines. Is this shot a masterpiece no not by any stretch of the imagination. It was simply be practicing my craft and my depth of field control.
So the next time you’re dining out, why not grab your camera and take it along for the ride. You’ll never know what you’ll discover most of all have fun and practice your craft.