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Posts Tagged ‘food photography’

Right now I am preparing a yummy recipe that I’ll be posting here tomorrow. Meanwhile I have something else you might want to see.

 
Over the past few months some of you asked me how this or that photo had been taken. Your questions gave me an idea that you might find interesting to see how several of my sets looked like. I myself love this kind of information and seek it eagerly wherever possible.

So, from now on, if I find the photo set that I’ve created interesting in a certain way I’ll show it to you.

If it helps at least one of you then my mission was worth it.

 

The picture above is by far not perfect or exquisite or anything. But what I find interesting about it is the lighting. You might be wondering how on earth that set was lit and whether I used artificial lights or not. And how I dare own photography lighting without letting you know.
 
 

So, this is what the set looked like.

I don’t use lights since I don’t own photography lights.

But what I own is my home-made silver reflector (you can find its heart-touching story here). And then I have one window. And then I have some white paper that I duct taped to the wall and to my kitchen countertop. And that’s it!

Very, very simple.
 
 

This is the job that my camera did.

Well, she was really trying.

I still love her dearly.

And yes, I refer to my camera as her. It’s my best friend after all. Actually, I might start calling her Amelie.
 
 

And this is how Photoshop helped.

Needless to say, I love Photoshop.

I might start calling it Fred.

 

See you soon!

Love,

Petra
 

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I am writing this post for one reason.

I’d just like the whole world to know how much I love Photoshop.

Among millions other things it helps me with every day, it is a real hero when it comes to correcting shadows.

Especially in food photography, eliminating the underexposed areas (aka shadows) and showing their true structure and color is a very precious thing. It makes the food so much more appetizing.

Just let me show you something…
 
 

This is the original picture from my recipe for Farfalle with Tomato-Cheese Sauce.

I like the picture, but not as much as…
 
 

… I like this one.

This picture has undergone one simple Photoshop procedure.

As a result, the most wonderful shade of red color I know has appeared. Mere looking at that color has strong therapeutic effect on me.
 
 

This is how to do it:

1. Open the photo is Photoshop (I am using Photoshop Elements 8).

2. Click EnhanceAdjust LightingShadows/Highlights in the upper bar.

3. A smaller window will pop up with the first (Lighten Shadows) slider dragged to 25 automatically.

You should already see that your picture has improved substantially. If you don’t see any change, make sure you have selected the Preview check box.

You can move the first slider left or right to find the right amount of correction.

4. If you are happy with the result, click OK.

And that’s it.
 
 

Just give it a try and enjoy the beautiful changes it brings.

Love,
Petra

(To learn more about my quest against shadows have a look at this.)

 

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Textiles are food’s best friend.

That is the reason why textiles are my best friend, too.

Whether they are tablecloths, table mats, kitchen towels, napkins or just spare pieces of fabric, I love them all.

Dearly.

Well, welcome to the universe of my addictions.

This is one of many.

Many, many.

 

As with any other obsession, buying colorful textiles is completely out of my control and I see no end to this activity.

The only thing I need is MORE!

 
 

This week, I was ‘lucky’ enough to stumble upon these cuties in Tesco.

I immediately saw perfect props for my photographs in them.
 
 

They were being sold as color-matching sets of two under the official name ‘Tea Towels’.

 

There was a blue set – this could work perfectly in pictures with biscuits or bread.
 
 

Then there was this olive-green set.

I love it.

It could help salads of any kind stand out.

Pasta salads included.
 
 

A red set.

What a color!

Hypnotizing!

It’s delivering a very brave statement.

When I look at it my brain keeps screaming ‘RED’ for the next five minutes.
 
 

And then I grabbed this brown set, too.

Can you see the top towel?

There are prints of cakes and steaming cups of coffee on it.

Well, how was I supposed to not buy it?

How?

How could that be done, I ask?
 
 

Have I already told you how much I love them?

Can’t wait to use them all.
 

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The early fall is truly magical.

These days I love to revel in all the pleasant impressions that this time of year evokes in me.

I love the calm… as if everything is coming to rest after all the hard work.

I’m excited when I see first signs of the glitter party that nature is going to throw soon.

Also, I love to go for long walks and enjoy the nice and warm days.

And if I didn’t sleep so late I’d definitely enjoy the crisp and cool mornings.

Hm, you can’t have everything, I guess.

 

But most of all, I enjoy the fruits of this season.

Like apples, for example.

In my world, there’s nothing more wonderful than the smell of apples and cinnamon coming out of the oven.

That’s why I end up making all sorts of apple-cinnamon creations these days each year – Apple Crisp being one of my favorite.

Yum!
 
 

The ingredients are simple and economical.

And that’s great.

 

Now I invite you to have a look at what crazy stuff was going on in my kitchen…
 

1. First, I preheated the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
 
2. I placed all the ‘topping’ ingredients into one bowl – namely the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, butter, salt, oats and walnuts.
 
Okay, maybe it wasn’t that crazy.
 
 

3. Using a fork, I combined them all just until this crumbly mixture had formed and no large pieces of butter were visible.

The topping is finished.

Easy!
 
 

4. Then I grabbed six medium apples.

These are Golden Delicious.

Also Empire, Gala, or Braeburn are especially good in this recipe.
 
 


5. I peeled, washed, cored and sliced them.
 
 

6. And then I cut the slices into 1 inch (2.5 cm) chunks.
 
 

7. To make the filling, I placed the apples, the lemon zest (I used dried lemon zest) and the sugar in a larger bowl…
 
 

8. …and tossed it to combine.

Mmmm… can you smell that?

Instant home!
 
 

9. I am brushing a dish with vegetable oil here.

Instead, you can butter the dish or just spray it with some cooking spray.

Also, although I used a slightly larger dish, I recommend to use a 9 inch (23 cm) deep dish pie plate or an 8 x 8 x 2 inch (20 x 20 x 5 cm) baking dish.

 
 

10. Fill the dish with the fragrant apple filling.

 
 

11. And, using your fingertips, spread the topping evenly over the apples.
 
 

12. Pop it in the oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until bubbly and the topping is golden brown.

 
 

13. Remove from the oven, place on the cooling rack and let cool for about 30 minutes.

Then dig into it with a spoon and check whether everything is all right.
 
 

And if everything is perfectly all right, and it definitely will be, proceed to another step – fill a bowl with some more spoonfuls of this flavorful, juicy and crispy wonder.

Add a nice, fat scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

Or two.

Or four.
 
 

And have a great time!
 

If, by any chance, you end up with some leftovers, refrigerate them and reheat them before serving.
 
 

Enjoy!

 

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I’ve been carrying an idea to prepare a tuna sandwich in my head for quite some time.

Cause I love tuna.

It’s my favorite fish of them all.

Maybe because that’s the only one I eat, actually.

 

Anyway, recently, when making this delish Potato Soup, I ended up with one unused celery root and was looking for a dish that would incorporate it somehow.

Things have come full circle when one of the first recipes that I came across was actually for a Tuna Sandwich.

There was no question about the celery root any more.

Task completed.

Case solved.

What needs to be done, has to be done.

 

When I searched some more I also found out that people have produced about a zillion Tuna Sandwich recipes throughout the history.

It looks like it’s some kind of a popular ritual that we all share and enjoy.

Okay folks, I wanna play this game too and this is my addition…
 
 

Please, meet the ingredients.

They are yummy.
 
 

Let’s start with this handsome buddy, if you don’t mind.

It’s a celery root aka celeriac.

I write about its life story and why it needs your love here.
 
 

1. Slice off the skin of the root, wash it and grate it finely.
 
 

Like this.
 
 

2. Grab one half of red onion and chop it.

It will add a wonderful taste and also a wonderful color to the salad.
 
 

3. Let the onion and the celery make friends in a larger bowl.
 
 

4. Now break the Chinese cabbage into individual leaves, wash them and drain them.
 
 

5. Slice the leaves into thin strips, leaving out the firmer parts.

And I don’t mean fingers here.

Which you should of course leave out.

 
 

6. Then chop the cabbage even more finely and add it into the bowl.
 
 

7. Drain the tuna and throw it in too.
 
 

8. And now the best part (for some of us) – add nice eight heaping tablespoons of mayo.

That amount might sound a little devilish, I agree.

But consider that we are making a lot of sandwiches here – about ten – so it’s kinda all right.

Right?

Are you with me?

 
 

9. Season it with the Worcestershire sauce and mix until combined.

 

10. And then taste it and add some salt if you wish to.
 
 

11. Spread the newly made salad mixture on a bread slice and top with another slice of bread.
 
 

Then have a bite and enter heaven instantly.

It’s beyond delicious!

Enjoy, dear friends.

(This recipe feeds one smaller army – it makes about 10 sandwiches.)
 

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My name is Petra and I am… ahem… a cheesecake maniac.

Yes, I dream about cheesecakes.

Yes, I collect cheesecake recipes.

Yes, I’ve prepared many.

Yes, I am sure I have yet many of them to prepare.

No, I don’t think there is a power in this world that would stop me from doing so.

Yes, I’ll be showing you all of them.

And YES, I’ll be more than happy if you had a look at how I made this awesome one…

 
 

Here we have our lovely ingredients, ladies and gentlemen.

Of course, there’s a lot of cream cheese in there. But definitely not too much.

That fact suggests that this cheesecake is a milder one.

Which I definitely can confirm (after eating many, many a slices).

Though it is not as rich as New York Cheesecake, I’d define it as being ‘heavenly’ mild.

A heavenly mild cheesecake.

That’s what it is.
 
 

1. To make it, preheat the oven to 284 F (140 C).
 

2. Second, using a vegetable oil, spray a 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan.
 

3. Wrap two layers of foil around the pan. This cake is going to be baked in a water bath and the foil will prevent  the water from seeping in.
 
 

4. Place the cream cheese, butter and milk into a metal (or heatproof) bowl.
 

5. Now place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and – stirring constantly – let the ingredients melt.

If you’ve ever wondered why bowls are sometimes placed over simmering water then I have the answer for you. It’s because the ingredients in the bowl need very mild and gentle heat to melt, nothing too strong. In cases such as these, the steam from the simmering water works best. Otherwise some ingredients might not only melt but also cook and curdle. And who wants that?
 
 

6. After the melted cream cheese mixture has cooled to room temperature, add the egg yolks, the cake flour, the cornstarch (corn flour) and the lemon juice.
 

7. Whisk the mixture until smooth.
 
 

8. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until foamy.
 

9. Then add the sugar and whip for another couple of minutes until soft peaks form.
 
 

10. In two batches, pour the cream cheese mixture into the egg whites.
 
 

11. Fold the two batters together gently after each addition…
 
 

12. …until they are well combined.

Try to be as gentle as possible in this process, since we’ve worked hard to make the whites light and airy and we definitely don’t want to lose that.

I am speaking in the name of all whipped egg whites in the world here!
 
 

13. Divide the batter evenly into two bowls and add the cocoa powder into one of them.
 

14. Mix in the cocoa gently.
 

And let the fun begin…
 

15. So this is how the zebra strips are achieved – nothing difficult at all.

Take your sprayed springform pan and place 3 tablespoons of cream colored batter in a circle in the center of the pan. Then take 3 tablespoons of the chocolate batter and place in the center. Keep adding circles and the batter will spread of its own accord.
 
 

16. Find a large baking dish that will fit the springform pan.

Fill the empty baking dish 1/4 of the way full with hot water and place the springform pan inside.
 

17. Bake in the lower third of the oven at 284 F (140 C) for about 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
 

18. Turn off the oven and leave the cake inside (with the door still closed) for another 10 minutes.
 

19. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool completely.
 
 

This cake tastes best after it’s been refrigerated for a couple of hours. It becomes slightly more dense and moist.

Enjoy, dear friends.

(This recipe was adapted from Treats.)
 

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I am going to try to keep this easy, all right?

There’s no need for you to close this site, pack your things and flee to a secluded island.

Don’t let the aperture scare you!

Actually, the aperture is a good friend, it can serve your needs quite magically.

If you are using a point-and-shoot camera, you don’t even have to worry about anything – the camera does it all for you. But if you’re a ‘big’ DSLR camera user, then you might want to have a look into the magical world of the aperture.

So, what is that aperture?

Basically, it is the hole in you lens, or the eye of your camera – opening and closing as you wish.

See? I told you it’s not difficult.

And what does that hole/aperture do?

Well, primarily, there are two types of situations when the aperture can serve you well.

First, when the light conditions in the place where you’re taking photographs are not so good (low-light situations) you can open the aperture wide thus letting more light into your camera allowing it to work more effectively.

And the other kind of situation, the one that I am actually demonstrating here with the pictures, is using the aperture opening to influence the depth of your photographs.

Come, have a look at what I mean, there are plenty of examples here…
 
 

This is where I demonstrate the depth of the photograph (people usually call that the ‘depth-of-field’).

The picture on the left-hand side has the front subject in sharp focus while the subjects in the background are out of focus. This is called the ‘shallow depth-of-field’. It is so aptly named – you see shallow, you don’t see deep.

On the other hand, the picture on the right-hand side can be described as one with the ‘great depth-of-field’. See? It really is deep – the subject in the foreground is almost of the same sharpness as the ones in the background.

And you know what?

It’s under you control to decide what kind of picture you want to take – whether it’s the shallow one or the deep one.

Isn’t that awesome?

And yes, it has something to do with the numbers I’ve pasted into the pictures.
 
 

The ‘f/number’ that I’ve pasted into the pictures for you is meant to describe the aperture setting I had used while taking the particular picture. In photography, the ‘f’, or ‘f-stop’ or ‘f-number’ is used when the aperture is being discussed.

To practice the control over you camera’s aperture, all you need to do is to search you camera manual and find the little article on the aperture.

Once you find it and learn where that little button is, just do this: go for the lowest numbers (like 2 in my picture) if you want the shallow depth-of-field and go for the highest numbers (like 22 in my picture) if you want the ‘deep’, all-focused pics.

Your lowest and highest numbers might be different than mine since lenses differ in this aspect.
 
 

So what’s this again?

Petra?

Deep or shallow?

Yes, it’s deep, because I had my camera set at a high number – 22 in this case – making everything from the foreground to the background being in focus.
 
 

This is another example.

Three happy apples posing just for you.
 
 

The front apple is enjoying the focal attention while his friends are standing in the background being out of focus.
 
 

Here, all three apples enjoy being in focus.

I’d call this picture ‘One for all, all for one’.
 
 

Here, some peas also want you to see what the aperture is all about.

That’s so kind of them.
 
 

Low number – shallow depth-of-field.

There are times when you want to isolate your subject…when you want it to be in sharp focus while having the background out of focus. Portraits or food photos are good examples of these situations.
 
 

High number – great depth-of-field.

There are different situations when you’ll definitely want to have as many details in focus as possible. Just imagine taking a picture of a landscape, for instance, with all its trees, animals, hills, river, clouds…everything crisp and clear.

Note: I really need to let you know of this fact – the smaller the f-number the wider is the aperture opening. A little technical detail that you can remember or forget right now. I give you the permission.

I hope this all made at least a little sense and was of some help.

I wish you a lot of fun while playing with your aperture.

Go and have fun!

See you soon.

Love,

Petra

 

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