Food photos

Good food photos entice us. They sort of let us fantasize about the food regardless of whether we have the chance to sample it. To this day I still have difficulty buying any cookbook without fancy photos. But I have been reading a bit more about taking good food photos, and I am starting to look at them with a pair of more skeptical eyes. Typically, professional food photos are taken with at least three people -- the chef, the food stylist, and the photographer. Since the finished product only has to look good, its taste or smell doesn't have to be perfect. So during the shoot, the dish may be brushed generously with oil to brighten its sheen; a piece of cake or pie can have its filling "supplemented" to look for sumptuous; even the heat of the dish can be faked with dry ice "steam." Then there's also lots of post-image processing to enhance the color contrast and balance.

The book "Digital Food Photography" by Lou Manna is a great guidebook. Obviously this guy is great at doing this. Browsing through his portfolio on his website you'll be quite impressed. I especially like his photos of the artfully plated dishes, like #22 in his portfolio #1. I don't really like his photos of bar food like fries and burgers. To me the lighting there is too bright and the food looks a little fake. After learning a bit more about creating these tasty eye candies, and browsing through so many pages of great examples, I was disappointed to find myself losing appetite. I guess there is such a thing as sensory overload. And of course, learning the truth about these photos ruins the fantasy. After all, having the food in my mouth is always gonna be better than just looking at it (and drooling).


charles said…
for some odd reason, i get orgasm whenever i see well-taken photos of well-made cakes. there's just something about pretty pictures of cakes that make me high ;) of course i realize that most of those cakes don't taste half as good as they look.

talking about cakes, you should try 紅葉蛋糕 in flushing. it's an old taiwanese family establishment that's been there forever. excellent cakes.
virginia said…
Albertitto, first of, your name reminds me of one of my good friends back in high school, so you just got 50% in favor just for that, nice huh!?
Also I love to cook and to look at nice food. Loved the pictures! great post.
Albertitto said…
Charles: Well, Martha Stewart's magazine has been called the "homemakers' porn," so your orgasm is not unfounded. I don't make it to Flushing too often. but I'll definitely check out the bakery the next time I go!

Virginia: Thanks for the nice message! I was given the name by my friends in college, but I got the spelling wrong. I guess I was supposed to be "Albertito" but I ended up adding an extra "t" to it. Oh well, it turned out to be a unique name :-)

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