Annemieke from the blog Rozemarijn Koken & Foto has been blogging since 2007 and gives her own take on the world of foodphotography! 😉
How long have you been blogging and did you start straight away with taking food photos?
I started in 2007 and started taking my own pictures at the same time.
What kind of equipment did you use in the beginning and what has changed?
I can’t remember which camera I had when I started. As a student I started taking photos with my dad’s old SLR. I loved it! With a filmroll, everything on manual and sometimes I’d be left with beautiful photos after they came back from the store. And there would also be a few less successful photos. After that I bought a digital camera and a few years later a digital Canon SLR. Most recently I switched to a new 700D, because my old camera had a large crack in the middle of the screen and wasn’t so good in ISO settings.
Did you teach yourself or have you followed any workshops?
I’m 100% autodidact. While my dad let me use his camera, he did not give me a course to go along with it. I basically found everything out on my own. I have to say I am not a technical photographer. I never felt the need to follow a course. One blue monday I checked out the local photoclub, but I got nervous of all those middle aged man who looked at a projection screen and commented on each others photos.
Can you explain your current setup for making photos?
My setup is me, my camera and light from outside. That’s all. Like I said; I am not a technical photographer. Despite the fact that I do think that manipulation lights and other stuff would increase the photographic options, for me they would hold me back instead. Which is not always a good thing, for instance on a winter night, but I take it as it comes. As soon as I start to get technical and than look at my photos I no longer see what I am really doing, but I am more focusing on the things that I should have done which doesn’t work for me. I recently bought a macro lens. Before this I used to shoot with 3 closeup filters from the seventies. Each of the three had a different enhancing factor (+1, +2 and +3) and sometimes I would use them all combined. The closeup of the peas and the strawberry are made with these lenses. I think it is funny I do have a mini reflector to get rid of hard shadows a little, but in reality I never really use that much.
Do you have a process you go through for making a photo? Is it a spontaneous action or do you plan everything meticulously?
I position my food, find the light and shoot. Sometimes I have tens of photos from all sorts of angles, until I find one that I am happy with. I believe my photos tell the story of real food that has been eaten or drank. I love lots of color or weird contrasts. I often use whatever I have lying around or in the cupboard in terms of fabric, trays or just regular fixed surfaces.
The two photos here are good examples. I wasn’t planning on taking a photo of the drinks. I had my camera with me to take photos of my sister, when my mum came outside with a cocktail she made up herself. I was fascinated by the color. I pushed a kids chair in my brother in laws hands, asked him to keep that behind the drinks for a little contrast, grabbed a serving tray and asked my sister for bubbles to pour into the glass. In photoshop I have enhanced the images somewhat. And than the elderberrytruffle. If you look closely they are really funny things. But because I placed them on a golden background and a faint pink reflected on it from a shawl, it became something different. For me the thought counts heaver than precision. Although I plan more when I am on assignment.
What kind of light do you prefer?
Mostly daylight and in case of emergency artificial light, for instance the light above the kitchen counter. With daylight it varies if I choose shadow, full light or partial shadow. It depends on my mood and my subject. I do that by feeling.
What was your aha moment when it comes to taking photos of food? Assuming you didn’t start out with the same quality you have today?
I don’t have an aha moment, and I also didn’t start with a mega talent. I take photos by feeling and usually it works out fine. And sometimes it doesn’t.
What is one of the things you would like to improve upon?
I sometimes think it would be good to have a bit more technical skills, be able to work with lights and know all ins and outs of photoshop. On the other hand I have not felt the need for that until now and I can always read up on that when the need arises and becomes greater than the resistance to do so. I have that same approach in more areas of my life. I don’t think I ever read a manual in my whole life!
Any tips for beginning foodbloggers who want to improve their photos?
Invest in a good camera, or even better; good lenses. With a 50mm 1.8 you can do a lot with depth of field. And for the rest you need to feel what you like best and what works for you. Do you prefer to shoot handheld or would you like to have more technical knowledge as a guideline?
Wwho are your rolemodels?
I really like the photos of David Frenkiel from The Green Kitchen Stories a lot. His styling isn’t perfect and that’s one thing I love and the photos are bright and full of color. Also the photos in the book, who are shot by his sister, are very nice. I do think a lot of photos on blogs and cooking sites look very similar. Like everything is using the same trick.
Because photos look so technically perfect and you get a lot of behind the scenes looks, like on Simone’s Kitchen, I’ve become very unsure of my way of working for a while. Until one day I read how David Loftus, Jamie Oliver’s photographer works; just him, the camera and no lights at all. Also Natascha Boudewijn, from the Green Delicious cookbooks, shoots handheld without any extra materials.
That was a comforting though; you see, everyone has their own way of working, we don’t all have to do the same thing. What works for you is fine, even though it doesn’t mean that the rest of the world will like it too.