My question in the facebook group with Dutch blogger as to who could not be missed in this series Marleen’s name passed by a couple of times. And rightfully so as her photos are gorgeous as you can see below. Marleen blogs on her site  Eten uit de Volkstuin
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How long have you been blogging and did you start taking foodphotos straight away or did that come later?

I’ve been blogging for five years now about my vegetable allotment. It used to be a large piece of meadow. Full of bumbs and holes. And with too many weeds to count! I started with blogging to keep track of the changes in my garden. To see if all those little efforts in the end made a big difference. So when I came home, rather discouraged, I would look up old photos on my blog and I would notice that I did actually do an enormous amount of work already. now that the garden is where it is meant to be, the blogging has moved more towards thinking and photographing dishes with vegetables and fruits from my garden.

 What kind of equipment did you use in the beginning and what do you use now?

In the beginning I used a finepix compact camera. About 1,5 years ago I inherited the digital SLR from my dad, a Canon 350D from 2003. Most of the photos on my blog are made with that camera. A few months ago I bought myself a new camera. A Canon 70D and I am very happy with that! My favorite lens is a canon 60mm 2.8 macro lens.

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Are you self taught or did you follow workshops or courses?

I have the diploma for photography designer from the ‘kunstacademie’. At school I would be endlessly in the darkroom and I practized a lot in the studio with large format and technical camera and studio lights. The studiowork didn’t really have my interest when I was still studying. I made little boxes with photos, made self portraits with shooting holes, made images out of latex and made whole installations from wire and epoxy materials. Taking photos came back when I had my dad’s camera in hand. And now there is nothing I rather do than shooting images of a potato in the garden or a plate with beautiful salads. Photographing without any pretentions. I love it!

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 Can you describe your current setup for making photos for your blog?

I have a special room which is decorated with plates, backgrounds, pieces of carton and my computer. If I am shooting a dish, I first decide on the mood I think appropriate for the dish. I than find the right background, choose which plates to use and which cutlery and sometimes I use a napkin or teatowel. I usually shoot handheld and while photographing I pay attention to where the light is coming from and I’ll look for a good composition.

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Do you have a special process you use for taking photos or is it more a spontaneous action?

Shooting a dish starts in my mind first. I try to picture the end result. Than I just start and react to what I am seeing. During the shoot I decide if something needs to change or can be better or very different. I might than end up on the floor or on top of  table for a different viewpoint. Making a good photos is a process for me and absolutely not a spontaneous action.

 What is your preferred lightsource? Daylight, artificial light and if daylight, what kind of daylight?

I prefer to shoot with daylight and I like to take photos by the window. preferably on a sunny day around midday and than ofcourse in the shade. That usually produces the best results. In the garden I like an overcast day as that makes the green of the plants really pop.

 What was your ‘aha’ moment when shooting food? Assuming you didn’t start out as great as you are today!

My aha moment? I think that must have been photographing pumpkin on a cutting board. The light came in really nicely and I than decided I could work a little harder on the photos for my blog. With a bit more effort I figured I could really make something out of it. Little did I know I was gonna be hooked taking photos of my food! Haha.

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Marleen’s aha moment was this particular pumpkin and how the light hit it!

 What is something you would like to improve in?

I would like to start learning how to shoot with artificial light. Learn how to make the dishes keep their depth and the light fresh and sparkly. I find that extremely hard with artificial light, it becomes flat and unappealing really quickly. And I want to learn how to take better photos on location. That can be a city reportage with nice shops, cafe’s and restaurants.

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One of Marleen’s first recipe photos taking with her compact was this salsa maro from 2009

 Do you have any tips for beginning foodbloggers who would like to improve on their photos?

Tips for beginning foodbloggers? O I find that a hard question! Have a good look at your photo and try to think of which parts could be better. Are you happy with the light, the compostion or the story? And take a good look at other people’s photos and try to explain to yourself what it is you like about them. As soon as you know that, you will start paying attention to it for your own photos!

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 Who are your rolemodels? (foodbloggers or food photographers)

My rolemodels, o there are so many! I can look at other people’s foodphotos or instagrams endlessly.  Alice Gao, Beatrice Peltre, Katie Newburn, Linda Pugliese, Mimi Thorisson, Katie Quinn Davies, David Loftus, Nicole Franzen… and the list goes on! My Dutch favorites are on my  blog!

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