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I virtually met Sarka maybe 4 or 5 years ago. I tend to lose track of time really when it comes to things like that. But I loved her writing and I loved her style of photography so I stuck around and came back time after time. Then we met in person finally at FBC in 2011 where she was part of the organisation and was also the photographer of the event. She has very much a no nonsense approach to photography I think and apart from her foodphotography I think her skills as a people and event photographer are also second to non. Plus she is just a lovely person too. Sarka has been blogging at Cook your Dream for almost 5 years now!
How long have you been blogging and did you start out with taking food photos straight away?
I started my blog in August 2009 so it’s going to be 5 years soon. I didn’t know anything about photography before I published my first blog post. I had to ask my boyfriend who’s always been very keen about photography to take photos for me. He got bored after first three blog posts and I got hooked. A new passion was born.
What gear did you use in the beginning and has that changed?
I started taking pictures with my boyfriend’s Nikon D200 and I absolutely loved that camera. When the time came to get my own D700, I felt quite emotional. I tend to develop a sort of relationship with my cameras and it always take me a few months to properly say good bye to the old one and get used to the new one. As I started pushing food photography professionally I was gradually upgrading my lenses, tripod and other studio equipment. I currently shoot with Nikon D800 and few different lenses.
Did you teach yourself or did you follow workshops and such?
I’m a self taught photographer. I tried to enrol in a couple courses but they were either canceled or didn’t go through for different reasons so I never end up taking one.
Can you describe your current setup for taking photos?
I work a lot on location so I have different set ups based on a project I work on. However, when I take photos in my home studio, I work with day light most of the time. My setup is usually very simple with a table next to a window. I modify the light with diffusers if the light is too strong and reflectors to fill and soften shadows.
Do you have a process you go through when preparing for a shoot for your blog? Is it spur of the moment or do you plan meticulously? (or both)
I must admit I haven’t done a recipe post for my blog in a long time. If I do take photos for my blog however, it’s usually just spur of the moment. I can get inspired by a certain dish or ingredient. Props and mood of photos are determined by the type of dish, season and also my current mood.
What is the type of light you work with? (daylight, artificial light. If daylight what kind of light?)
I work with both daylight and artificial light. I prefer working with daylight whenever I can, but I don’t have the luxury of being dependant only on daylight in the UK. I used to complain about cloudy weather in London, but it actually produces the best light for food photography, soft and diffused. I absolutely love morning light but I’m not an early riser to enjoy it often enough.
What was your aha moment when shooting food? assuming non of you started being as awesome as you are today..
I’m not sure if my “aha moment” has come yet. I learn every day and every shoot and photo I take is a new learning experience.
What is the one thing you would like to improve on?
My editing skills or maybe it’s more about my enthusiasm for editing. I just don’t like that part of photography process and I’m an excellent procrastinator when editing is on my to-do list.
Do you have a few tips for beginning foodbloggers who want to improve their photos?
Shoot shoot and shoot. The more photos you take the better you will become. It’s good to have a decent camera but you need to know how to compose photos, control light and most importantly find your own style. All that comes with practice and experience.
Who are your role models (foodbloggers and/or foodphotographers you admire)
I absolutely love work of Ditte Isager. Her Scandinavian simplicity and great sense for detail, colour and contrast are fascinating for me. I also like work of Ellen Silverman, Anna Williams, Chris Court, Mikkel Vang, Con Poulos or Jenny Zarins. From foodbloggers I’m really inspired by Nicole Franzen of La Buena Vida, Aran Goyoaga of Cannelle et Vanille, Mimi Thorisson of Manger, Changelle Grady or Green Kitchen Stories.