I’ve not know Suus from Food Bandits for very long, but sometimes it just clicks. You see a blog and you’re an instant fan.. And that is what happened to me when I saw the blog Foodbandits by Suus; it’s the photography, but also the stories are special. What she does, she does wholeheartedly or so it seems from the outside… Her blog is personal and special. And the recipes! Well that alone would be a good reason to take a look!. If you do not know her; Suus blogs on Food Bandits
How long have you been blogging and did you start with taking foodphotos straight away?
I’ve been blogging for a few years now. I started with a blog about all the cool stuff I found on the internet, this was some time before the arrival of Pinterest and I wanted to share all those finds. I also made a site where I was selling cupcakes. But with only three orders you couldn’t really call that successful but I did learn stuff about making a website and the basic techniques in photography. I then made a blog where I produced my own content and used secondhand content in between. After that came Studio Jopie, which I started with a friends and here I made everything myself.
Studio Jopie was about books, vintage and being creative in your own special way. This blog has brought me so much and tought me so much so when the friend went on a trip around the world I really wanted to continue with a blog all by my self and share my great love for food.
What equipment did you use in the beginning and what do you use now?
I started with a small digital camera and eventually I invested in a real SLR. It’s a Canon 450D, it\s a few years old now and I am saving for some extra lenses. Especially a macro lens which would be suitable for foodphotography. With my current lens it is hard to get nice details shots without having the idea that everything is round. But my advice with any camera would be to just start and practice, practice, practive, I also still learn during each and every shoot.
Did you teach yourself everything or did you follow workshops and such?
My husband Johann has done a base course in photography. This is where they explain what ISO does. My husband also takes a lot of photos for Food Bandits and we really do this together. But that how I learned more about the camera. For the rest I learned most of the stuff myself and a lot I do on instinct. I did start giving workshops on blogging because I took just about every pitfall there is and I love explaining to people how to setup your blog in the proper way. And that html is dreadful but really not that hard if you know where to look. I would love to do the design course of the blog Design Love Fest and I would love to do course on foodstyling. That would be totally awesome!
Can you describe your current setup for making photos for your blog?
In the early days I just grabbed a few things and started taking photos but now I think first what kind of mood, light and feeling I want the photo to have. I need to be inspired more. Depending on the light I will lay out my props, then add the food and start shooting. I use a large white painter canvas a lot as a reflector. It usually ends up being a nice and cosy mess and once I’m done shooting we eat. We sometimes discuss the recipe afterwards about what needs to be mentioned in the post or what could be done better for next time.
Do you have a special process you use for taking photos or is it mostly spontaneous?.
I need to give it more thought. I get my inspiration from Pinterest and not by copying things but trying to recreate a certain feel and mood for a photo.
What is your preferred light source?
Daylight and preferably in the morning. And also not with too much sunlight as that doesn’t work at all. Lightly cloudy is best for me to work with. But I will go in search of he perfect light around the house, carrying my plate of food or I’m crawling across the floor to find the perfect angle.
What was your ‘aha’ moment when it comes to shooting food?
Well this is more of a general tip for blogging and that really (even though it sounds cheesy) to stay true to yourself and get inspired by others but don’t compare yourself too much. If you do stuff you love those visitors will eventually come as will the quality of your blog. I know it’s more fun if lots of people visit your blog but it’s hard work.
I really blog so I can unleash my creativity and because I love to eat. But every blogger, well almost every blogger, starts out with less than perfect photos and ten visitors a day. People who are successful are for instance professional or have a large network. And my dad always says; ‘ nothing is what it seems’
What is something you would like to work on?
O I would love to learn more about light and the possibilities. And I think my photos are way too yellow but I keep coming back to a warm mood and I would love to learn how to use a tripod. I often grab it only to ago don it after a few minutes, even though a lot of my photos are really crooked.
Any tips for beginning foodbloggers that would like to improve their photography?
Go and practice and even though your first 600 photos might be ugly, number 601 will be better. My computer is filled with ridiculous photos. Ut in the end that is the way to learn. And ask someone else what can be improved. When I first started with Food Bandits I posted a photo on the Facebook foodbloggers group and asked what could be improved. I got a lot of valuable advice from the more experienced bloggers such as Kayotic Kitchen and Nombelina which I could use straight away.
But you can also ask a friend who knows a bit about photography. And try stuff too. I’m clearly not a professional but practice makes perfect!
Who are your role models? (Food photographers or food bloggers)
I get most of my inspiration from Pinterest and Instagram but the blogs I follow are Hortus Cuisine (http://hortuscuisine.com/), Local Milk (http://localmilkblog.com/), Dolly and Oatmeal (http://www.dollyandoatmeal.com/) en My name is Yeh (http://mynameisyeh.com/). Qua Nederlands foodbloggers Maura van Yellow Lemon Tree (http://yellowlemontreeblog.com/), Marleen van Eten uit de Volkstuin (http://etenuitdevolkstuin.nl/) en Door van Dooreten (http://www.dooreten.com/). I also get very inspired by beautiful magazines and concepts like kinfolk (http://www.kinfolk.com/) and Cereal magazine (http://readcereal.com/) and in Nederland definitely de ELLE Eten (http://www.elleeten.nl/) In terms of foodphotography I love the work of Nicole Franzen (http://www.nicolefranzen.com/) so beautiful and Peter of Souvlaki for the soul (http://souvlakiforthesoul.com/).
Anything else you want to share?
If you want to go and blog, then do so. And think about the stuff that you think is awesome and make it into a concept in which you also think about design and your audience, learn from the comments your visitors make and do something that makes you happy.