Inspiration on Saturday – Denise van TLThings
Denise of TLThings is another blog I have been following for quite some time. I think I ‘met’ Denise for the first time because she – just as me – did the workshop Plate to Page. And no, we were not in the same group; if I am not mistaken Denise went to Italy and I went to Germany. Well there’s gotta be a difference right. But it made me aware of her blog and I was a fan instantly. I love her fresh look at photography and her writing is very easy to read. And I only now notice that she is a culinary journalist… Lol… The way to get to know someone right? Whatever the case, if you do not know Denise yet, be sure to have a look at her beautiful blog!
How long have you been blogging and did you start right away with taking foodphotos or did that happen later?
I’ve been blogging since the end of 2012 and since May of 2013 I also write in Dutch. I work as a culinary journalist and I regularly combine text, styling and photography. On my site I have all the freedom to experiment and to post the things I find best and tastiest!
My site is called The Little Things and stands for all the little things that make your every day meal something special. I think that – also when it comes to food – it is the little things that count. Special flavor combinations, some extra attention to styling details and handy shortcuts; just those things that can make the difference. In the beginning I posted mostly recipes but lately I have been doing some other elements as well.
What kind of equipment did you use in the beginning and what do you use now?
Ever since the beginning I have used a Canon T2i with a 50 mm 1.8 lens. That equipment is seen as the starting point but I am still very happy with it (even though I would love to make the switch to a more professional Canon series once!) Except my camera I don’t really use a lot of equipment. Every now and than a reflector and very seldom a tripod.
Did you teach yourself everything or have you followed workshops?
When I was studying I followed various courses in digital phtography and they certainly helped me in learning the basic principles. Also during a workshop in Tuscany I learned a lot from the professionals, mostly in the area of light and styling. But I think that I learned most from just doing it. A lot of practice and a lot of trying.
Can you describe your current setup for taking the photos for your blog?
I don’t really have a fixed setup. The light at the back of my apartment is fine, so that is where I usually take photos. I let the light come from the side and as a background I mostly use wooden boards. Next to that I have a substantial supply of plates and accessories that I keep adding to (and believe me it becomes some sort of addiction) I always work with daylight. For action photos in restaurants I try and shoot the spontaneous moments. And the little details of course; it is in the end about the litle things!
Do you have a special process that you use for making the photos or is it more a spontaneous action?
For an assignment or reportage I know upfront what is needed and I prepare as best as I can. And because I almost always combine text and photography I try to let those two align with each other. The text and images should have the same feeling. When I shoot for my blog, that can be either very spontaneous or very organised. Usually I come up with a dish first and get all my props ready. Once the food is finished I can than get to work right way. But sometimes I haven’t really thought of anything. The currysoup with quinoa I wanted to eat, when I realized it looked very pretty. And the funny thing is that it ended up being one of the images for the book “The Culy way of life’!
With is your preferred light? Daylight, artificial light and what kind of daylight?
I always work with daylight. Preferably in the morning or at the end of the afternoon. The light is a little softer and gives the best results for me.
What was your ‘aha’ moment when shooting food? Assuming you didn’t start out at the same level you are today.
During a course I once learned that it made sense to drag a dish across the whole house and shoot it everywhere. That way you can easily see which light is best at what time of day in your house. Once you know that taking photos becomes a whole lot easier. I also learned not to overstyle the dishes. A few crumbs or a angled fork give a much better result. Little tips with a great effect!
What is a thing you would like to work on?
In the beginning I wrote only in English online and so a lot of people didn’t know that I came from the Netherlands. The last few months I have been focusing more on Dutch recipes and reportage and that is something I want to expand on. It helps that my site now has an English and a Dutch version.
Any tips for beginning foodbloggers who like to improve their photography?
Practice, practice, practice! That sounds very cliche but it is really true. Experiment a lot, take your camera with you as often as you can and analyse your photos afterwards. What works well and what doesn’t? Also studying photos in culinary magazines and other blogs helps.
Who are your rolemodels? (foodbloggers or foodphotographers)
There are so many! I am a huge fan of the work of Chris Court, William Meppem, Mikkel Vang, David Loftus and Studio Philippi. Online I also follow What Katie Ate, Green Kitchen Stories, Top with Cinnamon, Donal Skehan and What’s for Lunch Honey. In Holland I admire Uit Pauline’s Keuken, because she has build a huge following with her blog and stays true to her style. I also find it incredibly good how Simone has focused herself completely on culinary phtography and is now active in teaching and advising others in that area.
Anything else you want to share?
I really love sharing my recipes and experiences online. It is one of the best things if you receive a message that someone has made your recipe or went to a restaurant that I recommended on TLT. So if you ever need advice about a dish or a nice place to eat, feel free to ask for advice!