Three more days! I repeat three more days!! The final countdown is on till you can hold in your hands a copy of the cookbook! Before Monday's final post involved in the cookbook series and gearing up for the release date I wanted to share with you all about staging the pictures.
As I ventured into this cookbook, there was one thing I knew I needed to change, that was the fact that I was, up until that point, using my phone camera to take food pictures for my blog. I knew if I wanted to do this I needed to do it right and have the best quality photos as possible. So I asked my wonderful mother in law if I could borrow her really super nice camera for the project, in trade for being a taste tester. Thankfully she more then agreed.
In the post about brainstorming the recipes and creating the recipes, I explained how I had planned out everything before hand. How I wanted it to look, so I would sketch out how I wanted the picture to look like before I even started to make the dish. I had this nice book with paper that was thick and was a tan colour. I loved how the black ink looked on it and it was fun to sketch out the pictures and have an idea of what it would look like.
Story time... I actually graduated from LDS Business College in Salt Lake City Utah, with an Interior Design certificate. I am still not sure exactly why I chose Interior Design, I thought it looked cool and I am visual and artistic person so I was drawn to that program. The thing is, I have never used it in a professional Interior Design setting. What is actually quite funny is the courses I took have actually helped me with blogging and with food. I learnt about colour theory, architecture (Modern and Historical), textiles, lighting, elevation drawing in blue prints and so on. All of those classes have played a roll in being able to understand why certain things work and why they don't in photography and in the appealing nature for food.
Back to staging! As I planned out how I wanted the pictures to look, I thought about the colours of dishes and fabrics that would work. Katie and Jenny were great with helping me with some recipes that I was kinda stuck on for colours, like the copycat Cosmic brownies they asked if I had maybe a brighter background I could use, low and behold I had this awesome bright pink fabric from the 80's my mom gave me that made it pop! I was lucky to have a lot of random fabric in my house. I had a nice lace skirt that was my sisters, and some of my husbands old work shirts made for some fun backgrounds.
I searched stores for textiles, unique dishes and accent pieces that would help make the pictures stand out. What I really wanted though was the food to be the show. I had my mom and brother in laws wife give me some stunning dishes that would work for the cookbook. I loved that the whole family was involved in the hunt for things that would help me along. Funny thing is, is now I have a lot of random dishes of various colours all throughout my house. They make for stunning pieces though! Some of the dishes I used are actually family heirloom pieces that are just beautiful and mean something to me.
I don't own all the professional lighting systems that some food bloggers have, I used good old fashioned natural light. Natural light is the best way for photography, but the problem is that you are subjected to it's finicky ways. Especially where I live in Calgary Alberta. It could be a beautiful day and then 20 minutes later it is snowing, then raining, then sunny and then back to snowing. Which can cause massive headaches (both physically and annoyance wise). What also was a pain in my bum is that once day lights savings hit, it was pitch black by 5:15-5:30 everyday. Which meant I had to make the dinner and savory type meals in the morning to get the perfect light. Now after some time I think I might invest in some of those photography lighting, but I still love the natural light look.
As I went about staging the food there were times where I did it one way and it was not turning out, so attempt another way, didn't like it either, so back to the drawing board. I honestly lost sleep with some of the pictures once done shooting. Two in particular drove me nuts, I didn't like how they looked and I wasn't overly happy (I am slightly OCD with some things). Poor Katie and Jenny had to deal with that and actually about 2 months ago I sprung on them two redoes for those pictures, because loss of sleep here! Boy am I glad I did because the redoes are way better, and no lack of sleep!
One amazing thing is to have my husband with an apparent hidden talent, there would be some of the pictures that I would be taking and kinda annoyed with how they looked and he would come along and take the camera. A few minutes later he did it, he got the one, the money maker. Gosh I love that man, he keeps surprising me 7 years later! Not only did he have that hidden talent but he always knows about seasoning and is an amazing taste tester!
With the pictures I also wanted the food to be as fresh as possible, to make it look real and enticing. That is why it was so important to have everything planned out ahead of time, because time really was of the essence. One recipe that was a big one for that was the Crazy Milkshake... ice cream and whipped cream melts...fast...that was one we redid twice just to get the shot.
I have learnt so much along the way, it has been such a great experience and to help build up my confidence in food photography and staging. I am grateful for Katie and her trust and encouragement in me to do all the pictures, and I am grateful for Jenny with helping touch up the pictures and do the beautiful edits on them, they turned out stunning.
I can't wait till you all get a copy in your hands to see for yourself, it was an amazing group effort to produce such a stunning book.
Until Monday, happy baking and cooking!
P.S. A bonus out of this project is my husband bought me my very own DSLR camera for Christmas and now my pictures are 1000 times more awesome on the blog! He considers it an investment which is a super amazing gift and made me so excited!
Follow along with the other posts related to the cookbook on both my blog and Katie's:
Prairie Winds Life posts:
Creating the Recipes
The Health and Happiness Cookbook
Unforgettable Oreo Cake
Managing a Multi Person Project as an Indie Author
Cheesy Meat Lovers Pizza
A little about me