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Happy Birthday Brian!

My husband is a ripe old 26 today, and I love him.  Mostly because he poses for pictures like this when he knows they’re just going to get plastered all over the interwebs.

Mmmm...seitan.

He’s a little bummed about having to spend his birthday in Iraq, but then our foster dogs got ringworm and I pointed out that if he was here he’d just be spending his birthday helping me bleach everything in site, so i’m hoping that perspective will make his day slightly less miserable.

This is a cake I made him while he was home on leave two months ago, the orange creamsicle cake from My Sweet Vegan.  We’ll pretend it’s his birthday cake.

posted: September 3, 2008
under: family, food, holidays, pictures

This is important. It means something.

Today is a special day. It is exactly four months until my birthday.

Oh, and i’m picking my husband up today to start his mid-tour leave from Iraq! That’s pretty exciting, too. We haven’t seen each other for nine months. I could get all emotional and pour my feelings about this out on the interwebs, but the last time I did that to someone, she stabbed me in the back with it. And I am just way to excited to be that stupid right now! Maybe later.

Anyway, i’m going to wash my dogs and make sure no one puked on his chair or anything before I get myself all prettified. Do you think that a balloon bouquet is too much, or will the flowers suffice?

posted: June 27, 2008
under: family, life

The evolution of food porn.

Today’s post is brought to you by my angry uterus!

I think we really need to start upping our standards on what we post online, guys. I know that not everyone has a great camera, but just because you take a picture doesn’t mean you have to post it. When I take food pictures, I take anywhere from 3-7 pictures so that when I get them on my computer, I can choose which one I think looks best. And you know what? Sometimes they’re all shit. Sometimes they’re all blurry. Out of focus. It was midnight and the lighting in my kitchen was so bad that even photoshop can’t save them. So I just delete them! I have posted some crappy ass pictures in my day, but i’ve learned to just say no to bad food porn. Because then it’s food scat. And no one likes that. This is not two vegans, one cup.

So here are some tips:

1. Camera. You do not need an SLR camera to take nice pictures. Canon Powershots are a pretty good point and shoot, it’s what I had before I got my Rebel. They come in a variety of prices so there’s something for everyone. If you’re stuck with some crappy camera, it’s okay. You can still work with it. Cell phones and webcams should never be used for food porn, though.

No matter what kind of camera you have, it’s important to read through the manual so you know exactly what does what.

The picture on the right was taken with my mother-in-laws 5 megapixel Powershot.

2. Turn your flash off! Flash and food are never a good combination. If it’s day, open some curtains and set your food near the window. If it’s night, turn as many lights on as you can. Use a lamp. Your camera should have special white balance settings for daylight, fluorescent, etc. lighting to keep your photos from coming out yellow.

The photo to the left really didn’t have enough light to look good. I have since stopped taking pictures on my laptop.

3. Macro settings are your friend. There should be a button on your camera with a picture of a tulip on it, that enables you to get super close to your food while still keeping things in focus. It also blurs out the background so there’s more focus on the object you’re photographing. I will never forget the day that I discovered the macro setting. It was one of the happiest days of my life.

4. Steady your camera. Nothing sucks more than having an otherwise good shot be ruined by the shakes. Blurry photos give me a headache, and therefore I hate them the most. I’ve found that the smaller a camera is, the harder it is to steady it because of the (lack of) weight. Cameras that are just a rectangle are the worst, they don’t even give you a handle to hold onto. So you can use a stack of books, hold the camera against your body, or just get a mini tripod! As you can see, they’re generally pretty cheap.

Oooo, angles!

5. Angles. Another reason that I take multiple pictures of food is that sometimes I can’t tell which angle is the best, so I change positions and maybe rotate the plate so when I go to edit them, I can decide which one I like best. I can tell you that the aerial view of your plate is never going to be the best one, though. I mean, think of myspace pictures! Pretend that your food is your face and get creative with the angles so no one notices that your sandwich has a pimple on its chin. So to speak.

Check out the angles on those muffins!

6. When all else fails, photoshop. You don’t have to be great at photoshop to make your photos look better, if anything you can go under image, adjustments, and auto levels and 98% of the time that will fix any color or contrast problems that you’re having.

7. Know when to fold ’em. Use some common sense! Just because something tastes good, doesn’t mean it looks good. And if it doesn’t look good, just don’t share it. Not everything needs a visual. You can still write about your meal and say, “Unfortunately it doesn’t photograph well.” But if you write the most epic love story about a dish ever and post a crappy photo, eyes will go to the photo first, shrivel up and fall out of their sockets, and then they won’t even be able to read your words. And then they’ll be blind for life. You don’t want to be responsible for that!

See that picture? That should have never seen the light of the internet. It’s dark, kind of out of focus, and just not…good looking.

Anyway, I hope that someone can learn from my half-assed tips. All of the photos I posted are my own, taken with my old Canon Powershot. I went through a lot of trial and error so learn from my mistakes, people! For the good of the food porn community at large.

posted: May 4, 2008
under: animals, family, lists, pictures

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