Next up for raffle is Plate to Pixel, a digital photography and food styling book by Hélène Dujardin. If you're familiar with her blog, Tartelette, then you know she's one of the best food photographers out there. Her photos are artful and elegantly composed without looking overdone. The focus is always on the food. Her work is a complete pleasure to look at.
Last summer, in the name of improving my photography skills, I checked out a bunch of books from the library for some light reading. In those particular books, it was recommended that mashed potatoes be used as a stand-in for ice cream to eliminate any melting issues. Grill marks could be painted on with eyeliner. And dish soap bubbling on the surface of a beverage would make it look freshly poured. I nearly hurled right there on the beach when I learned of all the food-styling fakery that seems to be the industry standard. And, yet, it was strangely satisfying to discover that my eye had been right all along. Ever wonder why that turkey on that magazine cover looked so unnatural? It's because it was half-raw and sprayed with hair spray for that "just-roasted" look. Yummy! The weird-looking milk on that cereal box? Elmer's glue. *dry heaves*
I quickly returned all of those books and bought Plate to Pixel instead. The food is real. It actually gets eaten afterwards. And it looks delicious! She has one photograph of brightly colored crabs on newspaper that is a gorgeous study in contrast, and another of a pomegranate bleeding onto a white plate that breaks my heart a little. Instead of fakery, there are tips for keeping things fresh-looking and practical advice like staging the shot before the food even comes out. There's technical camera stuff, too, like the different kinds of light and how to bounce it, and ISO and depth-of-field and hoobity ha. I picked up a few tips, I swear, but mostly I just eyeballed the food porn. That kind of artistry is hard to learn, and I'm not a dedicated student. Still, I would highly recommend the book to bloggers with an interest in photography, photographers with an interest in food, and foodies with a little extra time on their hands (and possibly some disposable income since you will undoubtedly develop a hankering for expensive camera equipment).
To win this book, comment on this post with a link to your worst food photo. I'll start: here's mine (the ginger cookie recipe is good, though). Or, if you don't have a blog or any other evidence of your photographic failings, just tell me why you want this book. Comments will close at 10 p.m. on Sunday 12/11 and a winner will be chosen by Random.org. And if you don't win, console yourself with the knowledge that you can always read her beautiful blog for free everyday!
Many thanks to Wiley for donating a copy of this book!