For Christmas gifts, this year, I’m giving a recipe book I’ve been making using Blurb’s Book Wright software. Over the course of the year, I’ve been taking photos of food I’ve cooked. Some of the recipes I made up, some of the recipes are my sister’s that everybody loves, some of the recipes are keepers I’ve taken from cookbooks, and some of the recipes come from online. Not all of the recipes have exactly been keepers – they’ve been ok, but I won’t ever fix them again. In truth, this is a way to keep all the really good recipes together within easy access. And of course, I give credit with each recipe, along with the website or the book name. These books can only be gifts and not something I’m selling.
Anyway, I when I realized I needed to get cracking on putting the recipe book together, I started sifting through my food photos and discovered somewhere along the line, I either forgot to get photos for certain recipes, or else I’ve lost them onto other hard drives along the way (and I can’t remember which portable HD they are stored). So, I’ve been cooking up a storm in order to get photos to go with the recipes in the book. Tonight’s recipe is a slow cooker cream cheese chicken chili recipe with homemade guacamole on top of the chili. I’m serving prosecco margaritas with dinner, too.
A friend of ours, who likes to give people nicknames (my sister, Kathy’s name, for example, is Kathella), gave me the name Becky Homecky since I do 99.9% of the cooking in the household. As such, earlier in the year, I also ordered from Etsy an embroidered apron and chef hat, as you can see in the photo.
I decided to set up the camera and tripod to get posed photos of me in the apron and chef hat for the cover of my recipe book gift. Please notice I am wearing makeup, including bright red lipstick. I haven’t worn makeup in three years, and I learned a couple of things. First, you really *do* lose it if you don’t use it – I had a hard time trying to put on eye makeup and finally gave up on that – it was difficult enough to put on the lipstick neatly. Second, makeup has a shelf life. The mascara was all dried up in its tube, and if I had any lipstick (which I didn’t, so I had to go buy some), it would have probably been dry/gummy as well.
One of the most important things you should have for your camera for shots like this one, is a wireless shutter release. Vello is a pretty decent brand for that, and I purchased mine from BH Photo online. Mind you, the plastic used to make this little wireless wonder is pretty cheap, and it wouldn’t take much to break it. Nonetheless, it’s an integral part of any good selfie or group shot with you in it. It works better than your camera’s 10-second timer, because with that, you pre-focus before running to get into the photo, and unless that focus is on Infinity, then more than likely, you’ll come out a little on the blurry side. Truth.
Oh, and just how did I manage to click on the remote, since you can’t see it anywhere in the photo? I placed it on the floor, then took my shoe off so my toe could push down on the remote’s shutter release button. And, as mentioned before, I had to be very careful not to push down too hard and crack the plastic casing.
This image is not the one I used for the recipe book cover. It’s more of a test shot, because I was trying to figure out what to use for foreground food objects on the cutting board and had to get some test shots, first. It’s how I realized I needed lipstick – My face looked far too washed out without a little color.
Here’s something else you need to watch for: glare on glasses. Sometimes, it can be removed simply by the way you hold your head (turning it one side or the other, or bowing your head a little). Other times, it takes more than just a head tilt. I used only the ambient light around me – no light stands for the shots – so I knew it wasn’t a matter of moving the lights to eliminate the glare on my glasses. Because of these test shots, I discovered I needed to pull the shades down on some of the windows to keep reflections and glare off of my glasses.
And yes, that glass of bubbly is real. I was shooting around lunchtime, and figured it must be Happy Hour somewhere in the world.
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.