How to Frame a Foodie Picture

Food is a major part of life. Without it and water, we’d have a difficult time existing.

It’s no wonder, then, we spend a lifetime thinking about eating. Restaurants dot every major area. Neighborhoods have access to grocery stores. And millions of blogs dedicate their themes to meal plans, food reviews, and new recipes.

I have recipes on this blog, even though they are not its main point.

In ruminating on this idea one morning, I looked down at my breakfast plate. I laughed. This was not a plate one would post in a magazine or on a blog. This was my breakfast, meant for eating.


However, I realized that all the cute photos I see online are just food. Just people. Just flowers. I wondered: could I make my sloppy mess of pancakes into something beautiful?

I thought I just might:

  1. Choice of food. From organic produce at grocery stores to the perfectly-symmetrical cakes of blog pictures, foodie photographers know that choosing perfect products is the first step.
    Surprisingly, optimal photography subjects are not mandatory. Out of curiosity and laziness, I opted to keep the same pile of mismatched pancakes for mine throughout the process.
  2. Choice of plate. Plate, however, is imperative -unless you manage to not capture it in any shots. Choose something bright and crafty if you have it; otherwise just stick with plain white or grey.
  3. Choice of garnish. Since my photograph involved breakfast; I knew my available garnishes needed to be items related to pancakes: fresh fruits, nuts, syrups or sugars, etc. I didn’t have anything laying around except the nuts and sugar, so I used those.
  4. Placement of garnish. Food photos may look like the parsley rained down randomly, but it didn’t. I therefore stuck each walnut in an artistic location, even using two to prop up some of the pancakes.
    The powdered sugar is a similar beast; it looks much better dusted than dumped. So, I dug out our fancy sugar sifter.
  5. Surroundings. Where you snap the photo is vital. As they say in real estate: location, location, location. As silly as it may be to find a plate of flapjacks in a field of lavender, people love how it looks.


Focus is fun to play with as well. This final shot is focused on the lavender; the one before is on the front nut. You also need good lighting, a steady hand, and a bit of an off-center placement of the subject matter.

If you don’t want to worry about all that, just follow the basic 5 steps I outlined. Or, just eat the darned pancakes before they get cold.


©2019 Chelsea Owens

Money-Saving Tip 1

I’m not big into organic foods, whole foods, saving the planet, or even saving money. Why? Time, mostly. Placement of impulse buys, mostly. But I do what I can.

Today’s money-saving tip is also a great planet-saver:

Purchase reusable containers.


We eat a lot of sandwiches around here, because the boys attend a charter school with an über expensive hot lunch. About 3 years and a few hundred sandwich bags ago, I decided Mother Earth could use fewer plastic bags thrown away.

The variety of reusable sandwich containers pictured are also BPA-free and probably contain X% recycled materials. I bought them off Amazon and they do the trick.

I recycle and reuse as much as I have time and money for. If we all do at least that, I’m sure the world will be a cleaner place.


©2019 Chelsea Owens

Food Tip 10

Do you make your own compost? I mean, from your leftover vegetables and fruits?

We do, but not in the over-the-top way one might think. If I have a life mantra, it’s probably something about not being worth it if it takes too much time and effort. Hence, our simple composting method:


Back when we purchased the house six years ago I had the bright idea to stop throwing all our garbage to the garbage. I’d heard that organic materials could be used for compost. I like the idea of less waste, a better planet, and reusing instead of re-polluting. Lo and behold, someone was selling a compost bin in the Classifieds (online)!

I purchased and picked up the large, square, black container and we’ve randomly contributed to it since.

When I make dinner with potatoes or soup with celery, I collect the peels and plant pieces and carry them out to Mr. Bin. We also rinse out eggshells and add those, or sometimes dump in small branches from pruning. I’ve added compostable egg cartons before, too.


We’ve stirred and smashed, but mostly leave it (remember the “too much effort” mantra?). There’s a door at the bottom of the black container from which we can retrieve the broken-down bits of green and brown waste –compost.

It’s like magic, plus I feel like Supermom. The kids learn to put their banana peels out back and then love to pull the compost for their vegetable-planting in the spring.


©2019 Chelsea Owens

Food Tip 9

I’m all about having food on hand. I don’t like frequent store trips or surprises. I’m also big into getting as natural of food as is reasonable.

So, today’s food tip is:

Grow your own food.


If you don’t know this by now, I draw my lines at convenience and comfort. Although all-natural and organic are great ideas, the most organic I go is our backyard garden. Even then, I totally called in our pest guy at The Battle of the Squash Bugs (that epic tale will need to wait till another post).

I also think saving money is important. But when the cost of garden boxes, soil, plants, and special vegetable wash exceed the cost of tomatoes at Sprout’s; I’m not going to waste the effort.


So, start small. Plant one thing that you’ll use in a small bit of land or a pot. Add a watering system the next year. Over the next while; purchase and implement garden boxes, special mix-ins, and more interesting plants.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll even start saving seeds for next season’s plantings.

Garden fresh tastes better and is healthier. It’s also fun for kids, especially if they have one plant that is all their own.


©2019 Chelsea Owens

Food Tip 8

Even when I’m more on top of life and have meals planned out for …days, I depend on my personal food tips and tricks. I can’t number how often I’ve started a meal and realized I’m missing an ingredient.

That is when my prepared foods and pre-purchased staples literally save my bacon. I realized, however, that I had not specifically recommended a vital food tip:

Keep a food storage.

Not everyone has extra space, I know. Not everyone has extra money. Not everyone considers buying ahead, knowing of those limitations. But I can also tell you that my husband and I have always purchased a little ahead of our food supply.


Like with cereal. I have so many breakfast eaters these days that I load up on extra boxes when the local Smith’s Marketplace runs deals.

Since we are in a more spacious house now, we also store more Doomsday Preppers-type items like oatmeal, flour, sugar, and rice.


Before we had children and a basement, our flour supply was a couple of buckets. The oats were an extra Quaker container. The tuna fish was three surplus cans.

Ah, tuna fish: The greatest, cheap protein that lasts and kids hate to eat.


I don’t like tuna very much, either. I make a tuna salad mix for sandwiches or a tuna casserole with potato chips and cheese on top to make it palatable.

The point is that our basic food storage has many benefits. Keeping a year’s supply of wheat will sustain us in The Zombie Apocalypse. Ten buckets of sugar just might get us through the Christmas season. And, the spare Girl Scout cookies I hid downstairs help in the between-times.


©2019 Chelsea Owens