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.

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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.
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  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.
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  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.

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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

Shopping Tip 1

Today, I bring you a purchasing tip.

Wait and buy stuff on clearance, especially after holidays.

Now, you may be thinking that a gingerbread haunted house is not something you can use until the following year. True, so check the expiration date. With items like tablecloths, food dyes, sprinklers, pot holders, and baking cups (aka muffin liners); however, there is no expiration date.

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“But, what about when the cupcake wrappers literally say, ‘Valentine’s Day?'”

Dude; that’s when you use them for just your family. I pulled these puppies out for cornbread muffins. My kids don’t care; they just throw them away after sucking the crumbs out of them.

I’ve also found that holiday items that look like Christmas or V-Day or Halloween can be more versatile than I originally think. For example, some of the wrapping paper I bought last year (green and red) actually didn’t look that Christmas-y when I used it for a birthday.

Just shop smart. Look for universal colors and patterns.

And remember: chocolate is always in season.

When the Summer Gets Hot, Get Sprinklers

Summer is here in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s been hot!

We’re nearing 100° and feeling it. Every afternoon I’ve noticed a bit of a wilt amongst the plants, people, animals, and even the asphalt.

What’s a family to do, especially one trying to save money?

WATER!

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For just such times; we have a plastic kiddie pool. We have a relative with a much larger pool. We’re also a ten minute’s drive from three splash pads (the greatest invention since public elementary school). Heck; I’m a fan of sprinklers, hoses, and buckets.

If you’re one of those parents always looking for great DIY hacks, a neighbor of mine once brought over water balls she made from cut-up sponge strips and an elastic. After they’re dipped in water, they make great weapons or game props.

If you’re one of those parents who wants the kiddos to do something useful once in a while, park your car away from the house and let them ‘clean’ it while they water-fight. Or, put the hose and/or wet children over a dry patch of grass.

And if your spouse is too uptight about the whole thing, ‘accidentally’ lock him out of the house while the children happen to have hose access.

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Hopefully he’ll cool down enough to forgive you.

—————

Sunday, July 7: “The Women’s World Cup Ain’t Such a Bad Thing,” a post about the positive influence of the recent World Cup.

Monday, July 8: Wrote a poem titled, “Pregnancy Side Effects May Include…

Tuesday, July 9: Shared a quote by Paul Reiser.

Wednesday, July 10: Showed y’all the effects of Bar Keeper’s Friend.

Thursday, July 11: “True Boy Mom Love,” a snippet about boy ‘love.’

Friday, July 12: Felt grateful for money-friendly venues in, “Thank You, Businesses, for Free Events.”

Saturday, July 13: Shared Maryfairyboberry‘s tweet about realistic meal prep.

Sunday, July 14: That’s today!

 

Photo Credit:
frank mckenna
Jessica Cao

Cleaning Tip 1

Most of my housekeeping has the end goal of never needing to do it again in my life. I’ve got to change that philosophy because, lo and behold, every day brings more clothing and more dishes.

*Sigh*

Part of my 12-step process has been to learn what does work with cleaning. Surely there are methods, products, tricks, etc. (besides death or a maid) that make housework easier. Right?

Cue discovering a new cleaner: Bar Keeper’s Friend.

No, I don’t have a link nor a picture. You have the internet; you search. That way you can’t blame me for being a sales-pitch blog and all that.

This is a picture of the inside of my crock pot after using the cleaner.

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It’s actually a picture of the inside of my crock pot after my sister-in-law cleaned it for me. I didn’t even know she’d purchased the stuff. That is also why there is no “before” picture.

Just imagine streaks, stains, and several dubious brown spots.

The stuff seems to work so, if you have a kitchen implement or sink or whatever that’s listed on their bottle; try it. Hopefully your pan/pot/sink/child* will come out looking brand-new again.

 

*Do not try Bar Keeper’s Friend on your child.

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Baking Tip 3

I’ve been pregnant lately so meals have consisted of a lot of snack food, fast food, and frozen food.

Heck, I can barely eat those things so making it through planning and mixing without vomiting is an achievement.

And that is why this picture is of a Marie Callender’s chicken pot pie. But it works to illustrate today’s tip.

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Cover pie crust edges so they don’t burn.

I have a ‘fancy’ metal rim for full-sized pies but aluminum foil is an inexpensive way to get the same result. Wrapping the entire outside edge helps avoid that extra-crispy, extra-black flavor most people would rather not eat.

Or you can always cut the crust off before digging in.