I have plenty of experience in front of the lens, but haven’t a clue what to do behind it! So I jumped at the opportunity to learn from some of LA’s most insanely talented restaurant/food bloggers, Daily Gluttony and The Kitchy Kitchen at Cube Cafe this weekend.
Jewels in front, and now behind the camera
You didn’t exactly have to twist my arm once I read “Not only will you practice capturing the gastronomical splendor of Cube Cafe’s menu which changes constantly with the seasons, but you will taste the much-loved cooking, as well as meet the faces behind Cubes pure charm.” BTW, that was an understatement, the food was ridiculously fresh, clean, and beyond luscious.
Taking aim on better food photographs
Don’t be mislead by Pam and Claire’s beauty, they are dead serious about being the best when it comes to food photography, and along with Tony on the more technical points, cover ground quickly to include exposure, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and white balance. Lost? I know it all sounds like Greek to me too, but by golly I do think I am beginning to grasp it. Practice should make perfect.
Heirloom Tomato & Fresh Peach with Buffalo Mozzarella
The idea is to find something on the plate that catches your eye, and let that become your focal point. For me, it was the texture of the mozzarella. Then try the shot from different angles, therefore light. The hidden surprise, once I tasted the dish, was the sweet juicy peach that balanced the acidity from the six year old balsamic well, and paired beautifully with the tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil.
Black Truffle Pizze, Mozzarella, and Fried Egg
It was hard to concentrate once the truffle pizze arrived, the aroma made me swoon. The budding photographer within waited impatiently, totally obsessed with piercing the yolks…
Oozing thick, rich decadence in aromatic truffle heaven
I was anxious for the chaos of the yolk to run freely, so that textures and color would provoke a less pristine, yet infinitely more interesting picture. For some reason I find half eaten, broken down food more inspiring. I want people to taste the food through the photos rather than just observe it.
Pancetta Wrapped Porchetta, Creamy Polenta, and Roasted Broccoli
I was fascinated with telling the story bite by bite, shooting in shadow, and how to rectify a picture in post production when the natural light is not providing the ideal situation. I had to work fast, as I couldn’t wait for my bite of sublime flavors and textures. The salty crispy pancetta wrapped around succulent pork, the crunch of broccoli, and creamy- cheesy polenta done to perfection. Pure bliss on a fork, but note to self, do not attend Phototasting hungry in future.
White Nectarine Shortcake, Lemon Verbena, and Fresh Cream
Then there are times you need a little distance (like this tantalizing dessert threatening to destroy my diet – thankfully it was a one bite tasting). I liked the red decor complimenting the raspberry sauce on the plate, and the moodiness of the bar blurring in the background – mirroring my own conflicted feelings about digging into the expertly balanced sweetness of the crumbly shortcake coupled with the silky lemon verbena and fragrant chunks of white nectarine exuding pillows of fresh whipped cream.
Jen, Jewels, and Pam: Phototasting at Cube Cafe
Apart from the divine dining, Cube Cafe has a market
full of imported Italian wines, amazing artisan cheeses, freshly made pastas, oils etc. They also have a blog
featuring their fabulous recipes, plus both Chef Erin Eastland and Pastry Chef Jun Tan offer cooking classes in their downtown LA location. A very tasty and vastly informative experience indeed. I can’t wait for Phototasting
‘s next venture in October. What interests you most about food photography?