Carlotta: food photography || guest post

Thursday, November 8, 2012

So happy to have the lovely Carlotta from pastors girls ponderings guest posting today!  I've been reading Carlotta's blog for years now and while sitting down to read anything she posts feels a lot like sitting down to read the latest anthro magazine, my favorite posts are her food photography posts.  All the pictures and recipes look and sound deeeelicious, and I'm so excited to have one of those on the blog today!  Enjoy reading through her tips (leave her some love in the comment section!) then go have fun making the yummy recipe she includes--I'm definitely adding it to my list of breakfast foods to make for The Boy :)
-- jessica shae

Hello! My name is Carlotta and I'm so thrilled to be posting in Jessica's stead while she's off doing things like getting married! I'm sure I'm not the only one who's bursting with happiness for Josh and Jessica. :)

I'm no chef, but I love baking things from time to time...and of course, being a photographer, I can't resist photographing the result. Over the years, I've found the best light in my house (the garage, believe it or not, and the mudroom) and discovered a few tricks that I'm sharing with you all today.

1. The most important factor in food photography is light. Avoid harsh sunlight and stay away from things like sunflare. Similarly, unless it's absolutely necessary, stay away from artificial lighting, especially at night. And yes, this includes on-camera flash, sorry to say! Natural lighting is the way to go--I find that light from the north works the best.

2. Next comes presentation. The goal of this type of photography is to make the food look appetizing. This is easier said than done! However, besides lighting, artfully arranging the food and presenting it on a clean background does wonders for a photograph. Remove any unnecessary clutter and place the food on a simple neutral background, such as wood, stone, concrete, or any similar material. Feel free to play around with styling--maybe some silverware or napkins or pretty plates--but just make sure to keep it simple. Remember, the food needs to be the star!

3. Something else you'll need to keep in mind are the angles you use. I really love shooting from directly above, but shooting directly at the level of the food as well as angling slightly above work well too. Just make sure you're not accidentally getting a cluttered background when you shoot at food level! It's all about making the food look as appetizing as possible.

4. Most of all, though, have fun. Food photography is fun! Play around with different types of styling and composition...the best part of shooting food is that it never runs away from you...unless bits happen to disappear in your mouth. ;)

Now for the recipe: these muffins are delicious. They're gluten free and are sweetened only from the fruit, but they're so good and so healthy! They have just the right amount of sweetness, are incredibly moist, and are a breeze to whip up. This is one of my breakfast staples...they pair excellently with a mug of tea or coffee. Enjoy these!

Carrot Banana Muffins
adapted from Elana's Pantry; makes approximately 12 muffins (depending on how full you fill them)

- 2 cups almond flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup raisins
- 3 ripe bananas
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup of coconut oil, melted
- 1 1/2 cups carrots (about 2 normal sized ones)

Preheat oven to 325°. Combine dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a blender or food processor, mix together raisins, bananas, eggs, vinegar, coconut oil, and carrots. Pour into dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Spoon mixture into paper lined muffin pans until almost full (they won't rise much). Bake for 25 minutes. Enjoy!

Much love!
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  1. Carlotta, Jessica is so right. Reading your blog is like sitting down and reading an anthro magazine, I love these pictures. You're so talented, and I love your food photography. Love you!

  2. tips for food photography AND a recipe? bless you.

  3. you're so talented, darling! thanks muchly for the tips :)

  4. These look so yummy and perfect for fall :)


  5. Great post and tips, Carlotta! The way you write always tends to take my breath away. ;)

    Also, I am SO going to try these muffins when I get my hands on the ingredients. Thanks for posting the recipe!

  6. Yay, thanks for having me, Jessica! :)

  7. Such good tips! (: And these shots are gorgeous! xox

  8. I'm not normally a carrot cake/muffins girl, but you might have just won me over. :) Loved the tips too - thanks!

  9. ohmyword. this is stunning. i'm head-over-heels in love with carlotta's photography.

    thanks for having carlotta, jessica!

    xx acacia

  10. oops! carlotta's blog is now called 'carlotta cisternas', not 'pastors girls ponderings'! :-)

    just a friendly reminder!

  11. Carlotta, you are amazing just saying food photography tips and a yummy recipe, you just made my day!

  12. Thanks for the tips! I shoot food a TON, but I haven't shot from directly above much. It sounds like a good idea, so I'll try it out!
    -mal :)

  13. Thanks sooo much for sharing, Carlotta! =) The tips were super helpful and I hope to put 'em into practice soon! I agree-it's fun to photograph food, but also difficult as your mouth begins to water as you photograph yummy goodies. =)

  14. Thanks Carlotta!! I've been wondering how to get better at food photography for a long time. This really helps.
    Those muffins look delish! And they're gluten free which is awesome because my family and I eat gluten free. :)



  15. jessica hit the nail right on the head when she said reading your blog is like reading the latest anthro mag. SO TRUE. i've been reading your blog for years and it's one of my faves. :]

    thank you for sharing your tips with us and that yummy recipe! xo.

  16. lovely tips, recipes and photography!! :)
    well done've always been my favourite food photographer.


Oh hey!
Thanks for taking the time to say hello, it makes my day everytime! :)

Jessica Shae