Food Photography for Bloggers, and a Christmas Recap

Food Photography For Bloggers – review

Ho-ho-home sweet home! After traveling to celebrate with both sides of The Family, it’s nice to be settling back into things. Unpacking the car, catching up on sleep, and finally getting a chance to enjoy some of our wonderful gifts. I thought I would share a few of my food-related goodies, but honestly I hardly know where to begin… I’m not used to having two families (my own and The Fiancé’s) doting upon me, and I have to say everyone seriously out-did themselves – thank you all so much!

One of the things at the top of my list was Matt Armendariz’s new book Focus On Food Photography For Bloggers.

Matt (of is arguably one of the greatest food photographer’s out there. You may know him from his book On A Stick: 80 Party Perfect Recipesbut even if you aren’t familiar with him by name, you’ve undoubtedly seen his work. He has shot for books, magazines, products, and companies – anything from bon appetit, to coca cola… he’s done it. Oh, and did I mention he’s married to Adam Pearson, one of the industry’s leading food stylists? Between the two of them they make a pretty unbeatable team.

I’ve always been a fan of Matt’s work, and if you’ve ever seen him interviewed or heard him speak you know he’s just as vibrant and exuberant as his images suggest. The moment I saw he was publishing a book on food photography (one geared towards food bloggers, no less!), I knew it would be a must-read.

I should probably start by saying that this is not a full, comprehensive guide to all things photography. At just under 200 pages (with plenty of photos, of course), it’s an easy read – in fact, I devoured it cover-to-cover in the passenger’s seat on the drive home from Chicago. In each chapter, Matt touches on the important parts of each subject, from cameras and equipment, to lighting, angles, props, and styling… but at no point does he unload on you with excess information, or advanced photog jargon. His writing style is incredibly easy-going, and makes the information fun and comprehensive. He goes out of his way to create exaggerated examples to show the difference between lighting set-ups and angles, and explains how lots of expensive equipment isn’t always necessary to get good results. He even goes so far as to show his basic set-up for snapping a shot of his dinner without ample lighting, and before the food gets cold (something many of us bloggers have struggled with).

The book touches on a variety of topics without getting too nitty-gritty, which makes it perfect for anyone just getting started. You’ll learn the basics of using reflectors, diffusers, and bounce cards to control your light, and even a few tips on styling your food to look it’s best (without making it fake or inedible). Most importantly, you’ll walk away with plenty of information to go out and practice… which, let’s face it, is where most of the learning really takes place.

For the more experienced photographer, you probably won’t glean very much new from this book… but it never hurts to reinforce the fundamentals. And personally, I found it more than a little exciting to catch a glimpse into the mind (and studio!) of one of my favorite photographers. There wasn’t a moment of reading this book where I wasn’t completely enthralled by it, and I am crossing my finger’s that this is only the first of a series. Keep it coming, Matt!


Here are a few more highlights from under the tree this year:

One of my favorites among the gifts I received this year was this sushi-making kit from The Brother:

The Brother and I are the only ones in our family who like sushi, and whenever we’re together we always make time to go out to eat. I’ve made sushi before, with friends, but never had the things necessary to make it myself… knowing this, he put together a basket with everything I needed to get started. Fully equipped with bamboo mat, chopsticks, instructional dvd, sushi rice, nori, wassabi paste, pickled ginger, and all – “just add fish”. You can definitely expect to be seeing some sushi on the blog, coming soon!

The Fiancé got this awesome bottle of wine, from a local little vineyard:

“Night of the Living Red”, it’s called, and according to the wine slip it is a “fun, playful, semi-sweet red seasoned with cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, orange peel… and essence of fresh-squeezed zombies”. The warm winter spices are right up our ally, and the flavors sound wonderful… well, except for the zombie juice, that is.

(The Brother also got a bottle of wine, titled ‘Revenge of the Living Red’, with hints of spice and hot peppers… and zombies, of course!)

Just one more thing I can’t help but mention, are these adorable mugs:

I can’t tell you how much I love big mugs. These are perfectly huge, and will come in handy when I need a serious dose of coffee or tea. They’re even big enough for soup, cereal, or ice cream (which, let’s face it, is most likely what they will be used for most). One says ‘Early Bird’ and the other ‘Goodnight’, and they even come with tiny little spoons that rest inside the handle, which just pushes the cuteness factor over the top!

This only scratches the surface of all the new toys I have to play with, and I cannot express my appreciation enough. The very best part of the holidays for me, though, and the greatest gift of all, is family. I’m so fortunate to have such wonderful people in my life! And I’m not just saying that because you all got me such great gifts… I mean that.

The Fiancé’s side of The Family – everybody smile!

Merry Christmas to some, and to the rest – happy Hanukkah, joyful Kwanzaa, Happy Solstice, and Not-Very-Effective Apocalypse to you!

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3 Responses to Food Photography for Bloggers, and a Christmas Recap

  1. Foodie Stuntman December 27, 2012 at 7:09 am #

    It looks like you had a wonderful Christmas! Will we see a sushi dish published next year?

  2. shannon weber January 1, 2013 at 11:31 pm #

    merry christmas, willow! i have been eyeing Matt’s photography book (he’s so great, right?) for a little bit now, and it’s good to see a review of it; i haven’t had the chance to look through it at the store, so this is so helpful! Hope you and yours had a lovely holiday together. :)

    • Willow January 2, 2013 at 12:54 am #

      Thanks, Shannon – Merry Christmas! The Fiance and I had lots of traveling to do to visit our families, but the celebrations themselves were wonderful. Hope your festivities went well, too!

      I loved Matt’s book, as you can tell… he lays things out in a really straight-forward way, and it doesn’t bog down with too much information. On the flip side of that, it isn’t very extensive if you already know some of the basics. Definitely worth the read, though, and I’m happy to have it in my collection!

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