Juicy Food Photography--Does it Make you Want to Take a Big, Delectable Bite?

French Scallops (Coquilles St-Jacques)

French Scallops (Coquilles St-Jacques)

Photographing food can be a tricky process, although certainly a delicious one. The shot above was taken in real time, in a real dining setting where no special lighting was used. At times like this, we feel a shot from above helps focus on the food, rather than the surroundings. (Sometimes an I-Phone’s special settings help with focusing. But if your real-deal camera is available with high-powered settings, it could even be more dramatic.) Our Moto: if you can’t resist it, shoot it!

French Macaroons, staged

French Macaroons, staged

The staged macaroon shot above allowed us to stage, light, and enhance the placement of the food, tablecloth, and plate for maximum attractiveness. But it definitely lacks the spontaneity of real food under real circumstances. They may look yummy (and they were); but it’s clear they were meticulously prepped for their “close up.”

Lyon, France Market Food Display with Shopper

Lyon, France Market Food Display with Shopper

Adding people to a spontaneous photo of food in natural light can be tricky. It may be hard to capture the food’s most appealing qualities without studio-quality light, but the spontaneity adds a human realism that can be missing in staged shots. The food is not as delectable as food “staged” on a plate, but the human interaction with the food makes a viewer “project” themselves in the shot, and therefore into the food buying experience.

Breakfast Crepe with Honey and Orange at Canyon Villa, Paso Robles, CA

Breakfast Crepe with Honey and Orange at Canyon Villa, Paso Robles, CA

A chef’s artfulness with food can be a key component in beautiful food photography. A fine chef will make presentation a key aspect of his or her food presentation. When done well, a photographer’s work is half-way completed before you even focus the lens. When we see beautifully presented food like this, we almost always snap a shot!

Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich at Great Maple

Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich at Great Maple

Ultimately, food photography should make your mouth water. It should make you want to dive into your screen for a big, succulent bite. It if it appeals to your tongue (and your stomach), shoot it!

Paris Top Tips

Going to Paris? Research, Trip Advisor, and simply asking travel pals can net you some advice nuggets. But take it all with a grain of salt. Trip Advisor reviews tend to be geared to the budget conscious. High end travel pros may direct you to the grandest of the grand on the other hand. My advice? You typically get what you pay for—and if you don’t fork out some euros In Paris you’ll have to be happy with what you get.

Top tip therefore for Paris: ALWAYS MAKE A RESERVATION and GET TICKETS IN ADVANCE. Many foreigners still expect to wander into a venue and get a great table overlooking the Left Bank or the best room in a hotel. But Parisians—and smart travelers—know to make reservations early, get concierge help, and plan in advance for trains, plane, cars, tours, museum visits, wine tastings, cooking adventures, and more.  

Here’s a short list of some of the places and spaces I frequent while I am there. I generally follow this rule however: try one new place for every tried and true favorite. 

Breakfast: Angelina’s, Poilâne, Erik Kayser, Bread & Roses, Coffee Parisien, Frenchie to Go

Lunch: Angelina’s, Framboise, L’Avant Comptoir, Les Cocottes, Taillevent, Les Fous de L’île

Bistros or Restaurants: Bistro Paul Bert, Cuisine de Bar, Le Timbre, Ma Bourgogne, Septime, Georges, Chez Paul, Aux Lyonnaise, Le Fountaine de Mars, Le Soufflé, L’Estrapade, Chez L’Ami Jean, anything on Rue St. Dominic (Left Bank) 

Medium-Priced Hotels: Lyric Hotel, Hotel du Louvre, Hotel Langlois, New Orient Hotel, Hotel Beaubourg, Hotel Madeleine Plaza 

High-End Hotels: Four Seasons Hotel George V, Hotel Le Six, Hotel Luxembourg Parc, The Ritz, Hotel Plaza Athénée, Mandarin Oriental, Le Bristol Paris, The Peninsula Paris, Le Meurice, Park Hyatt Paris (go to any of these for an aperitif to “live the life” if you can’t afford to stay overnight)

Apartment Rentals: parisaddress.com, parisstay.com, parisvacationapartments.com, vrbo.com 

Museum Must-Sees: Louvre, Orsay, Pompidou, Grand Palais, Petite Palais, Rodin, Carnavalet, Pantheon

Walks: Paris-Walks, Discover Walks, New Paris Tours, Hidden Paris, CityFreeTour

Sights: Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Louvre, Champs-Élysée, Arc de Triomphe, Luxembourg Gardens, Marais, Catacombs, Palais Garnier, Versailles 

Shopping: Galeries Lafayette, Printemps, Le Bon Marché, shops along Rue Saint-Honoré, Saint-Germain-des-Prés and any place on the Left Bank. Also Daiwali--my fav scarf store

Street Markets: Rue Cler, Raspail, Mouffetard, Bastille, Montorgueil