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"That" food photography on food blogs

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guilty Nov 9, 2011 07:36 PM

You know what I'm talking about. Wildly exaggerated depth of focus--the back of a cookie is out of focus, but we can see that front chocolate chip in all its melted, glistening, pornographic glory. You can almost smell the fresh loaf of bread on the table, with a piece cut off and just lying there, crumbs scattered; just like real life. The condensation on the side of that martini promises to drip down your hand as you unwind from your day and loosen your inhibitions. There's uniform, natural-seeming white light coming from somewhere. Undoubtedly a window looking out on a picturesque late spring/early autumn/crisp winter day.

At first it was refreshing; no more weird off colors or foods that looked like a middle-school home ec project gone awry. But some time ago I hit the wall. Hard. I enjoy food porn as much as the next chowhound, and probably more, but please: Give me variety. They don't all have to look just like an echo of Jayne Mansfield. If you get my drift.

Am I the only one who's tired of "that" perfect food photography? Chances are, I'm looking for a recipe, and I want to see what the food looks like, not a fantasy of what the perfect version of that food should look like. Or, if you're truly a good photographer, show me something interesting. Something I can't see on a thousand other food blogs.

Right now my favorite food photographer is Luxirare (despite the fact that she does mostly fashion and is a professional photographer, so maybe doesn't qualify): http://luxirare.com/scented-almond-milk/

Overwrought? Definitely. Pretentious? Probably. Unique? Completely. As far as I care, anyway.

Otherwise I'm pretty happy with http://cookingforassholes.blogspot.com/ . No, the photogrpahy isn't great. It's just pictures of the food. Thank goodness.

Any other suggestions? Commiseration? Scolding? Let me have it.

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  1. tommy RE: guilty Nov 10, 2011 05:04 AM

    " You can almost smell the fresh loaf of bread on the table, with a piece cut off and just lying there, crumbs scattered; just like real life. The condensation on the side of that martini promises to drip down your hand as you unwind from your day and loosen your inhibitions. There's uniform, natural-seeming white light coming from somewhere. Undoubtedly a window looking out on a picturesque late spring/early autumn/crisp winter day."

    Photography on blogs is that good and "perfect"? Sounds like pro photography to me.

    1. t
      thimes RE: guilty Nov 10, 2011 05:41 AM

      As far as complaining about "that" photo I find it strange that your favorite is Luxirare. Beautiful shots but DEFINITELY in the "that" photo camp if you ask me (and I guess you kind of did).

      I haven't read cooking for assholes, but I just added it to my bookmarks. I liked the post about nose to tail cooking/chefs. From a quick glance I do like the "this is what it is" type photos instead of the Glamour Shots to give you a better idea of what you're in for.

      That said, blogs are big business now (or some people have turned them into that and many many are trying) so I'm not surprised that the photos have moved to glamour shots (not that I need them) but with so many blogs, you have a few seconds to grab someone's attention before they decide to move onto the next blog and unfortunately a lot of that is visual - unless we all make a conscious effort to fight for substance over form!!!!

      1 Reply
      1. re: thimes
        xo_kizzy_xo RE: thimes Nov 10, 2011 06:09 AM

        You're absolutely correct :nodding: IMO it's almost a given that you have to include some kind of food porn if you have a cooking blog. You can have the greatest recipes in the world, but if you can't entice readers visually, they're apt to scroll right on by.

      2. Manybears RE: guilty Nov 10, 2011 06:24 AM

        I am also kind of bored of that "what, this old thing?" perfect casualness of food blog photos, but I do still prefer it to the 'is that really supposed to be green or is it just the lighting' problems of the past. What I am irritated by though is when the photos are extreme close-ups all the time. Give me some breathing space!

        1. y
          yummfood RE: guilty Nov 10, 2011 11:09 AM

          Wow, thank you so much for providing the link for "Cookingforassholes". The writing is just so hilarious....vulgar...but hilarious! Just straight up food and funny posts. Love it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: yummfood
            DuchessNukem RE: yummfood Nov 10, 2011 11:45 AM

            He's also a CHer. He's got a fun sense of humor.
            http://www.chow.com/profile/1185395

          2. mariacarmen RE: guilty Nov 10, 2011 07:22 PM

            i still love food porn, not over it yet. highly suggestible, i guess.

            and i thank you too - LOVE the cooking for assholes blog! ". . . . plate it Muse-Douche style" - hilarious! now i have to go read all his CH posts.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mariacarmen
              g
              guilty RE: mariacarmen Nov 10, 2011 08:09 PM

              Muse Douche is probably my favorite thing ever. On a food blog. Glad I at least got to turn some people on to cooking for assholes.

            2. g
              guilty RE: guilty Nov 10, 2011 09:15 PM

              I know it's poor blog manners to hijack your own thread, but I think looking at the latest Foodgawker page will give you an idea of what I'm talking about; all the pics are more or less from the same angle, with the same lighting, and the same color palette.

              http://foodgawker.com/

              3 Replies
              1. re: guilty
                tommy RE: guilty Nov 10, 2011 09:33 PM

                From what I see, there is a variety of angles, framing, and lighting, not to mention depth-of-field. The colors seem natural and not over-saturated or otherwise unnatural.

                Not sure what you are implying or what I'm missing. Could you expound?

                Thanks.

                1. re: tommy
                  t
                  thimes RE: tommy Nov 11, 2011 05:15 AM

                  It is interesting. I see it immediately. Everything is shot looking down at the same angle to the right. Everything has a prop (spoon, napkin, straw) perfectly placed. The main object is almost uniformly the same proportion in each shot. Almost all of them have the main item in focus and everything else in a soft blur.

                  I see the similarity of the shots very quickly. Not that they are bad shots by any means, just very similar in composition to me.

                2. re: guilty
                  LiveRock RE: guilty Nov 18, 2011 12:27 PM

                  Foodgawker may exemplify your point but may also be a poor example. They are known for being critically biased and extremely opinionated when it comes to accepting and/or rejecting contributor's photographs. With such narrow-minded judging it's no surprise they all have that same look.

                3. Kagemusha RE: guilty Nov 11, 2011 10:33 AM

                  Unless I'm missing something somewhere else, luxirare's a bit wanting when it comes to photography chops. White balance issues, blown highlights, rockhard directional lighting and numb composition are just the beginning. Do they own more than one light??? Jeez, I've seen crime scene shooters with more style sense.

                  Go check out what the Saveur and NYT food photographers can do.

                  BTW, that "Cinnamon scented milk" looks like it's floating on cat puke.

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