The Beautiful Recipe

This is the bread-and-butter of the food blog industry, the kind of post 99% of food bloggers attempt when they start blogs. They buy fancy cameras, they set up fancy light equipment, and hope and pray that their beautiful version of blondies (like mine above) will bring them fame and fortune on the web.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. With so many food blog posts out there, your beautiful roast chicken is impossible to differentiate from the hundreds of other beautiful roast chickens that come up when you do a Google search. So the question becomes: how do you stand out?

My answer: style. Look at 101Cookbooks. Any time you go to Heidi’s blog, you know right away where you are on the web. No one else’s food blog looks like that and that’s the result of a carefully crafted design aesthetic, one that makes you feel like you’re visiting another world. And that’s key. The best food blogs (see also: Smitten KitchenPioneer WomanThe Wednesday Chef) transport people away from their desks into another realm entirely.

You can achieve style with design (think font, graphics, banner, etc.); you can also achieve it with language. I think David Lebovitz is the perfect example of someone whose beautiful recipe posts are beautiful not only because of the pictures (which are great) but because of the words that surround those pictures. They’re totally his and his alone.

So if you want to get traffic the traditional way with the most typical of food blog posts, make sure you do it with style. Otherwise you’ll get lost in the shuffle.

Food Photography


One of the ways we can improve our photography is by studying the photos of those we admire. Even better if they happen to live in the same city as you, better again if you can befriend them and best if you can invite yourself over to watch them shoot. :-)

“They” in my case is John Bek from He Needs Food, a Sydney based food and travel blog with stunning imagery. I regularly ask John “has Gourmet Traveller magazine contacted you yet?” and he humbly brushes off my compliments. But the thing is, I really mean it. I think his photos are of that high a standard.

My style is quite different to his but that’s irrelevant. It’s the principles that matter, things that can be applied to any set up and style. It was very interesting to see that our set ups are actually quite similar, though his photos have more shadows than mine.

Watching John shoot and chatting to him about photography validates my philosophy about food photography – that you do not need an expensive DSLR, you can take amazing photos by “making do” in your own home and without spending loads of money on props. It was also really interesting to learn that the way he shoots is exactly what I teach in The Food Photography Book:-)


Food Styling Tips

Hey guys! It’s been a couple of months since my last post here!! Still alive and kicking on FBC Facebook, but to be honest, between the FBC Conference in LA in November then the Christmas rush, it’s been madness over at RecipeTin Eats!

So I was taking a bit of a breather from the FBC website. :-)

Now I’m BACK!!! And to kick off the new year, here are some of my fave styling tips!

I used to – and sometimes still do – fall into the trap of getting too caught up in styling my food. Not only does it drag out the shoot time, but it can make my photos look too staged.

So it’s almost as a reminder to myself that I’m sharing these food styling tips with you guys! Make our lives easier, make our food photos look better. 😉

1. 75/25 rule – Those of you who follow me on SnapChat (Nagi @ RecipeTin Eats) have seen me demonstrate this. :-) When piling food onto a plate, what I do is just randomly spoon 3/4 of the food on, without worrying about styling. Then I spoon the remaining 1/4 on with slightly more care, and use chopsticks (it’s my Japanese blood) to rearrange as required.

The key tip here is that I don’t use tweezers to place every item of food in my shots! Dump for 3/4, then take more care for the last part!