After a break in December, my collaboration features are back and this time I’m talking with a food blogger with an exceptional attention to photography: Eshé Brown.
Now, here’s a bit of a rant; I don’t understand why but some food bloggers take their photography for granted, don’t they know that people eat with the eyes? Anyway, thankfully we have people like Eshé. Her blog is beautifully presented with some serious photography so I had to find out more about it and how it differs from a professional photography point of view.
Let’s find out:
Eshé, what gear do you use and why?
I have an entry level DSLR (Nikon 3200) which I bought to take travelling three years ago. It takes a great picture on auto but now I shoot entirely on manual I’ve really outgrown it. I know it like the back of my hand so I’m a bit reluctant to upgrade and go through the process of learning how a new piece of kits handles. I use a prime 40mm macro, plus a lightweight tripod too. The macro lens is the one item I couldn’t live without and it has made such a difference to the quality of my food photography.
Is there a particular style of shooting that you like?
For food, my preference is to shoot with natural daylight in situ in the restaurant, so the photo doesn’t look too staged.
What’s your inspiration for food photography?
I just want to show my readers the food in the best light. So if I’ve had an incredible meal, I want people to see that through my image and think “I’ve got to go there”. I also really admire the work of Justin De Souza who has shot photography for The Set and The Cocktail Shack and also Emma Gutteridge who has photographed Fatto A Mano, so I’d also say other food photographers inspire me too.
What’s your approach to food when you’re photographing it, how do you perceive it?
I’d like people to vicariously feel the experience I am having and imagine how it might taste through my photos, so my approach changes and depends entirely on the dish and environment. When I arrived I assess the restaurant and the dishes I’m presented with and let that the lead me.
What’s your background and relation to food ?
In terms of food, I started writing my food blog back in 2014, inspired by the fantastic experience I’d had at a cookery school in Chiang Mai, Thailand. In terms of photography, I studied that at A-Level in the days of film cameras and darkrooms. Obviously digital makes everything much more efficient but I do miss the excitement of waiting to see how your photos have turned out. After college, for some reason, I put the camera down and forgot a lot of what I’d learnt. The combination of taking hundreds of photos whilst travelling and seeing my improvements each day, paired with the decision to start a food blog has resulted in where I am today.
What do you find to be the biggest challenge of taking pictures?
For me, that’s shooting in dimly lit restaurants whilst on a review. If you’re in a studio environment you have all the time in the world to move your props, work with artificial lighting and reflectors but in a restaurant setting and dining with a plus one – you really just want to eat the food as soon as it’s served (and when it’s warm). I’m far too accustomed to eating cold food now.
What are the key elements that you think make your photography stand out from the rest?
I had a lovely comment from a follower recently who said: “you capture food and the people making it at their best”. I hadn’t realised it until she said it but I think my passion for cooking and meeting the people behind the great food I eat comes through in the photographs I take. I’m also a bit of a perfectionist too, so I’ll take my time to ensure I get the perfect shot.
Is there much post-processing done to your pictures?
When I first started out I used to do much more but as you get better at photography you spot things before hitting the shutter release and that means you need to edit less and less. Because I shoot in RAW every picture needs lifting slightly with a bit of clarity and contrast but most of the time I try not to add lots of filters.
I see you like to keep restaurant’s ambient light in your shots, especially on evening shoots, is this intentional?
Absolutely, people follow my blog for a visual tour of the restaurant and the menu, so I try to transport them there as I am experiencing it.
Any plans for this year?
Lots! I handle the Online PR for Waitrose at the moment at an agency in Brighton but I’m going freelance in March to focus on Food PR, Marketing and Photography. I’m also working a very exciting personal food project, which I’ll be announcing in the next month.
Awesome! Can’t wait to hear about it.
Check out Eshés Blog: foodieeshe.com