June 16, 2011

Beef Empanadas and Food Photography

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I was tempted to make beef empanadas when I saw Peter's Cheese Pies that photographed so lovely. Aren't you amazed that wonderful photos will trigger you to create dish? I always love Peter's photos, as I said time and time again, he is an inspiration.

Food photography has become a passion for me. It is like a message that I want to send across to the audience, the passion that I have, when I push the shutter button. There is an imagination, as well as an expression that I want you to understand. It is my language, for I am not so eloquent myself with words. Through my photos, I am hoping you do know me more. If you care, that is.

Having two homeschoolers and a baby, it is kind of hard for me to really produce good photos. I mean good photos as good photos, not a snapshot I often do these days. The photos that are prepared with every element and are styled to suit the theme with suitable props, careful lighting and perfect composition to produced optimal results. 

green tea creme brulee enjoying sweets2 bubur kacang hijau Kue/Kuih Bangkit/Bangket Kacang Lemon Cheesecake
mooncake Lunch Brigadeiros Lapis Legit Moscovis by ab2010 Raspberry Semifreddo

But no. Preparation for food photography takes time. You need time to do more careful planning on food and styling than you can imagine. I just can't do it in between schooling, nursing a baby, gardening and doing house chores (and, who says I am a wonderwoman?). I have to be happy with snapshots so far, although honestly, I am not satisfied. 

I sometimes feel a drawback. I feel I am not developing, nor improving. I am staying put. But, then I come to realize, that at least, I still can practice everyday.

Strawberry Sherbet and Lime Meltaway Strawberries Chicken Satay Schulten Plums Nutella Mochi Gluten-free Plums and Almond Slice Chicken Balls and Prawn Dim Sum-2  peacherines and peachcotts pears, goblet, and white grapes Sop Kaki Sapi IMG_2165 Peanut Butter Chocolate Slice

Having an iPhone is a bit of help to catch up with mood and a sense of art in photography, if I may call it. The specification might not meet the ones of digital cameras, but with a little imagination, the photos can be produced beautifully. It is handy and requires less time, less preparation.  

iPhone with Camera+ application is a perfect marriage. I have applied this application on food photography, and I think it is quite a satisfaction. You cannot be a 100% perfect, can you? For me, iPhone is a big advantage under the certain circumstances I am in.

late Summer peaches Hipstamatic 201-Together Hipstamatic 201-Gluten-Free Chocolate Chiffon Cake Slice and Coffee

Hipstamatic 201-ginger beer and gluten-free pineapple jam biscuits Hipstamatic 201-Gluten-Free Chocolate Chiffon Cake Bolkus Espresso-2

Hipstamatic is compatible enough to produce good food photos. Although, it may require much more time to change lens and film to suit your needs and mood, it is still a challenge to make it right. I am still doing trial and error with these lenses and films. As you can see the above photos, they tend to be quite dark. I did them without flash, but used natural light instead. 

Beef Empanadas 01

Anyway, I had a very small time when I tried to photograph these beef empanadas, using my old Canon 400D (I say old, because nowadays, I've been using it since 2007, and by now you are expected to upgrade to the highest specs a digital camera may offer, aren't you?). Just got few shots when my baby was woken up and demanded my ultimate attention ;)

I love using natural light. With a help of a small softbox to lighting on the dark side, I make a move. I put the softbox away from the table, so it will give softer light. I don't want it to be too bright. I also diffuse the light that comes through the window with an old white bed sheet. I don't use a white card this time because I thought it will reflect on the glasses. 

Choosing navy blue material as the background, I thought this fits well with the mood of the food and the current season we have. I do not fancy a lot of props outnumbered the primary elements as the point of interest. I quite like to work on Spanish theme, but I will need to do some proper props to achieve this desire, but for now, I have to use what I have got. 

Beef Empanadas 03

I was still not happy with the results. I want to make the background darker than that, to suit moody lighting that is framed in my mind. I know what I could do, but it means I have to do another set up, which means more time to be spent. And I don't have that extra time!  

It is not easy being a mother who has dreams or goals to achieve when children are the highest priority, I believe. However, it is a miracle while having them I still can do what I love in a limited time. 

Beef Empanadas 02

The recipe I used is beef empanadas on Dish Magazine, issued 2006. 


Kitchen Flavours said...

I can purely understand life being mom....i struggle with one kid and u r managing 3...take out time to enjoy our hobby is side lined always....love the way u took the pics....i think the blue background just compliments dear....i always admired u r way of taking pics....

Peter G @ Souvlaki For The Soul said...

Arfi, with everything you have going on in your life you produce stunning results. And iphones are a fantastic part of the photography world these days. With a few little apps the results are great! Thank you for the shout out and the lovely empanadas. I totally get what you mean about mood etc...It;s my favourite thing to convey!

Alessandra said...

I agree with Peter, you take great photos, and in a way I think that the Iphone is ideal for me because it really gets my moods. Food photography can be so stylized that it may look beautiful, but then you have to rely on light and props etc for the mood, with the iphone I take photos when I am chopping, cooking, serving, eating, without changing the environment or mood of the actual moment. I really appreciate that, and the fact that you told me about camera + :-)


Happy Cook / Finla said...

I can understand we have lot of other priorities.
But i think even with i phone your pics are so good.
Empanadas look so so good.

Xiaolu said...

Great post and photos, Arfi! I agree that it can take a lot of energy/thought/time to make great photographs and sometimes life just gets in the way. I think you still make lovely shots now.

gluten-free-foodie.net said...

I think the resulting photos turned out perfect! Seriously. We are always our own worst critic. But I know what you mean about having to give up that last shot, because the kids are waking up from their naps. I have the same thing happen to me all the time. :) I love the photo, and I would love to try the empanadas!

WizzyTheStick said...

Fabulous looking empanadas and I totally understand the pull of food photography. Like you I am never satisfied and always wish I could take just one more shot but the pull of family life is sometimes more important. People thinks its easy but styling takes more time than shooting the actual picture. I am always wishing I had more props and fabrics and such

peasepudding said...

Kee up the great photography Arfi. I haven't used my iPhone with camera as I am not so keen on the results, although you make it look great so I will try that app you noted and let yo know how go, would be idea for traveling.

melaniemusings2 said...

Happy Birthday Arfi. I hope you Dad feels better. You give great joy with your lovely recipes-photography and love you give out.