A day in the life: photographing mini food

Saturdays before 1:00 pm, you can find me with a digital camera and an entourage of ceramic pigs.

There is a reason for this, I promise.

This is where the light is. Our four-season porch has windows on the south and west sides, and in the morning, the sunlight streams inside in a perfectly diffused amount. All I have to do is set up my little backdrop, unfold the tripod, and get to work.

For my photo backdrop, I use an embroidered dish towel that one of the women in my family made. I love the texture it has in photos, plus the “food equals memory” tie-in is quite serendipitous. I lay out my props and the things I’ll photograph, get the tripod to the right height, and adjust the shades so there’s no direct sunlight.

It’s about this time that I discover that the pigs have run off and are now appreciating my efforts in not killing the houseplants. I get momentarily distracted by the novelty of swine on tropical plants.

It’s about this time that I realize that the chipped nail polish from Christmas will look decidedly unproffessional in photos with my hands in them. So I take it off only two of the nails, garnering myself odd looks from everyone for several days. I ignore them.

From there, it’s buckle-down-and-do-your-work time, and I snap roughly 20 shots per product. Then I cull them down to 5 shots and do any crop- or color-adjusting-work necessary. Sometimes the camera can’t grab true-to-life colors, and it needs a little help post-photography.

My favorite shots are ones that are clean and showcase the mini food well, but I also like a sly little joke. Like the chubby piggy trying to climb up the chair for the tart.

If you pay reaaaally close attention in some of my other photos, you’ll see that slim little Pigling Bland is in the pictures of “healthy” food, while Lardo McGordo shows up in a lot of pictures of dessert. Mom says that I’m the only one who gets it, and that’s ok with me. I like having inside jokes…with myself.


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