3 Things I Learned From My First-Ever Real Food Photoshoot With a Food Stylist

One sunny Thursday afternoon in June, I shoved basically the entire pantry into the trunk of my dad's car and rushed off to the house of Harmony Lynn Goodson, a real-deal food blogger. I wasn't sure what to expect. What right had I to show up at the house of someone who makes pies that look like this and ask her to take pictures of glorified mini-pizzas?

Okay, backstory. I intern at Space Coast Magazines. When my editor found out I had a foodie blog, she sent me on a mission: the August issue of Space Coast Living was all about kids, so it called for some kid-friendly recipes. Specifically, sleepover snacks. The kind of treats that would make parents say "well, okay, since it's a special occasion" but that wouldn't require too much work. Aside from being a blogger of all things stylish and sweet, Harmony Lynn is an editorial photographer, so she would take the photos of the snacks.

With the help of my sweet-toothed younger cousins, I thought up four kid-friendly recipes(it helps that I am still basically a kid). You can't see them here- you'll have to  read "Pajama Party Provisions" in Space Coast Living's August 2019 issue to see those.

As it turns out, I had nothing to be afraid of. Harmony was more than happy to show me all the ins and outs of taking drool-worthy food photos. I learned a lot that day, but these 3 things changed the way I thought about food photography.

Mint walnut pasta
1. Add some environment!
For every dish, Harmony took bits of the ingredients- shredded cheese for the pizzas, graham cracker crumbs for the s'mores apples(y'all I'm not making that up. You better pick up for August issue of Space Coast Living and make those, they're good)- and sprinkled them across the table around the dish. She used the word "organic" to describe the placement: you want it to look like they fell there naturally, not like you purposefully placed them.
It reminds me of when my middle school art teacher warned the class against using "local color:" one color in only one place in the painting. For instance, if you have a spot of red in the bottom left corner of your painting, maybe brush some strokes of red near the top or off-center, too.

Dragonfruit matcha smoothie bowl
2. You don't have to use just food.
Harmony said she sometimes uses food coloring to make foods look brighter, since some colors of the dish can be washed out in photography. She also uses glue to hold together trickier shots, and candles to imitate steam.
Disillusioned? So was I, at first- but then I realized that these methods are for maintaining the food's appearance for the duration of the shoot, not for faking how the food looks.We didn't end up using any of these methods for my food that day, but I can see how it would come in handy for some of Harmony's more involved shoots.

Chickpea and breadcrumb lentil pasta
3. It doesn't go to waste.
Every food photo I post on The Blergh is of something I actually eat. Going into the shoot, I worried that all the food would be swept into the trash afterwards.
Fortunately, Harmony's super-sweet son, Dominic- seen as a hand model in several of the SCL photos- was more than happy to taste test the snacks after they were photographed. What was left over, I took home and enjoyed later that night.
Obviously we wouldn't have done so had there been glue or something in the food. Use your judgement, foodie friends.

Many thanks to Harmony: I can't tell you how much I enjoyed working with you! Harmony's blog is beautiful, everyone should read it. Again, if you want to see the photos she took, not to mention make some tasty snacks, it's all in SCL August 2019.

I started my senior year of high school this week. I need encouragement. Please tell me you like my blog in the comments below, via email, on Facebook, or on Instagram. :')

Savvo 'lass a lalaith,

Heather <3

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