- Technical Tips (aperture, shutter speed, and ISO)
- Composition Tips (orientation, composition ideas, and movement)
- Light Tips (window hunting, scraping, and folded paper trick)
- Props and Set Up Tips (prop ideas and organization, set-up process)
- Editing Tips (Photoshop, Lightroom, and iPhoto)
- General Workflow (Schedule adjustment, slow down, and food sharing sites)
The book includes:
After downloading the book I quickly went to the editing tips section. I had previously submitted my pictures on food sharing sites (like tastespotting and foodgawker) and have been denied because of lighting issues. The editing section has a breakdown of all the different editing steps and videos explaining how to do them in both Photoshop and Lightroom.
After editing this photo with Lindsay’s tips it got accepted to foodspotting! I was so excited!
This next photo still didn’t get accepted because of composition. It only I could go back in time and fix this.
The big thing about food porn websites is for the most part, you have to crop down to a square. I did not know this when I started taking pictures. So now I look for the square when taking the pictures.
Here is a taste of what I have cooking this week…
Get recipe for Spicy Chicken Quinoa at my healthy food blog.
I know I still need better lighting. Living in Seattle is not the best place for natural light but I worked with what I had. The book gave me a few great tips on free/cheap was to help with lighting. A great side affect of improved photos is increased blog traffic. A "bad" side affect is I get really hungry looking at my picture now.
I got a new camera lens! I ended up getting a used Nikon 50mm 1.4D. I had planned on getting a Nikon 50mm 1.8G on my trip into the camera store but after I found out the lens was on backorder I tried out the used 1.4D lens they had for sale. So far I am very happy with my decision!
Take a look at a few pictures I took today. The first one was taken in a shaded corner of our backyard at sunset. The other two of the pets (my models for the night) were taken in really low light in our living room at night. My old lens would have never been able to take a picture in this low of light without a flash.
All pictures were shot with my Nikon D200.
F-stop = f/2
Exposure time = 1/80 sec.
ISO speed = 200
F-stop = f/1.4
Exposure time = 1/30 sec.
ISO speed = 800
F-stop = f/1.4
Exposure time = 1/15 sec.
ISO speed = 800
I can't wait to take more pictures with this lens!
This will be the first post of many on my constant battle to organize our kitchen. Our old apartment had a super tiny “hallway” kitchen. You know the type were you can’t open the oven and the fridge at the same time. So moving into our new house it was night and day difference with our new kitchen space but I could always use more space. The biggest problem I have with our new kitchen is there is no pantry so our dry foods take up a lot of the cabinet space. I will hit more on this issue in a later post. Oh the plans I have brewing in my head (insert evil laugh).
The first organization issues I tackled was our spice jars. This is an issue that I have always had going all the way back to living in my parent’s house and had followed me to my adult life. You know, the problem were you have to pull out half the spices to find the one we were looking for then pile them back in the cabinet. We attempted to solve this problem by use a stepped spice rack I found at The Container Store but the spice canisters didn’t fit that well and there was still overflow.
After shopping around, I ended up buying these great oval spice jars from Crate and Barrel in attempt to at least make them all uniform. When they arrived at my house I noticed that they were the perfect size to fit into the top cabinet drawer. We were currently using this as a junk drawer and we decided that we could live without it.
I found a recipe for homemade chalkboard paint on pinterest and decided to give it a try for labeling the tops of the jars.
DIY Chalkboard Paint Spice Jars
Here is the process I went through to make this...
I started by washing all of the jars. After they were dry I removed the rubber seals and set them to the side to avoid getting paint on them.
Using the recipe I found on Attempting Aloha, I mixed the chalkboard paint. The ratio is about 2 ounces (1/4 cup) Acrylic paint to 1.5 teaspoons of non-sanded grout. Be careful because the grout is very dusty! The paint does come out really thick. You can add a little more acrylic paint to the mix if needed but it does smooth out when applied to the jars.
I applied two coats of paint to the lids of each jar, waiting for them to dry in between coats.
After the second coat was dry, I wrote the spice names on the tops of the jars with the wet erase chalk marker. I also wrote the expiration date on the bottom of the jars using a sharpie.
I put the rubber seal back on the jar and poured the spices in. Then they were ready for there new home next to all the Nuun!
I was really excited to have space freed up in the cabinet. Don’t worry it didn’t take me long to fill it up with something else.
I have gotten a little distracted with my everyday life and have not had a chance to post. I wanted to make sure I got these cupcakes up before St. Patrick’s Day because they would make a great themed treat! I made these along with my attempt at purple red velvet a few weekends ago for the Team an Training Tri half way party we hosted at our house.
These were by far the visual favorite of the night. Who could pass up an Andes mint sprinkled cupcake? They tasted amazing too! These cupcakes were very moist and had a light mint flavor to them. I am not a huge fan of strong mint flavors so these cupcakes were perfect in my opinion.
The cupcakes were topped with white chocolate frosting. I crushed up some Andes mints to top off this already amazing cupcake combo.
This is a cupcake I highly recommend trying! I will be making them again at some point in my life.
Yields: 20 to 22 cupcakes
4 egg whites (at room temperature, about 30 mins)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup green creme de memthe
1/2 cup shortening
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Line a muffin tin with 20 liners Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F
2. In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a 2-cup glass measuring cup combine the buttermilk and the creme de menthe. Set aside.
3. Beat shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, beating on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Add egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to shortening mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until mixture is combined
4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each about two-thirds full. Use the back of a spoon to smooth out batter in cups.
White Chocolate Frosting
Yield: 3-1/2 cups
1 cup butter, softened
6 ounces white baking chocolate with cocoa butter, chopped
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 -2 cups powdered sugar
1. Place white baking chocolate in a large mixing bowl; set aside.
2. In a small saucepan heat whipping cream just until simmering. Pour over white baking chocolate; let stand, without stirring, for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth; let stand for 15 minutes.
3. Gradually beat butter into melted white chocolate mixture with an electric mixer on medium to high speed, beating until combined.
4. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until frosting reaches piping or spreading consistency.
Mint Shamrock Milkshake Cupcakes
Assembly: Pipe white chocolate frosting onto cooled mint cupcakes. Top with crushed Andes Mints.
Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, Shamrock Milkshake Cupcakes
I love making cupcakes but I know if they are sitting around our house I will eat every last one of them. So the rule is that I can only make cupcakes when we have a party, go to a party or I bring them into work. Last weekend we happened to host Alex’s Team in Training triathlon team’s half way party, so that for me translated into being able to make cupcakes!
I attempted to make a purple red velvet cupcake because purple is the Team in Training color. This completely failed, the brown from the chocolate was too overpowering and I didn’t have enough food coloring to overcome it. In the end I just had brown red velvet cupcakes, still really good, but not want I was aiming for.
This red velvet recipe came from my mom. She perfected them for my wedding shower this last year. She tried out tons of different combinations of cupcake and frosting and forced her co-workers to be taste tasters (she had to twist lots of arms for this). Her final recipe was a hit! They were so good that she was asked to make them again for my brother’s wedding. I have made them before and was told that the cake part tastes better then Cupcake Royal (a fancy Seattle cupcake store). I changed the frosting a little bit this time by adding some whipping cream to it but this is really not needed, both ways taste great!
On another note, this was my first attempt to pipe on frosting. I had actually had tried once before with my cookie press kit but they did not turn out pretty. It turns out so much better when using a large piping tip. This frosting is not ideal for piping. It is a little loose but it turned out looking okay in the end after I added a little extra powdered sugar.
If you try this let me know what you think!
Red Velvet Cupcake
2½ cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup salted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
½ cup buttermilk
1 (1 ounce ) bottle of red food coloring (if you want red cake)
2 tsp. vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
2. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat eggs, one at a time. Mix in sour cream, buttermilk, food color and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed
until just blended. Do not overbeat. Spoon batter into about 30 paper lined muffin pans filling each cup 2/3 full.
3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans or wire rack 5 mins. Remove from pans and cool completely. Frost with cream cheese frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1½ 8oz. pks cream cheese at room temperature.
¾ cup (1½) sticks of salted butter, soften
1½ lbs of powder sugar
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp. vanilla (clear vanilla if you have it)
3 Tbs. Whipping Cream (optional)
1. Mix all ingredients but the whipping cream in an electric mixer until smooth.
2. Add Whipping cream and mixer on med-high for 5 minutes.
3. If piping onto cupcakes add an extra ½ cup of powder sugar.
This makes a ton of frosting. You can divide the recipe in two or freeze the left overs. It will also keep in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.
Oh, on a side note if anyone would like to support Alex’s fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society here is his donation page. He is racing in the Wildflower half Ironman in May. He is crazy!