Monday, November 7, 2011

scrumptious chard pesto and some food photo tips

chard pesto
Hello food loving friends!  I am so excited to tell you about our delicious discovery Saturday night- chard can be substituted for basil in pesto! Who knew? Probably YOU, but I hadn't a clue. I've successfully tried other greens before, but nothing has come as close to basil as swiss chard. The funny thing is that I'm not even a big fan of chard. I love all greens, but it's one of the lowest on my list. Not so anymore. So if you're missing the fresh vivid green pesto of summer, just substitute some chard (with the stalks cut) off for basil in your favorite pesto recipe. I added a squeeze of lemon juice and a little extra olive oil.
My weekend was all about baking and souping (new and old recipes alike). There were so many opportunities to snap shots of pretty food that it got me thinking about my relationship with my camera and our kitchen. Uninspiring food pictures just make me sad, especially when the recipe is a good one. I've definitely taken my share of poorly photographed meals, but have improved over the years. If you have a blog and like to cook, most likely you've included some food posts. I thought I'd share some of the simple things I do to make the most out of what's on our plates. Let's use Sunday's breakfast as a teaching tool, because I took a rather blah pic, before I got in gear for more enticing one.  As a huge popover fan, I had been wanting to try Amy's Dutch Baby every since Amanda blogged about it last week. The time change had me all turned upside down and a super fast recipe was in order for growling tummies. Because I hadn't planned on taking pictures, that puffy Dutch Baby collapsed before I even grabbed my camera.*Sigh*
food photo that needs umph
There were lighting obstacles, as well, so I let everyone serve themselves a slice and then served YOU a slice and ran outside with it. I reached for a tablecloth on my way out the door.
behind the scenes
dutch baby and caramelized apples
Isn't that  final photo a little tastier? With caramelized apples and a dusting of sugar it was devoured instantly. In fact, I might double the recipe next time. So here's a little list of things I do to ensure delicious images:

9 tips for better food photos:
  1. keep your camera in the kitchen
  2. use natural indirect light- set up a tray at a window or bring it outside, but not in direct sunlight (I take almost all of my pics outside when the weather permits)
  3. keep backdrops at the ready- a tablecloth, dishtowel, or favorite piece of fabric ( I love my old cutting board's rustic appeal and it's in many of my shots)
  4. shoot above it, but not directly over it
  5. use simple plates and bowls that don't take away from the food
  6. style a pretty serving and then offer it as seconds to someone in your family
  7. keep your camera hand steady or use a tripod
  8. tweak with any simple photo editing tool if the light isn't just right
  9. upload your photos to your blog in a nice large size... now that it's a delicious picture show it off!
(Instagram is a fun new way to casually share food photos- but I still use most of the same tips above with my phone)
Note: I am not a food blogger, even though I pretend to be some times! I am not a trained photographer and use a fairly basic camera. I just like nice pictures of good food. Between the time change and this post, I may need an early lunch today! Pin It


  1. Thanks for the great photo tips. And the idea for chard in pesto. My basil has seen its better days.

  2. Thank you for the food photo tips. Photographing food for posted recipes is one of my biggest challenges. Lighting is one of my biggest challenges. I like natural lighting best, but that can be hard to get where I live.

    I keep my camera in the kitchen, but keeping props, like a simple plate, cutting board, and linens at hand would be really helpful. Love the tablecloth!


  3. You might not be a food blogger, but I've gotten some pretty great recipes here. I have one patch of chard that continues to give. This would be a great way to finish it off!

  4. Nice tips and tutorial. Love what's on the plate. Next Spring try stinging nettle in your pesto, tons of vitamins and minerals and it tastes great. Just handle with gloves.....xox Corrine

  5. Dutch Babies are so good. I made them for my children while in grade school/high school and college. Now they are making them for their children. I enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for sharing. Alaska/pj

    My daughter now has a blog it is:

  6. what a fabulous idea with the chard...i must try this!

    thanks for the photo tips. natural lighting is so very good, isn't it?!
    your slice of dutch baby looks scrumptious!!!

  7. Keep up the good work. Best of luck. From

  8. thanks for the pesto tip - what a great idea!

  9. Chard pesto... what great news! I put my last jar of basil pesto in the freezer to use during winter but now we can eat it up and not worry about running out!

    Great photo tips too!

  10. Oh chard pesto! Now there's something we would like. We love chard and kale and collards and all those lovely greens - I think we're turning into little rabbits. And that Dutch Baby looks great too - is that baked in a cast iron pan IN the oven?

  11. I was flipping through my "to read" list and saw the chard pesto! We received a ton of it in our CSA last year and I'm not a *huge* chard I am looking forward to trying this out next year!

  12. Great tips and yummy-looking food!
    I always keep my camera in the kitchen because I can grab it in an instant. Thank you for sharing your tips.

  13. Thanks Maya!
    Any photo tips are greatly appreciated! I'm still learning! It looks delicious!
    ~ joey ~

  14. Thank you for these tips. I don't yet manage to take good photo's, even with a good camera! hehe. The popover looks delicious!