photographyphotographyI get asked a lot about what kind of camera gear I use. The question usually goes something like this, “You take such great pictures, what kind of camera do you use?” I can understand why people think that the camera takes the pictures, but in reality that is not the case. It is like saying that the stove made the perfect risotto, or the oven baked the perfectly gooey chocolate chip cookies. No, the person cooking made the risotto and cookies, the stove and oven were merely tools to output the final product.

Photography is a craft, just like baking.  I was not making perfect loaves of bread right out of the gate. It took time, experience, and lots and lots of practice. I did take some classes in college, but I have no formal photography training. I learned from books, blogs, forums, workshops, but mostly it was the time I put into putting what I learned into action.

In the beginning, I shot all the time. Hundreds of frames a day. I learned to read light. I learned to shoot in manual. I  took my camera everywhere. It is what made me a good photographer, not the camera. The camera is simply a tool.

As for food styling, for the most part learned as I went. As you can see from early posts, I knew nothing in the beginning. I paid attention to magazines and the photos on blogs that I really liked. I would use those images as inspiration and I picked up things here and there.

A word of warning – do not copy someone else’s images. For starters, it just isn’t nice or good juju. And secondly, you want to find your own style. Mine is clean, simple, and white. I use minimal props and let the food do all the work for me. There are so many gorgeous places to go for inspiration these days. Have fun.

I have taken some styling workshops with the talented Tami Hardeman-Boutté and Helene Dujardin. There workshops are worth every penny and they are very lovely and crazy talented women. I also take workshops that are outside of my niche. I have never once regretted spending my time or money learning. You will gain confidence, experience, and I have made some of the most amazing connections learning alongside other creatives.

If you are interested, here is what is in my bag.

Cameras:

Nikon D70
Fuji S5
Nikon D700
Nikon D800

Lenses:

Nikon 24-70mm 2.8
Sigma 105mm 2.8 Macro
Nikon 50mm 1.4
Lensbaby Composer Pro

Books and Resources:

Understanding Exposure
Plate to Pixel: Digital Food Photography and Styling
Food Photography for Bloggers