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As we’ve discussed many times during this podcast, getting your food photographs right is important. In fact, Gerry Speirs in episode 12 says the quality of your food photography is possibly more important than the number of your page views. So, that means we needed to have a chat about food photography. And that’s why I reached out to Matt Armendariz, because he’s not only a talented food photographer, he’s also a blogger too. He travels the world on different food photography gigs, and it all started with his corporate day job where he had the opportunity to interview different food producers, which sparked an interest to share his own stories about food. The rest, as they say, is history.
Food photography may be one of the most exciting parts about having a food blog. Not only is there excitement of owning a DSLR, but then there’s the lenses. Oh, the lenses we’ll have!
Then there’s the plates, and forks, and napkins. That’s the fun stuff. But lighting? Backgrounds? Now things are starting to get a little trickier. Mention white balance around a group of food bloggers and just stand back and wait for the groans. It’s not easy stuff.
A good food photographer is like a professional athlete — they make it look so easy. But when we, the amateurs, set out to do it ourselves, we quickly realize it’s not as easy as the folks like Matt make it look. Of course, sometimes the professionals have an entire team of people, including stylists, to help the process along. And we’re trying to do all of it on our own.
That’s why I reached out to Matt to talk with him about some great food photography tips for food bloggers.
Find photos you like, recreate them, you’re never going to copy it exactly, because you don’t know what it took to get that photo and you may not have the same environment and variables, but it’s a good way to experiment and to try and then you see maybe I don’t like how this photo turned out or I don’t like my shadows too dark or I like things to be super bright or the opposite. It’s just a good starting point. — Matt Armendariz
Of course, it helps that Matt has such an inspiring attitude about food. You know this if you’ve ever been to the “About Matt” page on his site. Matt gets the connection that people share with food. He captures this connecting power of food in every shot.
The more I travel and go around the world and share meals with people you realize it’s the one big uniter. And it doesn’t matter where you’re from, what your viewpoint is on life is, anything. I mean, you sit down to share a meal with people and we’re all equal. — Matt Armendariz
Featured Content – Food Photography Tips for Food Bloggers with Matt Armendariz
Here are some of the highlights of my discussion with Matt:
- How Matt decided to start his food blog MattBites
- How Matt first became interested in cooking
- Matt and I talk about the importance of an emotional attachment to food!
- Matt talks about his passion for Korean food, particularly for it’s emphasis on balance and contrast of flavor.
- How you develop your style as a food photographer
- The similarity between recipe development and food photography development.
- Why it’s important to experiment with your art as a creative individual
- We talk about comparisons between food photography and music. Yes, music!
- Why it’s important to get out, away from your computer, in order to be a truly successful food photographer.
- We talk about white balance. Yes. White balance. And that leads to a discussion about the ever-changing light that we must master in order to shoot in natural light.
- Matt also talks about using artificial light
- We talk about post processing and what role that should serve in your food photography
- We walk through an example post and how Matt plans out the photography process for it
- Matt even talks about his process for shooting photography for a cookbook
- What’s the story for your photograph? You need to know it before you shoot. Is it a seasonal post? Is it for a picnic? All of these things help create a story for the photo.
- Matt’s photo journal that helps him track his photos to share with others, but also to help him keep track of file names as well.
- Matt’s awesome upcoming travel schedule where he’s heading over the next few months, including Kansas City in October where he’ll be a speaker at the Chopped Conference!
This episode includes references to several resources you might find interesting. Here they are:
- Learn more about today’s guest, Matt Armendariz, on his blog MattBites. I particularly recommend checking out his About Page. Talk about a passion for food!
- Matt recommends DF Studio for backup storage for your food photography.
- Why not give Matt a shout-out on Twitter or Instagram and say thanks for the Chopped Podcast interview
- I mention this book I recently read about called The Art of Work by Jeff Goins which talks about how to create your dream job.
- Matt uses a SunSeeker app on his phone to help him know exactly where the light is coming in.
- Matt mentions a favorite show Happy Valley which is now on my Netflix playlist!
- Today’s podcast was sponsored by Best Food Facts. If you have questions about the best way to cook your veggies, or maybe you want to read about the latest on controversial food topics, then head over to bestfoodfacts.org to learn more about all things food straight from university experts!
- Learn about future Chopped Podcast episodes by subscribing to the ChoppedCon newsletter. Just add your email in the subscribe section at the bottom of this page. You’ll be glad you did!
- Our next podcast interview is with Monique Volz of the blog Ambitious Kitchen. Monique and I talk about how to develop your brand as a food blogger. Monique has both a corporate background and experience with her own personal blog and consulting work with other bloggers on her belt so she has a lot of great advice to share. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss it!
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Thanks so much for listening to today’s podcast. I hope you found it informative and helpful to the work you do every day. Make sure you don’t miss out on any of the Chopped Podcast episodes by heading on over to iTunes to subscribe to the Chopped Podcast. While you’re there, provide a review and rating is a great way to help other podcast listeners find it too! That’s it for today’s podcast. As always, thanks so much for joining in the discussion!