Sep 4, 2010

Pedicure Faux Pas. Food Photography.

In theory, Saturdays are great days in which to complete assignments.  You know those pesky things you've had a whole year to complete but somehow, the real progress gets made in the 2 weeks before the due date?

Welcome to my world.  It was miserable weather outside, Mr SSG had done all the housework before leaving for the airport and well, I didn't have much else to do but Sit Down and Write That Paper.

Things went well for around 3 hours.  Then I got cabin fever.  I needed fresh air and a break.  Clearly, a pedicure was in order.  Why not go for a walk down the road, get a pedicure and a coffee and return home clear headed and ready to write a Nobel Laureate worthy, fully referenced discussion section to my paper?

It was a great plan.  I even had the nail polish picked out from my considerable stash.  Okay, it looks like a hideous maroon from the early 80s in this photo, but it actually comes out that Vamp colour back in the day when Chanel first released it and had it made in homage to Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction.  That was truly back in the day.  Uma was with Ethan Hawke and Elle Macpherson was with Arky surname beginning with B.  I think Uma is now with Arky surname beginning with B and well, Elle was in Sydney Confidential today doing a swimsuit spread at the age of 47 and with 'minimal photo editing' in the words of her photographer.  Possibly not the best photo to be looking at whilst eating thick cut raising toast with heaps of cinnamon sugar for breakfast.

The offending, non OPI nail polish.
The excursion was a success, eventually.  Readers, I committed Nail Spa Heresy.  I brought a non OPI nail polish to a Nail Spa.  Not only was it non OPI, it was also old and claggy.  It did not Amuse my pedicurist.  We managed to find the OPI substitute and order was restored.  Safe to say I'll not be making that mistake again.  Must go and buy OPI shades to bring to next pedicure (was that the right conclusion or was it 'don't buy more nail polish, just use what is on offer at the salon'?).

Pedicure with an OPI nail polish.  I think it's called, I'm Going Burgundy Stuck Indoors Trying To Negotiate Track Changes In A Word Document.

After tapping out a few inspired paragraphs, it was time to go to my Food Photography class at The Essential Ingredient, Rozelle.  With my new pedicure hidden under boots (worn due to the rain), I ventured out into the grey skies with my trust camera in tow.

I love Essential Ingredient.  It is always a source of culinary inspiration and it's on the quiet bit of Darling St in Rozelle.  I arrived a little early and had a bit of a browse.

Cooking alcohol, who would have thought it?

I wonder why.....

I like that the cooking vodka looks so innocuous and pedestrian in a sensible plastic pouring jar.  It could almost be mistaken for the honey.  

This is just what I need for Penne ala Vodka.  Shame I'm not a Trade Customer.

Class was hard core.  Our teacher was Dario Milano, chef and food photographer.

I had to revise some basic photography principles.  Make that learn in the first place.
The kitchen classroom at The Essential Ingredient.  Note the iPad.   They're not just extra large iPhones, they're a teaching tool.  I'm trying hard to wait for version 2 next year....

We started with a discussion around all the equipment you need before even getting anywhere near food with your camera.  Light sources, flash, tripods, umbrellas, light reflectors.  The work that goes into creating just one image I flick past when I read donna hay...

The aim of today's class was to take us through a food styling shoot.  Our theme was cheese.

Props are essential to styling that perfect shot.  But they need to be relevant to the food being photographed.

Together, we set up the scene, debating colours, shapes, heights.

We finally came up with a scene that had enough interest and contrast of colours to be interesting yet 'real' in the way only food photography can be in portraying food.  It's a parallel universe of real looking, edible food positioned amongst  highly styled utensils and dining ware.  And I love food photography for this.

Not the best shot but we took these photos in a dark room with reflectors and an external light source.  The final photo looked like it was shot in natural daylight.

Did you hear the one about the tomato and the tub of vaseline?

After the tomato got out of the vaseline tub, it got sprayed in water and photographed so well it looked as if it had just been plucked.

It was a pretty tiring but educational 3 hours.

Afternoon tea!  Meringue-y biscuits with hazelnuts.

Oh, I realized that one of the major crimes of would be, sometime food bloggers like myself is not adjusting the white balance when taking food photos in restaurants.  I am chastened and will remember to adjust for this on my next expedition.


  1. Nice food shots and oh my that pouring vodka made me giggle. :)

  2. I have been shouted at my a manicurist. Seriously. You got off easy. :oP

    And that giant jug of pouring vodka... Oh my, if I had of known that existed while I was in Uni, Holy! THAT would have been messy. Hahaha.

  3. Whatever the name, whatever the brand, I love the color of the polish:).

  4. Hey! It was good to see you again today! Maria x

  5. Love the pedi! I take my own polish all the time but usually I do take OPI! Love the food snaps- vaseline- who knew?


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