Hey readers! I'm Lauren, the recipe creator and photographer behind the food blog Tastes Better From Scratch. I'm also proud to say I'm Alise's sister-in-law, and I'm excited she is letting me take over her amazing blog today!
I've always loved sharing and creating recipes with real ingredients, which led to the start of my blog. I am obviously a true believer that everything Tastes Better From Scratch! And not only does it taste better, it’s usually better for you, and less expensive! My blog is all about sharing easy, homemade meal ideas and recipes that the whole family will love!
Q: How do you balance preparing food for your family AND photographing food for your blog? What advice do you have for making this a smooth process?
I usually try and prepare dinner as much ahead of time as I can. If I can make it in the morning, that is ideal. That way I can take some simple photos of the food using good natural window light, and it makes my evening much less stressful when dinner is nearly ready! If I'm not able to prepare the entire meal ahead of time, I do what I can to make dinner go smoothly, like chopping vegetables and making sauces or dressings ahead of time. I am a planner when it comes to meals--that's what inspired the Weekly Meal Plans I share with my readers that include a free printable shopping list. The more organized you are, the more time you have to spend with your family!
Lauren's Food Photography Tips:
Know your camera settings: The biggest challenge for me when I first started my blog was making my food look good, through photography. I had an SLR camera but had no idea what I was doing. Lucky for me I've always had Alise around to give me tips and tricks to improve my photos. Several years ago she drew a little photography cheat sheet for me that has been a complete lifesaver and I was so excited to see her share the printable version of it here on her blog.
Good Lighting: Whether you have a professional camera or just use the camera on your phone, I would argue that good lighting is the most important element in taking good photos. Try to find good natural lighting streaming in through windows in your house. And keep in mind that the best lighting may not be in your kitchen or even in your living room.
Food Styling: My food photography style is pretty simple. I don't use a lot of props and most of my photos are close-ups of nothing but the food on the plate. Food Styling is something I've had to learn with practice. I try to think ahead about what my end dish will look like and what simple ingredients from the dish I could use as garnish to add a pop of color or an element of interest.
Some of my most popular recipes:
To see more of her recipes be sure to follow her on Instagram (@tastesbetterfromscratch) and like her on Facebook!
Today's Friday Feature highlights the first of many creative mom-bloggers! A portion of mommatography's audience include bloggers that search for tips to take better photos. I'm really excited to feature mom's that have successful blogs, along with highlighting photographers and other artists.
The lovely ladies over at Pretty Providence have got it going on. From beautiful DIY projects, fashion sense that doesn't break the bank, to delicious drinks and recipes, Pretty Providence is a great source to keep things fresh, frugal and fun. Let's get to know them and hear a few great tips to become a better blogger!
Hey friends! I am Jessica, half of the creative team behind www.prettyprovidence.com! I started Pretty Providence a little over four years ago with my good friend Sarah, because we wanted a place to share our thoughts and ideas with other like-minded people! We believe that you can still look good, eat well, have a great home and play a ton while living on a budget. We love sharing frugal recipes and DIY's and we are very blessed to be able to work from home and help provide for our families while doing what we love!
What are some tips for those pursuing blogging?
Blogging can be interesting in that it becomes easier to make money the longer you do it. The more quality content you have to promote and share, the more money you make and the less time you have to spend generating content (but don't worry, tons of new ideas creep up to fill all of your time)!
My tips for anyone starting out blogging are always the same: Put out great content on a consistent schedule, even if you think no one is reading.
Strive for bright, clear, photos.
Learn from and network with those who are succeeding around you.
Go to a class or conference, never stop trying to hone your skills. If you want to make money, you need to treat it like a real job.. aka: work, work, work.
My name is Andy Earl and I grew up here in the Wasatch. I work for Goal Zero managing content, social media, in-house photo and creative writing. I have been there about two years. My parents got us into skiing at a young age which started me on the path towards a bit of an obsession with the mountains. I met my wife, Neena, on the chairlift at Park City and we have been married for about five years. We had a little girl named Indira two years ago who was stillborn at full term and we now have an 8 month old little boy named Coen.
1. What led you to pursue photography?
I have always been into documenting things. It started with making snowboard videos in high school and then eventually led me to a degree in journalism. Photography was a way to support my writing but now it is kind of the other way around. I actually stole my wife's camera while we were dating and that kind of spurred all things photo for me.
2. What camera are you shooting with, and do you have a favorite lens?
I shoot a lot with the Canon 5D mark III and the 7D mark II. Man... favorite lens depends on what I am shooting. A lot of times, because I am doing long days in the mountains I have to make decisions on weight. Sometimes I can only afford to bring one lens and that usually is the most versatile, which for me is the f/2.8 24-70mm. I have also been really into the 14mm lately though. It is such a fun lens!
3. How do you prepare to shoot in varying outdoor conditions?
I always have a big lens cloth on hand to deal with moisture, but most of it is just trusting that my camera can handle some snow and rain. So far I haven't had a problem and I have shot in temps as low as -13°F, countless snow storms and a few rainy days.
4. What is your favorite subject to photograph?
I like shooting people who are pushing themselves to do really difficult things in really beautiful places. I think a little suffering in a beautiful place make for an awesome story to tell visually.
5. What are a few tips you might have for those wanting to shoot landscapes or outdoor lifestyle shots?
If you are on the move, keep your camera super handy. I carry mine in a chest pack typically, so I can capture moments and people as they happen rather than having to stage things.
Be willing to take your equipment to places that other people aren't. A photo becomes more important to you personally when you have a bit of a story, and maybe a little suffering, to go along with it.
Focus on the equipment you have rather than the equipment you don't. Sometimes it is really easy to think about a shot that I could get if I had brought a different lens, or this or that, rather than focusing on nailing the shot and moment I am in. You also never know what the weather is going to do; I had a moment up on Timpanogos last year where the clouds closed in and I thought the opportunity to take photos was over; turns out that the clouds made for some really unique photos.
6. When did you start sketching?
I have been into drawing my whole life. As a kid I would go through reams of paper and make giant crazy messes. I hadn't picked up a pen in a long time but I got inspired on afternoon to pick it back up. I kind of drew inspiration from a few artists like Renan Ozturk, Jim Harris and Jeremy Collins. I haven't really stopped drawing since.
It's Feature Friday! This has to be my favorite part of this blog. I love being able to associate with other artists who have so much to offer; I hope you can take something from them to help inspire you, whatever direction you might be heading. Today I have the privilege of sharing with you some great tips from an amazing friend of mine and a very talented photographer, Val Dahlin. Enjoy!!
Hi! I’m Val Dahlin! And I own Valory Jean Photography! I’m a mom of three wonderful and crazy girls and the wife of the greatest guy on earth! I grew up in Oregon, and moved to Utah after my husband and I were engaged, and we have lived here ever since. I have always loved photography, but didn’t start investigating it more until after I had my first baby. I wanted to take photos of her so that I could remember all the things that she did when she was little. I’m a terrible journal writer so photography was how I documented things. I realized that I loved it and decided to start taking photos of families and children. I had someone inquire with me about a wedding and I said yes (I honestly don’t know what I was thinking…but that’s how it all began). I have had my photography business now for 6 years. It has been a lot of hard work, but I love it so much.
Photographing weddings and families is my passion. I love all the good feelings surrounding a wedding. It’s an all day celebration of love! Who doesn’t want to be in an environment like that for a day? I love my wedding clients so much. I have made some amazing friends throughout the years who started out as clients.
I’ve recently started going to people’s homes to photograph their family. That has been so much fun! I know from personal experience that family picture day is the worst day of the year. Hahaha! It’s stressful getting everyone ready, getting yourself ready, keeping everyone happy and trying to keep the kids behaved. It’s a lot of hard work. I feel like if I photograph families in a familiar place and not worry about the posing and just focus on the family and kids and having fun, that it goes so much smoother and isn’t as stressful.
There are a lot of things I wish I had known or had taken more seriously when I first started my business. Here are a few things I wish I would have known when I first started.
The first thing is to know the business aspect of having a photography business. There is so much information that you need to have when doing so. You need a business license, pay quarterly sales tax, keep track of all your receipts and income, come up with contracts, and so much more! I couldn’t believe all the things I needed to do and keep track of to be a legitimate business.
Second, I would have invested in branding, instead of just creating a logo in Photoshop. Your brand says so much about you as a person and your photography. It is kind of like a first impression of you as a photographer. Graphic designers are able to help you create something specifically for you that reflects who you are. I’m still working on this and hoping to fine tune my brand to bring in my ideal client and for people to see who I am and what I can capture for them, even before they meet me.
Third, I would have second shot weddings for other photographers, before I ever shot one on my own. When you are a photographer at a wedding it is much different than being a guest. I shot a lot of weddings before I ever second shot with a more experienced photographer and it’s one of my biggest regrets. I think I would have been a better photographer faster if I had taken the time to shoot with other wedding photographers first.
This brings me to number four; how important my job as a wedding photographer really is. Yes, I make pretty photos and capture memories for my clients, and it helps take care of my family. But it’s so much more than that. These are the photos that your clients will show their children and grandchildren. These are the photos they will look to when a close family member passes away. It’s easy to get caught up in the day and moving things along and staying on track with their timeline, but always have in the back of your head, “What more can I capture from this moment? Are there things going on around me that they will want to remember? Is there a family member who needs special attention and time with the bride and groom?” Especially grandparents, parents and siblings. This is difficult to do sometimes, but it’s so important.
Lastly, I wish I had known about Lightroom!! Photoshop is great, and I still use it for some things. But Lightroom changed my life. Once I learned how to use it properly it cut down my post processing by half the time! That’s insane, when you are editing hundreds of photos from a wedding. It took me several years to figure out that I was spending way too much time in Photoshop. So start with Lightroom! You will be happy you did.