Debating between a smartphone vs dSLR? Need help with social media branding? Looking for photography inspiration? Here’s advice for aspiring food photographers from Thahmina Haseen, the food photographer, blogger and stylist behind The Golden Tiffin blog.
Thahmina will be hosting a food photography workshop with us on May 6. More details on the hands-on food photography workshop (and how to save your spot!) are here.
Thahmina, you first began by taking photos with your smartphone camera. Do you think it’s necessary to graduate to using an actual camera, like a dSLR? What are the biggest advantages or differences between the two?
I began by using a regular old camera phone and posting my pictures on Twitter. Even before the blog, I loved sharing what I’d made with the online community. I didn’t take myself too seriously (still don’t) as I wanted to be able to share things quickly with others.
Having a DSLR camera helps if you want to edit post production but with how fast phone technology has come, I don’t think it is completely necessary to blog. The iPhone 7 I hear has an amazing depth of field which makes pictures look really professional!
What’s been your favourite or most memorable food photo shoot or food styling project? Why?
The most fun food related shoot has to be the autumn vegetable curry I shot for Jaipur Journal. I’m not a huge meat eater but I can’t commit to calling myself a vegetarian either, so I found it fun to shoot something that isn’t very imaginative and find ways to renew the recipe. I used lots of fresh ingredients with punchy colours and I promise you, it tasted as good as it looked!
What advice do you have for people just getting started in food photography? What about for food styling?
Something I wish I’d been told earlier is to have a consistent theme or filter. It creates a more uniform look, especially on social media. For example, if your posts are colourful and you like contrast, have that theme throughout your blog or social media, or if you like them bright and overexposed, make sure you do that for all of your images. Branding goes beyond logos and websites- you want people to recognise your work the moment they see it because you have a signature “look”.
We always hear natural light is best for photographing food. What about in dimly lit restaurants, though? When should you use flash and when should it be avoided?
I would never recommend flash for food! The glare creates unnatural looking food and the background disappears. Even indoor lighting creates a strange warmth that distracts from delicious food. I would say the best thing is to find a big bright window where you can take your shots. Natural light always creates beautiful unstaged shots.
Your Instagram profile definitely has a consistent theme and styling. What other Instagram accounts do you follow for food photography inspiration?
There are so many that I think have great photography. Some of the ones I’m following right now are:
@foodfashionparty: Asha’s account is always lovely and vibrant. Her food market stalls tell beautiful stories of her childhood.
@mylittlecaketin: Tarunima’s sweet delicacies are always flamboyant and her clean theme with pops of colour make it a treat for the eyes too.
@reblondonfridge: Her pictures are the epitome of “hands in frame” shots.
@mixandmeasure: She has the not-so-accidental rustic food shot down to a T!
@londontastin: I love intense depth of field in food pictures. Joyce’s blurred out backgrounds make dishes seem dreamy!
Culinary demi-goddess and lover of all things food related. Thahmina started Golden Tiffin in 2014 as a way to combine her passion for feeding the masses and food photography. She has been featured by the Grewal Twins, Amal, and Two Brown Girls.