Oh, food styling. This is a tough one. It comes easier for some than others, but it’s a skill I’m very much still working to develop.

Since we’re only in Cape Town for about a year and on a limited budget, I have very few tools for styling. I’m not going to invest in any surfaces or accessories here, as much as I want to. I did bring a few things with me, but I’m definitely looking for food styling that emphasizes simplicity. Once we’re home, I’ll start playing around more with different textures and backgrounds.

The tools that I brought with me include:
My camera: Nikon D200
Two lenses
About 5 placemats/fabric scraps

Our cupboards are wooden with a really nice stain and I’ve been trying to figure out how difficult it would be to take a cupboard door off so I could use it as a backdrop and put it back on before we leave. I think that idea will end up being a dead end, though.

One of my favorite ways to make photos prettier is to incorporate some of the ingredients I used. I have them on hand already, and they’re generally inexpensive. Now, putting it all together is what I’m working on. I tried hard with this method when shooting for my Raspberry and Coconut Clafoutis post.

I also made my very own reflector! I wrapped half an egg carton in foil, and it seriously works perfectly. It also stands up on it’s own, which is super helpful. The cardboard is slightly bendable so I can make it do whatever I want!

There are so many different styles of food photography that I admire. My first love and original inspiration to start a food blog was the incredible Pioneer Woman. You can’t not love her comfort-food style recipes and her photos are very eye catching. As much as I appreciate and strive for deliberate setups when I take pictures, I like her more candid style a lot, too. She has some serious skills with Photoshop and has been kind enough to share them on her blog. Exhibit A: her latest post, Blackberry Margaritas. My mouth is watering at these photos.

Another early source of inspiration was the blog Spoon Fork Bacon. I’ve always loved how fun and simple their blog is, and their layout has always been one I look to when thinking about my own. Their food photography is shot in that same vein:

Eva of Adventures in Cooking takes some of the most gorgeous photos I’ve seen, using dark backgrounds, deliberate lighting, and beautiful textures. Here’s a shot from her Mango Coconut Scones post. Which, by the way, sound incredible.

Lindsay and Bjork from Pinch of Yum have become a huge inspiration for me. Gorgeous food photography, delicious recipes, and an openness about the business side of their blog that’s really inspiring. Her Tasty Food Photography E-book is totally on my birthday list. I interviewed Lindsay on my last Growing My Blog post, which was incredibly informative. She inspired me to go vertical more often when taking pictures. A great food photography tip I learned from reading her posts was the “rule of three”. If you’re ever stuck when shooting your food, the easiest, safest way to break through that is to create three focal points. Like she did for this gorgeous Spicy Peanut Chicken Soba Noodle Salad:

Who are your biggest sources of inspiration for food photography? Do you have any food styling tips to share?