There are not many books on food photography and food styling. There are few food photography and styling resources available online, most of it very basic and superficial. But even with incomplete and basic information on food photography, some swimming against the current and improve their food photography skills and become one of the few prominent artists. In this post, we bring you a story of one person who started learning food photography from scratch and became, in my opinion, one of the well-known food photo bloggers to watch.
Let’s Welcome Meeta Khurana
Meeta K is a well known food blogger who blogs at What’s For Lunch Honey. She has been blogging for more than 4 years. In Feb 2009, her blog was awarded, Times Online’s 50 best food photo blogs. Meeta is speaking about food photography and styling at the upcoming Food Blogger Conference along with Mowie Kay (read more about Mowie) and Béa from La Tartine Gourmande
I had a wonderful opportunity to ask few questions to Meeta about food photography. What follows below is the first part of my interview with Meeta. Second part will be published soon. In this interview Meeta tells us her story about how she got into food photography and gives us tips to improve your food photos. Get to know her
Let’s begin the interview…
Tell us about yourself?
I was born in the bustling city of Bombay back in 1972. As my father is an hotelier and was working for the Oberoi chains at that time I was almost delivered in our suite at the Oberoi Towers in Bombay! My father has worked in renowned hotel chains for most of his life and that’s what injected the hotelier’s blood into my veins. This hotel lifestyle enabled me to travel the world, get close to many cultures, learn a few languages and experience many great adventures. Knowing only a hotel life, I decided to follow my dad’s footsteps and studied Hotel Management. I trained in one of the finest luxury hotels of this world in Doha, Qatar and that is when I discovered the wonderful world of food. However, it wasn’t till much later that I got obsessed with food. Not so much the eating it but more the cooking it. When I started my blog in 2006 it was then that I was introduced to a whole new aspect of food – food photography.
I now have settled down in Germany, with the two men I adore, Tom my loving partner for almost 12 years and Soeren my adorable son of 7 years. Hotels are not a part of my life in Germany. After graduating I came to Germany and worked in an advertising firm, an architecture and design firm and a couple of software firms. Don’t ask how that came about – it just happened.
We are now in Weimar and I currently work at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar at a research institute for PHD students. I basically plan and organize different types of events, workshops, seminars, exhibitions and work as a coordinator between our PHD students and other partner universities worldwide organizing research programs between the students and professors. I also look after the finances and HR business of the institute and when required also do some translation work. It’s a great job, flexible with a wide range of different tasks. It never gets boring.
How did you get into food photography and styling?
I discovered food photography and styling when I first began my food blog back in 2006. It was an eye opener because when I started blogging it was basically to archive and digitalize recipes I had collected over the years from my family and my own experiments. As I began getting comments, I realized there was a whole food community out there. I am ambitious by nature and hate stagnating, so I was constantly pushing myself to develop my skills further. I think my blog documents my progress perfectly. Over the past four years I have taught myself everything I know about food photography and styling, developing my style to create tempting food images (hopefully everyone is being tempted by them). My perspective on food photography and styling is unconventional and I sometimes break the conventional rules to capture the perfect shot.
What type of training do you have (course, self-study etc.) and how did you get it?
I did not get any professional training. Everything is self-learned. I have read many books and articles on the internet and in magazines. I analyze and scrutinize photographs from my favorite food photographers – amateurs as well as professionals. I then go to my camera, give it a rub of affection and simply start realizing what I learned but in my own way. I tend to break a few rules, as I mentioned above, and sometimes I get the perfect results I was looking for, but many a times do not – or at least I am not pleased with the results. I then go back and read, re-read and think about what I was not happy about and try again. Like anything in life practice makes perfect and I am by no means perfect but try very hard to reach my goals.
How (and where) does your inspiration come from?
Anything with a picture of food on it! Seriously! If a picture appeals to me I will save it or cut it out and file it. I then simply look at it for several minutes and analyze every corner of it. Then I try to imagine how I would execute the same feeling. I think it’s the feeling and atmosphere that attracts me the most to a photograph not the style. I am true to my own style, but it’s the feeling the photograph evokes in a person that sends the powerful message across to the viewer. In terms of photography that can be done for example with the help of lighting, the styling, the focus or the angle. All these are some of the aspects of an image that sends the right (or the wrong) message to the viewer. In my opinion, copying someone else’s style is easy and it’s got nothing to do with inspiration. However, I take my source of inspiration (from a magazine, cookbook or another photographer) and try to analyze the atmosphere, feeling and message as I interpret it, then I try to put that feeling and combine it with my style to realize it in a totally different image. It’s a lot more work and probably requires more creativity than simply copying the style of another photographer, but then that is really where the fun and passion of food photography lies for me.
Thank You Meeta!
Meeta, thank you for taking time for this interview.
People, say Hello to Meeta on twitter @MeetaWFLH and tell her how you liked this interview or please leave her a comment below. I am sure she would like your feedback on the interview.
In our second part, learn about why backgrounds are important and how they impact your photographs.
Photos used in this post are copyright property of Meeta K. Please contact her for usage and permissions.