We eat with our eyes…
Meet talented food photographer, Mireya.
There’s no doubt about it, there’s nothing that’s going to get your taste buds tingling like a lovely photograph of something delicious. People who buy through All About The Cooks will want to see great photos of the food they are buying. But we also recognised that the person who is creating the food is just as important – after all, it is All About The Cooks.
Choosing the right person to take pictures of our cooks and their food was really important to us at All About The Cooks. We set out to find a talented photographer who was as comfortable taking portraits of cooks at home in their own kitchens, as well as their incredible creations to ensure their pages looked wonderful on the website. We wanted someone who could teach our cooks how to take the best pictures they could themselves, and give them the confidence to experiment with their own photography in future.
Mireya’s top 5 tips for photographing your own food delights...
Find a nice source of diffused light that’s not too harsh. A natural lights source works best so close to a window usually works. But make sure you don’t have direct sunlight shining on to your plate!
Play with colours, but always consider the colour of the food first. For example, if you have a plate of food with turmeric in it, play with blues and oranges, maybe green (but not all three at once!) Remember, simplicity is key.
3. FOCUS ON THE FOOD
It might sound obvious, but make the food stand out. The food is the focus here, so even if you make your plate or backdrop look great, the food is the most important part of the image.
4. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS
Always come back to your routes. Trusting your own instinct and adding personal flair to your images makes your work truly authentic.
5. HAVE FUN
Just do it and have fun with it! Keep taking lots of photos. Ask family members what they think, compare photos and enjoy taking pictures.
It was a tough ask, but we feel confident that we found the perfect person for this in Mireya Gonzalez. Mireya’s genuine passion for food combined with our mission to make it easy for people to eat home-cooked food created the perfect match. Her gentle way puts our cooks at ease and has resulted in outstanding photography for our website and beyond. We have even been featured, along with Mireya’s incredible photography in the Sunday Telegraph.
Not only has Mireya been getting to know our cooks well from behind her camera lens, she has also been lucky enough to try some of the food from each of the cooks she has met and photographed (we’re not jealous or anything). After her home visits, we catch up about the pictures taken and conversations had, and how much we can learn about other people’s cultures and identities from the food they cook. Mireya has shared some great tips on how we can all get involved and take that insta-worthy food snap by just using a smartphone!
To see more of Mireya's Photography head over to her Instagram @foodphoto.bristol
What was it like photographing the cooks? Any best bits?
I really enjoyed it; it was a lot more enjoyable than I ever expected it to be. I think it’s so different when you actually go to someone else’s house, just the personal experience of them opening up their home and welcoming you in is so warming. I was overwhelmed with how accommodating they all were, and so happy to share their food with me which was lovely. I’d sent them all a list of things they should prepare before I came, and I was hugely impressed with how well prepared they all were. It shows that they all taking it seriously and are a lovely bunch of trustworthy cooks.
In terms of what I liked the most, All About The Cooks itself looks great and I can already see how people are going to be able to explore their origins and love for food through the dishes they cook. As soon as each cook started talking about their food, it was clear to see how passionate they are and how much they enjoy explaining the intricacies of their dishes and the ingredients they used. I found it contagious, and I went home after each visit feeling inspired and keen to cook something different and exciting. I’m from Chile but lived in Brazil for most of my life, and love cooking from these cuisines, as well as Indian and Mediterranean. The cooks I’ve met have inspired me to take flavours and spices from these different cuisines and integrate them into my own unique recipes.
Did you find they were all confident in presenting and photographing their own food in a way that will appeal to customers?
It helped that I visited their homes because I could tell they felt comfortable in their own environment doing what they love doing, it automatically gives them more confidence. They obviously all had different personalities; some were extremely open from the beginning and others less so, but at the end of the day we all really enjoyed ourselves having a bit of an experiment! Some of them were very confident in plating the food and some had a really good knowledge of how to photograph it too, it was really clear when they knew what they wanted to show through the photos. Other cooks had never thought specifically about shapes, reflections, light and shadows, but were still creating lovely looking dishes. I told each cook to plate their food the way they would normally, and then I would interfere in small ways, maybe tweak a few bits, choose a different bowl for example. As they will be taking their own pictures in the future to update their own pages on the website, I wanted them to take the lead from the beginning so I could see what ideas they had in mind.
Did they pick up your advice quickly, and do you think they would be able to confidently recreate your advice in their own homes?
Absolutely! I don’t like to complicate things, especially if they have to do it by themselves. They all learnt how to take simple and basic photographs that still look impressive and show off the best parts of their favourite dishes.
Where do you get the inspiration for your food photography?
I follow a lot of people on Instagram and love engaging with other people’s ideas but ultimately. I always trust my own eye. I’ve had a lot of experience with colours and light and shadow when working as an illustrator, and that’s what got me into photography in the first place. Most importantly, I always come back to my routes when I try to create something. There’s so much great stuff on the internet, and it’s easy to find inspiration, but I think it’s often all similar. If you want to create something that’s truly authentic, you have to always look inside your routes. Look at your personal background and what it is that makes your food unique and try and highlight those things.
The pandemic got lots of people heading into the kitchen for the first time..and helped us discover great home-cooking talent.