Photo Makeover: Roasted Beet & Farro Salad with Spinach & Caramelized Onions

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For the past year, I’ve practiced like crazy to improve my food photography.  My photos weren’t necessarily awful when I first started blogging – the artistic eye & ability to plate well has always been there but technically, I just wasn’t there yet.   With so many gorgeous food blogs out there, I wanted to make sure PGEW had the quality of the photos match the quality of the content.

After months of intense practice and crazy photo yoga poses that made me discover thigh muscles I never knew existed, I feel I’ve improved immensely.  I still have a long way to go, and though I have yet to take an actual photography class, I’ve made good use of books, online articles and phone apps to give me the info I need to translate the images in my head into actual mouthwatering photos.  I’ve conquered things like steak (brown food can be terribly unsexy), ice cream (a total bitch to photograph in the middle of summer) – even dimly lit restaurants are not as intimidating for me, now that I have a better understanding of my camera.

But one ingredient has kept me from feeling like I’ve conquered my biggest food photo demons.  It’s one that has given me problems in every single recipe I’ve used it in: the beet.

O, blessed beets in all their gorgeous jewel tones!  I adore them but photographing the standard purple ones has pretty much been disastrous for me.  All my beet recipes look like absolute hell, partly because I used to be intent on getting that shot no matter what (which I’ve stopped doing; quality vs. quantity, yo.  Quality always wins), partly because I usually use fresh beets I’ve roasted myself as opposed to the canned kind, the color of which is quite different.

But that shouldn’t be a reason to forever doom myself to a life sans fresh roasted beets (or a blog sans beet recipes), right?  Right!  So with some lovely ones from my last trip to the farmer’s market, I decided to resurrect an old favorite of mine to see if I could finally give it the photo shoot it deserved.  And I succeeded.  :D  (Though for some reason we still can’t make photos within the post not go through that weird skewing process; we’re working on it, though!)

Guess there really is something to the old adage, “Practice makes perfect”!   Check out the full recipe post here to give it a try.  It’s a good one!  :)

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singer. writer. artist. champagne taste, 2 buck chuck budget. good cook. kooky. chocoholic. patron saint of cats. talker. listener. thinker. sometimes to a fault.

3 Responses to "Photo Makeover: Roasted Beet & Farro Salad with Spinach & Caramelized Onions"

  1. sacstrawblnd says:

    Great job! Must admit, I’ve been a little jealous of your capabilities ever since I saw the shots from Restaurant Thirteen. I was gratified to see that the guy from Cowtown Eats felt the same way :) So, you’ve never taken any classes? That IS impressive.

  2. Kasey says:

    Have you tried Adobe Lightroom? It is the perfect program for photographers who are just starting out. It’s not as confusing as regular Photoshop, but you can still do almost all of the same things in an easier way.

    There should be a trial download on the Adobe website…

  3. Ryan says:

    Kim are you using a camera with manual settings? If you are, an easy way to make spectacular photos without expensive/fiddly lighting setups is with a long shutter speed (say 20 secs. or so), painting light onto the food with a small handheld torch. ( a mini mag-lite is perfect.) Experiment and you’ll see what I mean. Also, for pics taken in lots of natural light (like the ones above) try a wide open aperture like f2.8 – f4. Gives depth of field effects that look great with food photography.


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