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Understanding Food for Photography

First off, I have to say that the feedback I received from my first write up was mind-blowing. I have decided to continue with this full time and I’m super excited to share more content with you. For everything on earth, there is a process and every process comes with a significant level of understanding. Food photography is very new in Nigeria and I’m so excited to see more Nigerians embrace it.

Read also: Food shocks, high energy cost to push prices higher in coming months

Today’s topic is very thought-provoking and I would like you to pay more attention to it. Every tribe in this world has dishes that appeal to them and they’ve cherished for thousands of years. For instance, Jollof Rice is an African ident that has garnered a wide range of acceptance within Africans at home and in the diaspora. Even the white men are curious to have a taste of Jollof Rice. When you google Jollof Rice, several photos tell the Jollof Rice story. A story in the sense that it is cooked, styled, and photographed differently for numerous purposes by different food bloggers and chefs that come from various regions in Africa. There’s always a message being passed whether it’s through a bright and airy theme or dark and moody. In the end, it’s all about conveying a simple message that speaks to the heart of the diner through eye-catching photography.

I have a lot of chef friends and I spend time in their kitchen whenever I am opportune. All the time, I’m staring at their hands and analyzing the situation in my head. If I get lost, I ask questions. I discovered that spending quality time with chefs helped my understanding of food. Food didn’t just become food. It became a series of activity if not well-paid attention to would be damaged. There are no two ways about it. It is either you know it or you don’t. Sadly, this is the hard truth. Interacting with professional chefs would help you avoid certain mistakes that could disrupt your food photo. Some are loaded with exceptional food styling skills that you can learn and it is free.

Food styling is easy when you understand food. For example, Jollof Rice (depending on how it is cooked) has colors that range from reddish-orange to tint yellow. Looking through color chats would broaden your horizon on how to pair colors of food with the right props and cutleries. Note that neutral colored props would always highlight the dish then garnish with the suitable garnish combo for an appetizing looking plate. Food styling is never a one-time discovery concept; it is a continuous skill that involves a lot of trial and error. This is me right now so don’t be overwhelmed.
Lastly, watch food shows on YouTube and Cable TV. They give you an exciting insight into how a dish is cooked and plated. Most times it’s always for a price so the competing chefs bring on their A-game. You can tap into their knowledge and incorporate it for your benefits.

Anjola Awosika and I love food. My love for food birth the idea to photograph it. I am self-taught, a graduate of YouTube. I started shooting food professionally in 2018. Since then, I have shot hundreds of dishes. Currently, I work as the official photographer for Livvy’s Twist Cake Company. Also, I have worked with notable chefs in Nigeria like Chef Fregz including SMEs in the food industry. Storytelling and creative innovation are my forte. I am passionate about the food industry in Africa and I want to be among the game changers. I live in Lagos, Nigeria.

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