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A Little Weekend News Bulletin…


Let’s start with some administrative fun stuff: the winner of Carrie’s cookbook is Susie from Return To Sunday Supper a brand new blogger on the food blogging scene. Congratulations! Email me your snail mail address at mytartelette {at} gmail {dot} com and I will drop the book in the mail.

And now on to more fun things brewing….

Tart & Ice Cream

Until recently I was not sure what authors meant by "writing is a solitary process". As I am nearing the end of writing the manuscript for Foodography, I completely get it. I am never alone when I write. Bailey is snoring by my side on the couch and Tippy is somewhere sleeping in a corner dreaming he’s chasing after a squirrel. The day is often punctuated by from my mother who wants to make sure I am taking all my vitamins and my husband who often sends me notes of support. So yes, I am not lonely. But it’s just me and my thoughts.


The best place to write is really in the photo studio, filled with gorgeous and abundant natural light, my equipment, familiar props and linens, inspiration boards and favorite quotes. So far I have not experienced any writer’s block. I am way too excited and grateful to be given the chance to share information and tips with you. I have kept all the email questions you sent on natural light, artificial light, composition, workflow and started answering your most frequent problems that way.

Pots Pie

This book is really for you and as I am writing a couple of chapters on styling and composition, I thought they would be the perfect ones to have you participate some. Have you ever struggled with styling sandwiches? Beef pot pies maybe? How about handling ice cream for a beauty shot? Is it plating table sets that causes grief?

I am all ears! There’s plenty of time and pages left in those chapters for me to include one of your most dreaded things to style and shoot. Yes! Go ahead and tell me what type of food you would like me to tackle! I will tabulate all the answers and pick one at random to cook, style and shoot. The person’s whose suggestion is picked will receive a free copy of Foodography as soon as it is released in May!

Don’t be shy…!


Finally I want to live you with this book teaser video that my dear friend Taylor from Taylor Takes A Taste, shot last week when he came to visit. He came to help me take shots of us taking shots, light set ups, etc..before driving us both to the Food Blog South conference that took place in Birmingham last weekend (you can read his recap here). He took his visit as an opportunity to practice even more his already excellent video skills. Thanks Taylor!

Have a great weekend!

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SteamyKitchen January 29, 2011 um 7:07 pm

I absolutely love the video! beautiful, elegant.

Lael Hazan @educatedpalate January 29, 2011 um 7:08 pm

A lovely post and please let Taylor Mathis know how much I appreciated his beautiful video.

I haven't quite made good friends with my camera yet, although I can finally say we've become acquaintances. However, I hope you can assist in dealing with a problem that I know will arise.

Our family's focus is on the food itself, the flavors and the textures. Presentation has always been secondary, and I am only starting to learn about photography. Great photography, like yours, takes time and presentation. If we are making food for our family, we intend to eat it. Taking the time to photograph it properly makes the food become cold. What suggestions do you have for those of us who enjoy writing about food, who would like our photos to become beautiful, but who also want to enjoy good meals?

Scarletta @ Scarletta Bakes January 29, 2011 um 7:13 pm

Helene, I really struggle with photographing items that have a 'shiny' surface (like a glazed doughnut) and items that have a heterogeneous or mottled surface (like bread covered with seeds). Can you please offer any tips? Thank you!

Natalie January 29, 2011 um 7:21 pm

I'm so excited for your book to come out! I think meatloaf is probably the most homely and hardest to beautify! Good luck on the home stretch 🙂

[email protected]

Sarah January 29, 2011 um 7:41 pm

Wonderful that your book will soon be published, I am a great fan of your work. The hardest thing for me to style are foods with unappetizing colors- like soupy stewed greens (Persian style)

Helene January 29, 2011 um 7:47 pm

Lael: I think it's a question of organization. All the food I shoot is eaten and eaten at its designated temperature. Nothing I photograph takes longer than 10 minutes unless it's for a cookbook. I start composing as I cook so when it's ready all I have to do is put things together on the table. We eat our food warm too you know!!

Patsyk January 29, 2011 um 7:54 pm

I think photographing soup has to be one of my biggest challenges… it never looks interesting enough to share. The soup my be the most satisfying thing I have made, but it doesn't look like it in photos. Would love tips on how to improve on photographing it!

Nina Timm January 29, 2011 um 8:00 pm

Styling is such a personal thing, but you do have a nick for it. I struggle to almost de-construct the food for the styling….I don't know if you know what I mean!!

Anna ♥ Sugarized January 29, 2011 um 8:05 pm

I love the video on this post! I can't believe how meticulous the preparation is for photographing food! 🙂 Now I'm excited to have your book! That would be a lot of help. 🙂

Sanda Vuckovic Pagaimo January 29, 2011 um 8:06 pm

Yann Tiersen music match perfectly with video..great!!!I preordered book like 1 month ago:-),cant wait to get it!!

A Plum By Any Other Name January 29, 2011 um 8:07 pm

Gorgeous, inspiring photos! As for my tricky food photos … celery root puree comes to mind. Or other creamy pureed soups. Other than trying to punch them up with herbs, I am at a loss.

A Plum By Any Other Name January 29, 2011 um 8:07 pm

Gorgeous, inspiring photos! As for my tricky food photos … celery root puree comes to mind. Or other creamy pureed soups. Other than trying to punch them up with herbs, I am at a loss.

Allison Mannella January 29, 2011 um 8:33 pm

Helene: I am so excited to see your book – your words and photographs are a constant source of inspiration to me.

I struggle the most with shooting ice cream. I style the shot before I remove the ice cream from the freezer, but am still rarely happy with the shot before the ice cream starts to melt. I would love to know your process of shooting beautiful shots of this frozen treat.

Congratulations on your book!

Artemis Tsipi January 29, 2011 um 8:55 pm

Atmospheric video with nice aesthetics.
I'm looking forward to Foodography!
Soups is a really difficult issue to deal -I try hard to keep on the surface any kind of floating ingredients (yoghurt, chives etc)…

tj January 29, 2011 um 9:00 pm

…Congratulations on your book! I so loved the video and the beautiful music – it actually gave me goosebumps!

…I wished I was younger as I would pursue a career in food photography. I love the attention to detail, the artistic nature, the finished product.

…Enjoy your weekend!

…Blessings… :o)

Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen January 29, 2011 um 9:20 pm

I love your photos! I have trouble with sandwiches of course and pasta with cream sauce, it never looks appealing!

The Cutting Edge of Ordinary January 29, 2011 um 9:26 pm

Gorgeous! You blog has always beenan inspiration to me. I can't wait for the book! I would love for you to tackle…PIE!

Benny January 29, 2011 um 9:27 pm

amazing pictures!!

LoveandConfections January 29, 2011 um 10:11 pm

Love the video and cannot wait for the book to come out!

I have the most problem trying to figure out new ways on how to photograph the individual components (i.e. honey, spices, etc.) that make up the complete dish. I want to give life to the ordinary ingredients and not just have them laying on a plate or in a jar.

Best of luck on the rest of the book!

Love & Confections!

Julia Brasileiro January 29, 2011 um 10:12 pm

Hey Helen!!
first, congratulations the book.
now with the food, well, I don't know how to photogrph Chilli, could you give me a hand?

Patricia Scarpin January 29, 2011 um 10:13 pm

That book, besides being wonderful, will be so useful, Helen! You can be sure one copy of it will be flying to Sao Paulo. 😉

I would love to have tips about styling food that doesn't "look" so beautiful, like stews, curry, etc.


GALaxy January 29, 2011 um 10:20 pm

Yes! All of those! But most recently, I'd been trying to take a picture of a Greek souvlaki pita, and I ended up settling for a sorta decent shot (when compared to the others) after three months of trying.
So looking forward to your book! It's really hard to find information on food styling and composition, and I'm so keen to learn.

Winnie January 29, 2011 um 10:57 pm

All I can say is wow. Love the video- so beautiful to see you in action, and really can't wait for the release of your book 🙂

Andrea January 29, 2011 um 11:00 pm

Hi Helene,
I am excited for your book! Can't wait.
I think the toughest times I have had are trying to shoot meat. One shoot in particular- a hamburger. It just looked not very appealing. Brown lumpy surface. I've had the same issue with steak. So meat it is.
Thanks so much for your work-

thecoffeebreak January 29, 2011 um 11:08 pm

Helen your photos are truly an inspiration to me. I could look at them for hours 🙂

I have problems with taking photos of glasses or cups, any tips? And sandwiches are not looking so good as well… Thanks!

Caroline January 29, 2011 um 11:23 pm

Congrats! I tend to encounter problems with food that is monochromatic – something like 40 clove chicken with a white wine sauce. Sure, you can put it on a pretty plate, but then I'm looking at the plate, not focusing on the food – isn't that the important part??

Chef January 30, 2011 um 12:27 am

Gorgeous video- can't wait to buy your book Helene!

amherstrose January 30, 2011 um 1:09 am

You must be so excited about the book. Congratulations and the video was so well done.

Photos of tiered tea trays with assorted tea treats always give me fits. Any advice would be most appreciated.

Hannah January 30, 2011 um 1:33 am

Helen, you are perhaps one of the few people who could help me on this one: Lasagna. How on earth do you make it look like anything other than a messy explosion of noodles and sauce?

So very excited for your book!

felicitas January 30, 2011 um 1:50 am

What a neat idea! You're book looks so wonderful! I can't wait to dig into it (can you dig into a book?! I'll find a way).
One thing I just couldn't nail in the photo part of my kitchen adventures would have to be pictures of the process.. angles of that pot or mixing bowl full of scrummy tasting but unappealing looking pancake mix, pasta sauce, stirfry or casseroll.. they always turn out looking so darn awkward or tacky with the sheen of metal. Any hints?

erica January 30, 2011 um 2:06 am

I am such a fan of your photography! I would love to get your thoughts on how to make long pasta like spaghetti/linguine/cappelini/fettucine plate nicely, whether there there are chunks of other ingredients with the pasta or not. All the best!

Regina January 30, 2011 um 2:56 am

That video is lovely very elegant. I'd really love to learn how to shoot Pork, sauerkraut and mashed potatoes. It is a Pennsylvania Dutch New Year traditional meal and while it is delicious, and super easy to make its not exactly the prettiest dish, no color to speak of.
I can't wait until the book comes out in May. Congratulations!

Natalie January 30, 2011 um 3:07 am

Oops! I'm afraid I put my comment on the wrong post, sorry!
Anyway… It's a lovely video and very helpful. Your photos are always gorgeous, and now we can see some of the details that go into them!

Shoshana January 30, 2011 um 3:12 am

I am eagerly waiting for your book! The thing I have trouble with shooting are chocolates (molded, dipped etc). With so much brown the shots always seem flat and boring.

Sticky Penguin January 30, 2011 um 4:08 am

I'm definitely looking forward to the book – as a beginning food blogger, the photos are cause for much gnashing of teeth! My pet difficulty is "brown food", especially of a baked variety. I bake a lot of different types of brownies, and find that presenting them so they don't look like just the same thing over and over can be a real challenge. As well as how to take a beautiful shot of a brown square! Would love to know how to improve (for now, lots more practice is in order…)

Swee San January 30, 2011 um 4:17 am

Asian stir fry and chocolate cakes. it always seems like a pile of mess.

Leah January 30, 2011 um 4:22 am

I can't make chicken quarters look good. a whole chicken is fine, but when I try chicken bottoms or chicken drumsticks I'm at a loss. I tried googling for photos of chicken pieces but I have yet to see amazing shots of this. If anyone has a nice photo, please show me a link

Gosia January 30, 2011 um 4:43 am

It's so inspiring to know that you actually have fun with the huge project like writing a cookbook. The video is amazing, airy and filled with light – I adored every take.
Now, to the challenge. I bake artisan breads. They are gorgeous as they come out of the oven, but shooting them is tad difficult with their uniform color of orange and brown that can so easily take over the tone and overpower the scene. What original props besides the usual linens, cutting boards, and burnt parchment would you consider for the shot? And the last question, what in your opinion, is the most complementing color palette to the said yellows-oranges-browns that breads impose? Thank you for considering to answer these questions. I would utterly enjoy the copy of the Foodography edition.

notyet100 January 30, 2011 um 4:45 am

looking forward for ur book
most difficult thing to shoot for me juice,smoothies,shake,will be glad if u share something on this,.

marla January 30, 2011 um 4:59 am

Taylor did such a great job on that video. I saw a gal above comment that meatloaf is tricky to shoot, i'll double dog dare you to take that one on.
Watching you work in that video is so inspirational & very beautiful!

Rachel January 30, 2011 um 5:24 am

I was so excited to find your blog when I was looking for recipes for lemon custards (I modified the chamomile/lemon pots de creme to be lavender/lemon – delicious!). Your food styling is enviable.


Angela January 30, 2011 um 5:37 am

Gosh what a beautiful video. Everything about it is just breathtaking!
I loved seeing the attention to detail that you have for your photograhy. It is so inspiring for a beginner like me.

keri wong January 30, 2011 um 8:10 am

i'm not great at styling food yet and i still have a simple digital camera, but i found that photographing fresh fruit, especially bananas, and chopped herbs are difficult because they wilt.

"pose"gourmande January 30, 2011 um 10:08 am

sympa cette petite video! et photos magnifiques!

Amy January 30, 2011 um 10:11 am

Love your photography as usual. And Taylor did an excellent job on this video! I love it. Really look forward to getting a copy of your book! 🙂

Sally January 30, 2011 um 1:41 pm

Wonderful video. Am so excited for this book! and I love seeing how meticulously you set up the soup photo. I hope you will talk a bit about lenses and camera angles in your book. Thanks for sharing the beauty.

Unknown January 30, 2011 um 1:42 pm

I just wanted to say that I really love the photo of the stuffed round zucchini. Is that what they call a toybox squash? It looks absolutely delicious!

I'm not a professional photographer or food stylist by any means, but I would love to learn more about what types of serving dishes work best for photography – which colors, patterns vs solids, etc, and maybe even a bit about background compositions. I always notice how the backgrounds in your photos make the food pop.

Michelle January 30, 2011 um 1:56 pm

Hi Helen, I love your blog and has constantly been trying out recipes for the past two-three years. Must say that I enjoyed alot of the desserts you prepare! I can't wait to get the book when it is launched.

I would love for you to include tips on how to style simple everyday foods – think the plain ol' chocolate chip cookies (so many recipes out there!) or muffins. It's these stuff that I bake most frequently, and after a while, it's like the styling gets a tad stale. Are there any tips on making the same everyday food look different and not repetitive?

Sally – My Custard Pie January 30, 2011 um 2:17 pm

Well you just answered one of my questions in the video – how do you wipe the inevitable tide marks you get round the rim of a soup bowl? Answer: with a cotton bud. Can't wait for the book to come out. I suppose my main question is – how do you make less photogenic food (like stews and casseroles) look appealling?

shaz January 30, 2011 um 2:28 pm

I cannot wait for your book! I struggle with trying to work out what's good light, and also trying to photograph "brown" food and savoury saucy foods. It ends up looking not all that appetising.

bunkycooks January 30, 2011 um 2:38 pm

I loved the video that Taylor did and cannot wait to see your book!

I find that soups and stews are particularly tough to style and shoot, but the worst has to be meats and chicken. How can I make a short rib look or a piece of pork? I think those are nearly impossible.


Nicole January 30, 2011 um 2:47 pm

Beautiful video! I love seeing how other photographers shoot and compose a photo.

Julie Hwang January 30, 2011 um 3:06 pm

Congratulations on your book!

I recently attempted to photograph ingredients used in baking (e.g., milk, sugar, vanilla, chocolate, eggs, measuring spoons, flour, and cocoa powder). I am not sure how I should place the items on the table in order to get all the ingredients in one frame. I probably took over 300 shots and was dissatisfied with each.

Helene January 30, 2011 um 3:11 pm

Some short answers because I know I would end up writing the content of the book and I plan to do more in depth demos to accompany the book release. 270 pages are filled up fast and there is nothing like hands on… but in the meantime:

Gosia: do a quick Google search for "color wheel" and look at complimentary and opposite colors. Oranges and browns pair very well with shades of blue. In my pics where there is orange, there is always a hit of blue. Does not have to be a lot but enough to divert the eye. A blue napkin, a glass, a plate, etc…

Chaptstick fanatic: there is a whole chapter on artificial light targeting all sorts of budgets, spaces, timings, etc…I hope you will find something that works for you. In the meantime and for a very cheap and quick fix, have you ever thought about getting a fluorescent Lowel Ego bulb? Not the whole light, just the bulb, that you fix on one of your existing lamp with an opaque lampshade to diffuse the light? Then take your camera white balance to tungsteen or fluorescent to take down the yellows and oranges and get more neutral and cooler colors. Do not direct the light right at your food but place it to the side and a white cardboard to the other side. Hope that helps you a bit.

Michelle: unfortunately, there is not much a stylist can do for that, that really falls down in the creative space of composing. I remember struggling with cookies and ended up buying a single themed cookbook on them with great pictures. Just looking at those unlocked some of my creative blocks.

Sally: yes, there is a whole chapter on camera modes, settings, focal length, and another one on composing with camera view points, etc…

Thanks you guys for your questions!

Helene January 30, 2011 um 3:14 pm

Julie: I think that's more a question of composing than styling. What type of lens do you use? a 50mm and wider angle lenses will let you incorporate more ingredients in one shot. Do you shoot overhead or straight on? Overhead with a wide lens will give you more space to work with.

Kitchen M January 30, 2011 um 4:09 pm

This is not exactly a food, but do you have tips on how to shop props on the budget? For bloggers who aren't doing blogs for the money or not creating enough revenue, it could be challenging to spend a lot of money on buying plates, cups, utensils, etc. It also creates the storage problem, too.

jessicajlee January 30, 2011 um 4:12 pm

I've often had problem styling photos for things like soups, stews, or curries. Just because they often end up looking a bit, well, sloppy – this may be down to plates, bowls, accessories, but tips would be great!

I'm also in the midst of writing a book right now and am definitely having to give myself an extra boost of social-stuff when I'm free – it's a pretty lonely process!

Melissa January 30, 2011 um 4:19 pm

the video is great – Taylor did a great job!

My question is pie. Not a quiche or cheesecake that's got a good solid from when you cut it. More like a messy fruit pie like blueberry or cherry. Do you have tips for getting it to keep some shape? Or do you just embrace the messiness?

Sips and Spoonfuls January 30, 2011 um 4:35 pm

I simply cannot wait for your book to release. I have so many questions that my mind is currently blank. One I can think about is white balance issues- what setting to use on the camera? Would you use daylight setting or custom setting? And perhaps a little bit about post processing techniques! Thanks so much! Oh can I add one more- perhaps not as much to do with photography but how does one get into it ''professionally?'' Thanks once again!


Pei-Lin January 30, 2011 um 4:45 pm

Helene, I'm just dropping to tell you I couldn't agree more with you on that "writing is a solitary process," solitary in the sense that just me and my thoughts and those surrounding me seem to be of non-existence. Seriously, that's what that happens to me whenever I write. However, I do have writer's block, a lot, since I writer for a living.

Keep up with the good work!

Barbara | VinoLuciStyle January 30, 2011 um 5:12 pm

I've already preordered your book on Amazon so winning it is not a big deal, but guess I could and have my own contest!

I struggle with brown liquid items. Soups, stews and the like. I love lentil soup but have yet to make it for the blog because it looks like mud! I would love to see how you work with that; assuming some color in the props but still…you are the pro!

Anonymous January 30, 2011 um 5:24 pm

Your work is amazing! I'm photography challenged anyway, but as I try to share pictures on my blog I've found it very difficult to take pictures of one-dish meals. Whether I make them in one bigger dish or smaller, individual size ones I find it hard to capture the whole idea of the dish in one shot.

Helene January 30, 2011 um 5:32 pm

Lick My Spoon: yes, all these points will be covered in dept in the book. Re-WB, it depends of what light circumstances I am in. Today, I want to give people the chance to tell me what styling issue they have. Processing is covered too but remember that this is a highly personal preference.

Kitchen M: we are on a budget too! I shop ebay, amazon, etsy, World Market, Goodwill and small vintage stores around the house. I am able to find great deals that way! Get yards of fabric you like instead of napkins and tablecloths. Look outside the box, votive candle plates make great dessert plates because they are small and usually cheaper. Shop the sales for non-timely china like bistro whites and such… I don't have tons (agreed more than average) but I refuse to pay full price too 🙂

Pei-Lin: I do also write for a living but I think the subject matters are what causes writers block. Recipes or techniques are different than fiction I am sure!

Mary January 30, 2011 um 5:58 pm

I have a hard time photographing desserts that are in glass containers, such as verrines. It is a styling problem, but also I get glare sometimes too. Souffles are tricky–they are one of my favourite things, but I have a hard time getting any good photos before they fall. Am so looking forward to your book.

Kate January 30, 2011 um 7:07 pm

It's ironic that the video featured you styling soup, since that's what I seem to be struggling to style and shoot the most. And other things with a relatively flat (and boring) surface, like some tarts or flat cookies. I am really looking forward to your book!

Jenn January 30, 2011 um 7:47 pm

I cannot wait for your book! I would love to learn more about styling pizza. I always have the most trouble with it, maybe because it's so flat, but it's hard for me not to take the same pic each time I make a new pizza….

Gen January 30, 2011 um 9:15 pm

Moi aussi j'ai tellement hâte de découvrir le livre!
Quelque chose qui serait utile je pense et en tout cas appréciable pour les yeux, ça serait des conseils en matière de décoration et d'agencement de la photographie. Un peu des idées pour "garnir" l'image et pour mettre le plat en valeur!

Laura January 30, 2011 um 9:36 pm

So excited for this to come out! The video trailer looks great… Glad to get a little taste of what is to come!

Bea January 30, 2011 um 9:47 pm

J'attends impatiemment ton livre! Je l'ai déjà en pré-commande sur Amazon 🙂
J'ai encore tellement de choses à apprendre sur la photo culinaire! Malheureusement la lumière n'est pas vraiment très bonne chez moi (enfin là où je peux photographier), mais je fais ce que je peux.
J'ai beaucoup aimé regarder la vidéo, je vois que je ne suis pas la seule à utiliser les cotons-tiges 😉

PS. Tout à fait hors sujet – je ne sais pas pourquoi mais ton nouveau RSS ne marche pas chez moi 🙁 Je ne reçoit plus d'informations automatiques sur la publication de nouveaux postes 🙁
Aurais-tu une idée pourquoi?

The InTolerant Chef ™ January 30, 2011 um 10:05 pm

I think soup is very difficult to photograph as is something like a casserole/stew. The colour sort of meld together and the surface is shiny. Any tips would be wonderful. I enjoyed the vedeo of a shoot all coming together.

Laura January 30, 2011 um 10:12 pm

I would love to hear about photographing soups that have been puréed – they're not all that attractive in real life, and in the photo they usually come out as mush. Do you put a spoon? Sprinkle it with things? And sometimes it reflects light weirdly… anyhow, your soups look gorgeous, so any insight would be great!

Return to Sunday Supper℠ January 30, 2011 um 10:19 pm

I just had a chance to visit your blog today to find that I had won the cookbook! I really look forward to receiving it, not only for the recipes, but to enjoy all of your beautiful photography! What a wonderful thrill for a new blogger like me to win a cookbook shot by one of my favorite bloggers.

Mikki January 30, 2011 um 10:31 pm

wonderful video and photography as usual. I would love to see how you would cook/style/photograph a serving of long pasta, i.e. spaghetti or tagliatelle with a sauce. Something like bolognaise or chunky with veg/meat/seafood. Either my pasta looks too arranged and strange with sauce in no particularly attractive place or just plain messy.

Anyway, congrats on the book. Cant wait for it to come out.
Good luck with the rest of your writing!

Helena Ljunggren January 31, 2011 um 1:01 am

I just LOVE your pics!

A Canadian Foodie January 31, 2011 um 1:50 am

And Helene – you wanted questions for your book…
I can tell by your video that you will have enough in writing to fill my head – as you have always done on these pages. More videos like that… a couple of photo shoots in different light – would be priceless… I would buy!

Irina@PastryPal January 31, 2011 um 2:58 am

Hi Helene, I'm looking forward to your book! I'm sure I'll learn a lot.

One of my biggest photography challenges is getting a slice of cake to look good. Carrot cake is all crumbly and brown and the frosting gets mushed in there, and if you refrigerate it first before slicing, it looks dried out. Same with coconut cake.

Marcella Alyssa January 31, 2011 um 3:24 am

The video is so enchanting! I am excited to check out your book! P.S. I loved the shot of your dog at the end hahaha 🙂

Jessica January 31, 2011 um 3:54 am

So exciting!
My first thought when I watched hte video was "ooo, Amelie!" and then "Omg, she puts a lot of effort into taking her photos."

I hope that one day I'll be even a fraction as good as you are.

Shelby January 31, 2011 um 7:45 am

What a delicious sneak peak into your upcoming book!! It's so fun to see talent at work! Thank you for sharing!

Gaia January 31, 2011 um 7:52 am

Hi Helen!
what about fotographing meat?
I love colourful pics and I'm not able to highlight meat. It's always everything too brown….
Any trick?

Good luck with your book!
Will it be sold in Italy, too?

Fragolina January 31, 2011 um 10:04 am

I always have a problem with taking nice clear pictures at night without natural light, maybe the problem will be eased when I get a professional camera along with a photography book.

Juliana January 31, 2011 um 1:58 pm

Can't wait for your book! I'd be interested in how to style and photograph beverages: a cup of steaming tea or a glass of cold lemonade. Thanks!

flowers on my table January 31, 2011 um 2:22 pm

Wow, the video is amazing! It makes me really appreciate your craft. Thankyou so much. Linda

Helene January 31, 2011 um 3:18 pm

Fragolina: yes, there is an entire chapter on natural light and an entire chapter on artificial light. I will never stress enough that a pro camera won't get you far without understanding how either or both work though. I learned how to use both with a Point& Shoot which I used for the first 1.5 years of having this blog. I only upgraded to a dSLR in December 2008 and to a pro model in December 2009 and only because I need the extra pixels for book and magazine prints, not because it was "better".

Helene January 31, 2011 um 3:18 pm

Fragolina: yes, there is an entire chapter on natural light and an entire chapter on artificial light. I will never stress enough that a pro camera won't get you far without understanding how either or both work though. I learned how to use both with a Point& Shoot which I used for the first 1.5 years of having this blog. I only upgraded to a dSLR in December 2008 and to a pro model in December 2009 and only because I need the extra pixels for book and magazine prints, not because it was "better".

David January 31, 2011 um 3:24 pm

I find taking clear pics of bottles of whiskey almost impossible. Reflections, shadows on the label, bright spots from the light source…

Not food, I know, but if anyone knows the secret…

Cheryl January 31, 2011 um 4:17 pm

What I wouldn't give to learn how to shoot steam properly! Hot dishes like clam chowder (before they congeal on top), a cup of cocoa, freshly sliced-open banana bread… Looking forward to your book!

D. January 31, 2011 um 4:32 pm

Lovely photos as ever–your posts are always so nice to read…

I was wondering if you could discuss suggestions for photographing hot prepared food, particularly something that's steaming and just out of the oven.

Bon appetit. 🙂

Botacook January 31, 2011 um 5:13 pm

Alors moi j'ai toujours beaucoup de mal à photographier (même si je n'ai pas du tout ton niveau!) : les tiramisus, les clafoutis, les soufflés. As-tu des astuces de pro?

Mollie January 31, 2011 um 5:22 pm

Anything white is always tricky – most recently cupcakes with vanilla frosting. Help!

Cookie @ Cook, Snap, Repeat! January 31, 2011 um 6:30 pm

I can't wait for your book to come out! So exciting!

When I take pictures for my blog I am most frustrated by anything that is all brown: caramelized onions, beef carbonnade, hot fudge sauce, and, just yesterday, Filipino adobo.

I don't use too many props in my pictures, so it's a real challenge to make a plate or a bowl of "brown stuff" look very appetizing.

Anonymous January 31, 2011 um 7:00 pm

Your upcoming book looks simply phenomenal! I can't wait to see it. That video was almost too much of a teaser to handle :). As for things I struggle most with styling and shooting, I really have trouble with confits – especially something like onion confit. I also find chicken legs terribly difficult because of their funny angles and bones. And lastly, anything oily (which gets back to the confit as well). I would love advice on any of those!

Unknown January 31, 2011 um 7:14 pm

Dear Helene!

I love you blog and your beautiful and very natural pictures!

As I am quite new in blogging and food photography many things are quite a challenge for me. But first thing came to my mind as I read your post was a hot chocolate fondant cake with ice cream. I would like to show the liquidity of the still hot cake and ice which is not melting as long as I´m preparing the shot. I would very appreciate you tips.

With kind regards, Svet

terri January 31, 2011 um 11:06 pm

watching you at work in the video was amazing!

i'm curious as to how you might photograph things that are fairly uniform (e.g. in color or in texture) so that they don't seem so boring.


Cassidy February 1, 2011 um 1:06 am

Anything that is typically served (or baked) from a large dish proves difficult for me, especially casseroles.

Wendy February 1, 2011 um 3:05 am

soup… stew… casseroles… I find them all difficult to photograph attractively. Also, I'd love to see some tips on taking photos of a table-full of food/dishes/etc. Mine always come out looking either boring or cluttered.

Unknown February 1, 2011 um 3:49 am

how about photographing Asian food? like dumplings or egg rolls?

Elena February 1, 2011 um 7:50 am

Buona mattina Helene,
I'm Elena from Italy.
In italiano: iniziare ogni giorno con uno sguardo a Tartelette è un piacere. Grazie.
Posso fare link per indicare alcune tue ricette?
Grazie ancora, e a domani!


Mairi@Toast February 1, 2011 um 7:58 am

Beautiful video, inspiring just like all your photos. So very much looking forward to reading your book.

Pilarh February 2, 2011 um 4:10 am

I agree brown things are difficult: lentils, meat loaf…
Love your blog!

Kristin J February 2, 2011 um 5:46 am

So excited for your book! everything online is always so beautiful- so I can't wait to see what fabulousness will be in your book. I think oatmeal/grits are really hard to photograph- any suggestions?

Kelly-Jane February 2, 2011 um 8:36 am

I am also so excited for your book to come out.

I really struggle with cupcakes, I can never get them to look as exciting in a photograph as they are (I hope!) in real life.

Rose from Magpies Recipes February 2, 2011 um 9:28 am

Waiting to see your book. Am sure it will be outstandingly gorgeous!
I live in a small apartment on the ground floor and since the only free time I get to photograph is late in the evenings I miss out on natural light. What would be a good and preferably easy way to tackle this with artificial light? Also I try to take pics of food with my just turned one year old and its almost impossible to get a good shot- or even a bad one with him and the food in the same frame!

Juls @ Juls' Kitchen February 2, 2011 um 11:47 am

I can't wait to have my copy of the book! I'm so intrigued by chocolate, and I love light backgrounds.. it's always so difficult to balance light and dark chocolate!

Parisbreakfasts February 2, 2011 um 12:03 pm

I'm so pleased that you found your book. It's perfection. The video instantly communicated the care and love you put into every photograph.
I know it will be a big hit for all.

Addison February 2, 2011 um 2:40 pm

P.s. Your pictures are absolutely delightful, I can't get enough of them, you capture the beauty of the ingredients so well!

ylacan February 2, 2011 um 10:52 pm

Your photographs and your eye for styling are just beautiful. Keep sharing, Thank you and I will continue to visit to see more!

Rocky Mountain Woman February 2, 2011 um 11:16 pm

My question is about lens choice. I can not seem to find a lens that works for me. I struggle with the "end" picture of the food. The "money shot". Sometimes, I forget to take it entirely! When I do remember, I struggle with the composition. Do I plate the food with side dishes or garnishes? Just shoot the finished dish as is?

Can't wait for your book to come out!


Golden Gate Fam February 3, 2011 um 1:51 am

I think it's hard to beautifully photograph a chicken breast. I cook them a lot of different ways and the photos never come out looking appetizing or interesting. I'd love some tips!

A Canadian Foodie February 3, 2011 um 8:48 pm

I was checking back for an answer – regarding the individual cakes I made for my mother's 80th birthday…

Helene February 3, 2011 um 9:48 pm

A Canadian Foodie: you lost me there. I see no question about styling individual cakes.

Damaris @Kitchen Corners February 6, 2011 um 4:48 am

I agree with Jaden, the video is phenomenal.

I have a hard time styling kid's food. I'm thinking birthday parties or little sandwiches, things like that, baby food is specially hard. I know it shouldn't be hard because it's usually colorful and what not but I honestly have a really hard time. I'm really looking words to your book and I hope you talk a little about styling baby food, or finger foods. I've looked everywhere for a resource to help me and have had no luck.

Vera February 6, 2011 um 9:56 pm

You don't cease to amaze me with your photography…it just keeps getting better! Love this post.

Julia February 7, 2011 um 3:57 am

Hello Helene!
I love your blog, and congratulations on Foodography! My question is how do you decide what you want to have in the picture? Sometimes you include ingredients with a finished product; other times the picture might be a stack of cookies and a glass of milk. It is especially difficult when the food I am making has very little contrast in color (like alfredo on pasta, a basic soup or bisque, or even bread). I would love to know how you play with options and end up picking the best pictures. Thanks for the inspiration!

Unknown February 7, 2011 um 7:17 pm

Hi Tartelette,

I think that style wise all Asian foods are great, the numerous colors are rich and contrast each other brilliantly. I would go for noodles with other items.

Another suggestion could be sandwiches. They are so simple but crusty French/Italian bread filled with proscuitto ham, any cheese, some olives, salad and sun dried tomatoes would be excellent. However, the filling could be suited for your tastes.

Just some ideas 🙂

jarnizzl February 8, 2011 um 2:49 am

You should tackle upside down tarts! I don't think I've seen a gorgeous picture of one. Ever. Though they do taste good… 🙂

showfoodchef February 8, 2011 um 3:36 am

Helene, as always – love your photos and the video captures your personal elegance mixed with your spirit of fun. One of the problems I have with food photos is understanding HOW to get the picture I'm really after – ie.. the mood I'm trying to create, how light is affecting that and how what I see on the camera varies from what turns out on the computer. I wait, impatiently, for your awesome book! 😀

Anonymous February 9, 2011 um 5:52 am

Oh my, oh my! My biggest disaster was attempting to photo a lovely persimmon cake I baked. It was nighttime and nothing I did made a photo of that cake look the least appealing! So my problems are dealing with nighttime shots, and dark food! OK, ok, so those are not my only problems, but at least the ones I will post!

Oh, and I also tried taking photos of just the persimmons, but it was SO uninteresting! What would you do?

I am looking VERY forward to your book!! Can't wait to get my hands on this!! OH May is s-o-o-o-o far away…
~Mrs. R

AnaDrol February 9, 2011 um 10:03 am

Your book will be fantastic, you've got great recipes on the blog and the pictures. It's gonna be a big hit.

Cristina February 9, 2011 um 10:38 pm

What a great video your friend Taylor put together. Filmed and presented in the same style as your photography – light, ethereal and classy.

Although I don't want to wish my days away, I can't wait for your book's release!

Could you tackle food styling and photography for dishes with cheesey goodness? It's such a challenge to work with before it cools and looks bad/greasy.

Ashley February 10, 2011 um 3:59 am

I'm so excited for you! I ran across some of our first interactions via each other's blogs the other day and I just had to smile. You've come so far lady. You deserve all the love, acclimation and praise. You are such a talent and such a wonderful person. I'm glad to know you.

Dionne February 10, 2011 um 11:23 pm

Oooh yes! Can't wait for this book to come out!

I find it difficult to photograph blueberries – they tend to suck up the light. Unlike blackberries and strawberries that seem to reflect it nicely, blueberries just suck all the pretty light and they just look blah.

Gaviota February 13, 2011 um 1:56 am

Hello Helene
I was wondering how you tackled food photography when time and speed was an important factor, the most obvious example being a souffle but there are other things which, if not photographed straight away they change their consistency and don't look the same.

Looks Good To Me February 14, 2011 um 9:39 pm

I'm not sure if this has already been voiced but I am in need of serious help with creating and styling cheese plates for when I entertain.

How to make a visually appealing cheese plate is something many brilliant food stylists have attempted to illustrate and with little success in my opinion. After reading their instructions I find that mine still are without style and grace.

I would love to see your take on styling a gorgeous cheese presentation.

Best of luck with the book!

Gaviota February 14, 2011 um 10:11 pm

Hello Helene,
Me again. This goes without saying because I know you will include some information about it but the other technical question would be some advice on which lenses are best for (food) macro photography for both Nikon and Canon. Thanks!

Edwina February 20, 2011 um 5:16 pm

The video is lovely and you make the styling look so easy! If only it were so, my styling on cooked food really needs a lot of attention. I can't wait for your book to come out, I will definitely be first in the queue! Congratulations!

Vicki Bensinger February 22, 2011 um 1:08 am

What a great video. It's no wonder my photos need work. Who knew so much goes into making the perfect foodography.

I will be sure to order your book. With photos as stunning as yours, plus amazing recipes and writing I'm certain your book will become a classic.

By the way, if that was your dog he/she is darling. I have a black and chocolate lab. They're the best!

Good luck with all your endevours!

Tiffany R February 26, 2011 um 4:39 pm

hi Helene I know you have several recipes of macaroons but i was wondering if you have made any videos i have tried your recipes several times but they look a little off some times and i know this is silly because i have never tasted one that was store bought but a video would really help thanks

Deeba PAB March 16, 2011 um 9:27 am

I struggle to shoot macarons as beautifully as you do…

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