Step Four: Peel and stick your removable mounting tape on the back of your mini square prints. For better results, I suggest using two per picture.
Did you know that in a few short weeks I'll be celebrating five years of food blogging? Sometimes when you hit milestones it's fun to take a look back and remember how far you've traveled. So, in honor of five years of cooking, eating, learning, and photographing my food like a weirdo, I thought I'd put together a little mini tour of how my food photography has grown and evolved over the years.
As you can see in the above collage, it has been quite the journey. I've learned tons along the way! As I look through these photos, two things stick out in my mind. Do you remember my article about 5 secrets to success? Well, one of my tips was "don't wait for perfection." As you can see, when it comes to food blogging, I did not. Ha! I was passionate about it, and I just went for it. And although many of these photos sort of embarrass me now, I'm so glad I didn't wait on perfection, and I just took the leap! I would not be where I am today if I hadn't.
Another tip I shared was to "start now." When I started food blogging I had a very old hand-me-down DSLR camera, I had a TINY kitchen I shared with two roommates, I didn't have any fancy dishes or food styling props, I was not by any stretch of the imagination a pro chef, and my grocery budget was somewhere around $150 a month. I had a million reasons not to start food blogging right then. But again, I did anyway, and I am SO glad I did.
Okay, so without further ado, let's look at some dingy food photos. Ha! Note: I did not edit any of these, other than cropping to fit into collages, from their original, published state.
Here we are in 2009. I was living in the heart of Hollywood, CA. I actually remember eating all of these dishes. That cauliflower curry number in the bottom right side, although not a great photo, was super delicious. I've also always loved no-bake cookies (top right) and still use the exact same recipe from this post to this day.
I also remember I was checking out every single cookbook my local library had. I was obsessed!
Honestly, these photos aren't that bad. I knew to always find the best light. I can tell I took all these photos near a window during the day. So, no crazy dark night photography here. I didn't really use Photoshop very much except to re-size images to fit on my blog. I didn't have a lot of ideas for food styling yet. But, you can tell I was trying, because I know I propped up that stuffed pepper to look just so. I can see the effort; just all the pieces weren't quite there yet.
I can tell I was still finding the best light I could, and I was trying different angles, tilting things in the photos to try and give them an interesting perspective. I still wasn't using Photoshop very much. During this year I also moved back to Missouri and was living at my parents' house. I can always tell in the photos, because I can see my mom's cloth napkins and dishes that I was using. (Thank you for your support and taste testing over the years, Mom and Dad!)
I liked 2011. It was a good year. I got a new camera! About half way through the year I bought my house and had a whole new setup in my very own kitchen to work out of. I had gotten to a place where I felt really comfortable in the kitchen and began experimenting with more baking (lots of bread that year!) and using all sorts of different flours. I should go back to that; it was a good time.
My food styling looks to be improving. I can tell I was working hard to add color, patterns, and just more dimension to my food styling. I had also made some improvements in my Photoshop skills and was practicing using my new camera lots. This was also the year I started doing more content on ABM, as opposed to just my own food blogs.
In 2012 and 2013 I was doing more and more here on ABM and had really gotten a better feel for recipe development, styling, and photography. I think this is when it ALL finally clicked. I still was working on making the whole process consistent every time, but I guess in some ways I still am today.
This past year a big change was I upgraded my camera. Also I started using the A Beautiful Mess actions in every photo, and they are SO good! I feel like I should be allowed to brag about them since it was really Elsie and Sarah who developed them.
Any time you get a new device it takes a while to get used to the settings, so it was a good time to refresh and learn more in those areas. I'm also trying out different backgrounds and looking to give my photos different composition. I've been playing around with negative space and how it can add weight to an image.
Blah, blah, blah, art and stuff. :)
This article has been more about my journey rather than photography tips and tricks, I realize. Do you all want to hear about more specific photography tips/tricks (for Smartphone + DSLR cameras)? Let me know if you have something you'd like to learn.
Nothing would please me more than to point out a few cooking, baking, food photography heroes in my life. I've been devouring cookbooks and food blogs for many years now, and I've learned so much from this community. Here are a few of my favorites:
A Cozy Kitchen
Everybody Likes Sandwiches
Joy the Baker
The Pioneer Woman
and many, many more!!!!
Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman.
Today we're back with two of our favorite baristas from Kingdom Coffee & Cycles, Isaac and Jason. Last time we learned to brew with a Chemex, and today we're going to learn how to brew with an AeroPress.
We love the AeroPress as a great compact travel option because of its ease to clean up, and it produces a clean, yet velvety, body of coffee. The main drawback, however, is that you can only brew one cup at a time.
The overall brew time is 2 minutes 21 seconds. Coffee should be ground “fine.” On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the finest and 10 being the most coarse, this grind would be approximately a 3.
-Grinder: We are using a Hario Slim Handmill. This is a burr grinder, which produces much more consistent granules than a blade grinder, which is really better suited for grinding spices. Almost any burr grinder is preferable to a blade grinder. We chose the Hario because of its affordability.
-Scale: We are using the AWS (American Weight Systems) SC-2kg pocket scale. To consistently produce good coffee, it is imperative to measure all of your ingredients. (Too much water, you’ll over extract the coffee; too little water, and you’ll under extract the coffee.) We love this scale because it is affordable, durable, and compact.
-Kettle: We are using a Bonavita 1 Liter Electric Gooseneck Kettle.This kettle is very easy to use. You simply need to fill it, switch it on, and it will kick off automatically when it reaches temperature. You will need your water to be right around 200 degrees for brewing. A simple way to achieve this is to let your water reach a boil, then let it sit for a minute or two.
-AeroPress + filters: There are a plethora of parameters for the AeroPress; we are just showing you one of our favorites.
-Coffee cups: Any mugs will do (we are using notNeutral LINO coffee mugs), but make sure you preheat them by filling them halfway full with brew-temperature water to avoid thermal loss to the coffee.
-Timer (or iPhone): Anything that counts in seconds will work fine. Pro tip: You do not need to stop and restart the timer during extraction; you can let it run continuously using a bit of addition.
Step One: The Preparation. Weigh out your coffee (17g) and start preheating your water. We are using a brew ratio of about 1:15 grams (i.e., 1 gram of coffee to 15.39 grams of water), so you will need 260 grams of water for brewing and allow for 100 grams to rinse and preheat your vessel. You can go ahead and grind your coffee while you’re waiting for your water to reach temperature.
Credits // Authors: Isaac Neale and Jason Strother. Photos and Video: Sarah Rhodes. Music: Jeremy Larson. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.
Today I'm happy to show you how I made my guest bedroom bed frame. First off, I'm not talking about the headboard (the part in the back that says "Sleepover"). If you'd like to know how to make that, you can check out the tutorial here.
Before I built the bed frame, we had the box spring and mattress sitting on the floor. I'm not really against this look, since that's what we do in our bedroom. But with the addition of the rug and the lack of much furniture in the room, I just felt that it would look more "finished" if I added a simple bed frame.
I used six short hairpin legs (they are each four inches tall) on the bottom of my bed frame. Full disclosure: I had purchased these legs about a year ago for a completely different project. It was a big fail! But since each leg is around $12, I saved them to use on another project in the future. So I decided this was the perfect opportunity. If I had not already had these legs available, I probably would have explored a few other (less expensive) options.
-four 1x3x6 (I used all pine, except for these I used oak for extra support)
-box of fifty 1/2" wood screws
-six 4" hairpin legs (or other sturdy legs)
-semi-gloss polyurethane (and/or woodstain)
Cost: $210 (this could be significantly reduced if you choose less expensive legs than hairpin)
Step One: Measure your space and the bed. The mattress and box spring set I created my bed frame for is a queen size. I also decided that I wanted the frame to be just lightly (1/2" or so) wider and longer than the mattress and box spring, so this informed my overall project measurements. I then cut my lumber down to size (as the lumber yard did not have the exact measurements I needed, of course).
Step Four: In the above photo you can see where I added the oak boards which provide the support for the bed frame (so actual adults can lie on top of the bed without breaking the frame). I also added the remaining two hairpin legs to help to distribute weight once the frame is in use.
Note: You can create this project on your own quite easily, but you will likely need help moving the bed frame into place once built. It gets pretty heavy!
Thanks for letting me share my super simple bed frame with you. And if you missed it, here's a link to my entire guest bedroom tour (with before and after photos). Happy decorating! xo. Emma
Credits // Author: Emma Chapman. Photography: Janae Hardy and Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.