We've been watching our community members find new opportunities for creativity and learning, and its been inspiring! We’ve interviewed one of our standout community members, Christina Quesenberry, about how she is pivoting from photographing families, newborns, and couples to food, nature, and still-life. In this interview, Christina shares some of her tips and tricks for shooting food photography at home.
How to Come Up With a Concept
When Kirk asked where she comes up with her shoot ideas, she replied with, "It's really just about playing around." She doesn't go to the store for specific items but instead tries to use what she's already planning to cook or what she already has in her pantry as her subject matter.
Having a limited amount of potential subject matter eliminates the paradox of choice—a struggle many creatives face. The paradox of choice is the idea that if you can do anything, you'll do nothing—overwhelmed by the infinite projects it's possible to start.
Another way she comes up with ideas is by asking her Instagram followers to send in their requests. She started with the most popular responses.
We love the way she is incorporating her community into her photography.
Styling The Food
Christina tries to create a rustic look for her food photography, which gives her a lot of freedom to experiment with layers, textures, and colors. Her biggest tip is to not focus simply on the "final" product, but rather show the food being prepared to give yourself opportunities to find interesting shots.
Another pro tip: Shoot some photos at every stage of the preparation (because once you've cut, seasoned, or mashed, you can't undo it)!
Christina's beautiful images, although they look like they are perfectly lit in a studio, are lit with a single window. After some experimentation, she found that natural light coming in from one direction created more dynamic lighting options. Because of that lighting constraint, she realized she has to be very strategic about how she arranges a scene. For example, if a taller item is closer to the light, she gets a shadow on the shorter item.
If you're not new to Mastin Labs, then you're familiar with our firm belief that it's not about the gear. With that said, we did ask Christina what she used. Christina is shooting a Canon 5D Mark IV, a 35mm lens (sometimes with a macro filter), without a tripod.
Her Shooting & Editing Process
Just like she would in a paid photoshoot of a family, Christina has a process for her food photography. For every setup, she shoots a wide, a macro lens, and up close at a 45-degree angle. After she gets her three key shots, she repositions either herself, the food, or both and begins that process again.
Christina uses Gold 200 from the Mastin Labs Adventure Everyday pack for editing her food photography. The cooler tones of the film, especially in the shadows, create a nice balance with the warmer natural light from her window.
Watch the full interview above and check out a gallery of some of her phenomenal images below.