I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, food photography is a challenge for me. I spend a lot of time looking at gorgeous pictures of food or “food pornography” as it is aptly named however, I struggle to capture beautiful images. I love to create recipes and enjoy writing posts to accompany them so the only part of this blog that actually feels like work is arranging the food on a plate, finding the appropriate light and snapping a shot at the right angle to make you want to jump into the screen and eat it!
Take this kale salad, for instance. I originally thought I was going to make some kale, tomato and beet stacks. I took a few pictures with my iPhone and thought, hmm, might be a little messy. Side note: I have a dslr camera which I use from time to time but I still don’t fully understand how to use it. I recently tinkered with the settings a bit in an effort to go manual and well, let’s just say everything looks a little off and I’m not quite sure how to fix it. Anyways, messy is ok for a salad but not for a pretty little tomato and beet stack, right?
I then decided to chop up the kale and make it a big salad using all of the same ingredients. I snapped a picture from overhead and thought it was hard to see the depth of the salad. I wanted more green since there really is a good amount of kale in the recipe.
I plated the salad and tried to arrange the ingredients nicely. I then started to walk around to different parts of the house to see where I could get the best light. Light is a tricky thing. It’s the key to all great photos and looking our best in general. There is nothing better then going out to a place with great lighting and catching a glimpse in the mirror. You feel me, right? Well, I want the same thing for the food!
It’s cloudy today and the light is not our friend. Also, even though I know good lighting when I see it, I’m still not sure how to capture it. I ended up going outside and using whatever natural light I could muster to get a few shots. In the end, I know I still have some work to do but I just want you to know I am trying!
Serious props to all of the awesome food photographers out there like Andrew Scrivani. I actually just downloaded his class on Craftsy. I am excited to learn more about photography and hoping to start capturing and sharing even more beautiful images with you.
Aren’t you happy all you need to do to enjoy this salad is make it? Massaging the kale is probably the toughest part but don’t skip that step because it is an important one. Kale is really fibrous so the massage helps break it down. Letting it marinate in the oil and lemon juice is also key so try to get started right after you put the beets in the oven.
- 4 small beets (golden, red or a mix)
- 1 tsp olive oil
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 head kale
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ lemon zested and juiced
- 2 large heirloom or beefsteak tomatoes, chopped
- 2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
- ¼ cup roasted almonds, chopped
- 1 tbsp balsamic glaze
- Preheat oven to 350, rinse beets and place in a large piece of foil. Drizzle 1 tsp olive oil on top, season with kosher salt and pepper, seal the foil over the beets tightly and place in oven for 1 hour.
- Chop kale into bite sized pieces and place in a large bowl. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and massage it into the kale with your hands for 4-5 minutes until shiny and beginning to break down. Squeeze lemon juice over the kale, season with salt and pepper, toss and set aside.
- Once beets are roasted, peel off skin, slice into ¼" thick rounds and cut rounds into half-moons. Top kale with beets, goat cheese, roasted almonds and drizzle balsamic glaze on top. Garnish with lemon zest.