I love cooking, eating what I cook, and… taking pictures of my culinary experiments. Every time I try a new recipe, I take a picture of the final result with my camera and post it on my Facebook page I have created with my friend Nicoletta. As an Italian/ Portuguese I am proud of my gastronomic heritage, but I love to experiment new recipes, at the same time. My kitchen is open-minded, pairing Italian tradition with flavors from around the world.
My Social Media Open Kitchen blog inevitably had to talk about Food Photography and Food Blogging. I am not sure if this can be considered as an industry per se, but as far as I know everybody craves for it!
Sharing food…a digital trend
Before the advent of Social Media and the digital cameras, Food Photography (called also “Foodography”) was limited to professional studio photographers and food stylists, hired for advertising and commercial purposes in order to shoot mouth-watering food still life. The combination of Social Media and digital and mobile devices has transformed this industry, as now potentially anybody can become a food photographer by posting and tweeting food photos, from homemade dishes to chefs’ creations.
The user friendly social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and more recently also Pinterest and Instagram have further amplified this trend; “by the end of 2010 more than 80 billion pictures were shared on social media” (360i, 2011). In 2005 I have participated on a forum where we shared recipes and pictures, but it was all about recipes. The situation is completely reversed now, as it is all about the pictures first.
Food Photography facts
Here are some interesting facts about the relationship between Food Photography and Social Media. The 360i survey reveals that:
- “52% of people take photos with mobile phones at least once a month” (360i, 2011);
- “19% of people upload food photos on the web at least once a month” (360i, 2011);
- “25% of people use the food photos as Food Diary and 22% for Self Creation Documentation” (360i, 2011).
The infographic created by Flowtown (based on 2012 data, in partnership with Column Five) reveals that:
- “49% of surveyed consumers learn about food through social networks”;
- “29% of social media consumers are on social networks while they eat or drink home”;
- “9% have downloaded a mobile food app in the past year”.
The 360i analysis in 2011 had another interesting finding: “only 12% of the photos had a brand mention”. This low percentage reveals that food industry brands have to use this huge potential to further improve their brand presence in the food photo sharing and blogging communities.
Food Photography: the starter’s toolkit
It is easy to get started: all you need is a digital camera (even better a digital reflex camera with a good macro lens) and a photo editing tool. For beginners I can recommend Google’s Picasa which has nice editing features.
For smartphone users I would definitely suggest to take the pictures with Instagram which has built-in filters, and pictures are easy to share on social media. Always make sure to use natural light and use filters that preserve the colors as natural as possible.
Sharing your pictures has become very easy, too; the only thing you need to do is to create at least one account on one social media network, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram. For example, Instagram users can upload pictures on Facebook and Twitter instantly. Facebook pages like Food&Wine invite its fans to post photos on their page, or to participate to give-away contests. The feedback from food community members is precious, as it helps to improve your skills. Photographic skills can be improved also thanks to a variety of tutorials available on youtube, or books dedicated to Food Photography.
Once you feel confident with your Food Photography skills, you can jump to the next level and start a Food Blog. WordPress offers some free and premium templates, like Delicious Magazine or Vintage Kitchen that are dedicated to Food Photography and Blogging.
The blogosphere is crowded with food photography bloggers; each of them has started blogging in a different way. You will find famous chefs like Jamie Oliver, who started a food blog and published videos, not only to increase his audience, but also to support his Food Revolution in schools. One of my favorite bloggers is the photographer Heidi Swanson who started to use her blog as a recipe journal in 2003; since then she won several awards and published two great cookbooks (my friend Nicoletta recommended them to me!)
There is all you need to get started!
What are your favorite Food Blogs? Do you have any recipe to share? Or do you rather create your foodie pinboards on Pinterest?
References are available on this page https://socialmediaopenkitchen.wordpress.com/links/references-post-2/