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How To Take Pictures Of Food… Properly

How To Take Pictures Of Food… Properly

You don’t have to be a professional to get some great food pics, but it’s always helpful hearing from one! That’s why we caught up with the lovely Leyla Kazim – food photographer, journalist, blogger and founder of London Cheap Eats (is there anything this woman doesn’t do!?), to find out some top tips on food photography and how to make sure to show it really is good enough to eat.[/stag_intro]

Food can look pretty ugly – do you have five top tips you could share on what to look out for to show it’s good enough to eat?

1. You want to take a picture of something while it’s still freshly made. After just a few minutes ice cream melts, skins can form on sauces, meat can start to look a little dry – so get snapping quickly! This also means you can eat it while it’s still hot… which is most important of all!

2. I like to take action shots; something which shows someone is about to, or already has, tucked in. Think cutlery cutting into a steak, sauce being poured, or breaking something apart so you can see what’s inside before snapping, like a croquette.

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Photo by Leyla Kazim

Lighting in restaurants and supper clubs is always very ambient, but not always great for the camera – how do you get around this?

All my images are shot on a camera as opposed to a phone, and manual settings and different lenses can adjust for this pretty well. Otherwise, ask the if the venue can turn up the lights a bit, or as a last resort, get someone’s phone torch to give you a hand (angle it low and from the side).

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Photo by Leyla Kazim

Why photography? Tell us a little bit about your background.

I studied Astrophysics at University and worked in a software company for several years – neither of which automatically marry themselves with the love of travel and food – but I was always planning the next flight and dreaming of the next tasty morsel.

I started in October 2012 – it’s intended to be a personal anthology charting the places I visit, the cultures I experience, the food I eat, and the impressions they make upon me. Photography was an extension of that, and a channel through which I could share it with others.

Then I quit my job, went travelling for eight months, and started up a freelance business creating a range of food and travel related content for organisations, combining expertise in photography, words, and social media.

I now spend most of my time either eating, travelling, writing about the two, or photographing them. Which is pretty sweet.

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Photo by Leyla Kazim

What’s the best way around only having your phone for pics?

It’s definitely worth investing in a compact and discreet camera if you don’t just want to rely on your phone. Something that can fit into a handbag or little carry case, and that doesn’t get people staring when you whip it out. If you do, you want one with wifi functionality, so you can send the images to your phone straight from the camera, and then share them on social media from there. Also, a screen that tilts is ideal when you’re trying to get those overhead shots, but you’re too short to look through the view finder.

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Photo by Leyla Kazim

What’s the best gig you’ve ever had and why?

I have some pretty cool travel-related gigs coming up this year. Namely Sydney, China and Sri Lanka.

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Photo by Leyla Kazim

Favourite high end restaurant and favourite cheap eat?

It’s not too high end, but I *love* Cafe Murano. In terms of cheap eats, it’s hard to pick a favourite. But there are some seriously good London hotspots for great, cheap and international food, such as Brixton, Camberwell and Soho.

If I had to pick one from each of those areas, it would probably be the goat curry and roti with sides from Fish, Wings & Tings in Brixton for £8, the Big Plate Chicken from Silk Road in Camberwell for two people at £15, and the nasi lemak from Rasa Sayang in Chinatown for £7.90.

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Photo by Leyla Kazim

Fave Tabl event right now?

I love the look of the Gizzi Erskine’s tattoo inspired menu as part of The Inksiders chef series on 25th Feb!