Photography 103: Composition

I’ve been collecting ideas for recipes for as long as I can remember.

Since elementary school, I’ve had recipes scribbled down in my math workbook, tucked away in my safe keeping box, scattered throughout the drawers of my desk on little pieces of scrap paper, and most recently, organized in my outlook folder.

With the years of hoarding you’d think coming up with a new and exciting recipe would require little forethought, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The process of an initial recipe idea to final blog post is quite the adventure.

As I was sifting through my recipe binder yesterday, I thought it’d be fun if I shared a bit of the process with you!

I carry around a little notebook with me that I use to jot down things like recipes ideas, inspirations, business ideas, whatever comes my way.

When I write down a recipe idea, usually just a title or a concept, I email it to myself later with an outline of the ingredients I want to use and any notes I think will be helpful when I come back to it. Then, when I’m ready to take on a new batch of recipes (usually on the weekend) I choose a couple that pop out at me from the email of ideas, then type them up with the measurements and directions I plan to use. I print it, then set it aside on my desk for awhile to mull it over.

The mulling stage can take a couple hours, days, weeks… and sometimes months. During that time, I change a bunch of things on the paper – adjust ingredients, titles, directions, and do research if need be on proper technique and ingredient combinations.

Once I’m feeling good about my idea, I draft up what the set will look like when the recipe is complete and ready to photograph. This is my favorite part!

I usually go into my prop room for this and sit on the floor looking up at the shelves. It helps get the creative juices flowing (that and I can just see everything I have… makes it easier)

Raw Lemon Pudding:

Cardamom Vanilla Porridge:

Hot and Wild Roasted Veggie Salad:

Citrus Summer Lentil Granola:

Eggplant Curry:

Dijon Herb Salmon Salad:

As you can see, sometimes I stick with what I’ve drawn and sometimes I go in a completely different direction. The sketch is there to help guide the composition of the photo because without it, I’d most certainly get stuck creating the same scene for each and every recipe.

I can’t find it in my heart to throw out the pieces of paper – final measurements, directions, sketches and all, so I’ve collected them in a binder for safe keeping. This weekend, I organized all of the papers by date and marveled at just how much love and care that goes into everything I share with you all.

I’m so lucky to have found something I love doing!

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