Being a food blogger isn’t just about developing and cooking recipes! You have to take pictures as well. I mean, what is a food blog without at least one picture of the food you’ve created?!? I certainly eat with my eyes first and I’m sure most of you do too. If you go back like 8 months or so on Kitchen Tested, you might notice that my food photography was not so impressive. Just check out my Bloomin’ Onion Mushroom-Spinach-Feta Bread from August 2011. Not good! I mean, the bread was beyond delicious and I suggest you make it for dinner tonight, but my photography wasn’t pretty. As the months have gone by, I’ve spent a lot more time focusing on my food pictures and I think it has been paying off! Here are a few tips that have helped me so far: 1. The best advice I received a few months ago was to take a million pictures while I cook and edit later! 2. I also had an epiphany that the light coming in through my kitchen windows is fantastic and now I ONLY  cook and take pictures during the day! 3. And lastly, I’ve learned to edit my photos. The love of my editing life is Picnik and I am so sad that they are closing in a month! What am I going to do then?? Anyone have any suggestions for a new site to edit my photos?? 

So anyways, the reason I am writing this post is because I have recently been lucky enough to become friends with a fantastic individual who is so talented and opinionated and inspires me to learn more about my passion for food. Her name is Shelley Serber and she is a photographer, baker, graphic designer and overall awesome person. She is always there to give me great advice and I love that she is so honest. Trust me…she is VERY honest. I think everyone needs at least one friend who will tell them the whole truth. I am thankful to have many friends like that (shout out to Nissania and Penina for having no filter with me)! And hey, anyone who offers to help me make my Cara-Mel’s gets a gold star in my book! Check out Shelley’s Food Styling and Photography by Shelley Serber Design album on Facebook to see how talented she is. Okay, have a said enough nice things about Shelley? As it turns out, she and I use the same Nikon D3100professional camera and we decided that getting together to collaborate would be helpful for both of us. Shelly could teach me more about our mutual camera and I could show her how I take those over-head shots of my food that she likes so much. To make things even better, Shelley’s first cousin is the super-talented Naomi Nachman, The Aussie Gourmet personal chef, and the three of us decided to have a foodie playdate. Naomi could cook, Shelley could teach me photography tips and I could eat! Perfect.

Here are the results…

Firstly, say hi to Naomi! We took over her kitchen, so thanks Noami. Sorry for the poor quality photo…ironic since this whole post is about taking good photography! I took this picture on my phone to share on Twitter! If you’re wondering what’s on the Stove, Naomi shredded up tons of cooked chicken and sautéed with her favorite sauce. She then layered the chicken between thinly sliced cooked potatoes (see the potatoes below) for a delicious appetizer. So easy!

Naomi’s daughter was making brownies and she made a little bit of a mess. Shelley ran over with her camera before the flour was cleaned up and showed me how a mess can be so beautiful! I agree.

Next came those delicious potatoes. From the side and from the top. Which do you prefer?

Here is the shredded chicken potato stack I was telling you about. Shelley did the styling. I still haven’t figured that part out.

So fun to watch Shelley take pictures of my Samoa Hamantaschen. Yes, she used Kosher eel sauce for the chocolate sauce. What a great tip! As long as the food looks good for the picture, it doesn’t need to taste good or even be cooked. Brilliant.

Another picture of Shelley, this time taking a picture of the incredible roast that Naomi made for Shabbos. We weren’t allowed to eat the roast since it was for her family but we could certainly take as many pictures as we wanted.

Next it was my turn to take some pictures of the roast. I took Shelley’s place and the results were great! She told me that sometimes you have to get down low to take pictures. Even if you have to get on the floor, flip upside down, climb on a chair…it’s all worth it for that perfect food shot. I agree!

When we were all done taking pictures and watching Naomi cook (oh, and watching Nora as she ran around the house and tried eating raw potatoes), it was time for lunch!

Naomi took out this beautiful whole grain bread and where my mind went to “wow, I can’t wait to eat this”, Shelley’s mind went to “I can’t wait to take pictures of this!” How good does this bread look?!? We topped our sandwiches with sliced tomatoes, cheese, guacamole, and homemade Pesto. Even with such simple ingredients, it was one of the best sandwiches I’d had in a long time. It was all about Naomi’s homemade pesto! I wish I ate like that every day.

So thank you to Naomi for such a fun experience (I loved watching you cook) and to Shelley for teaching me some great tips about food photography. I can’t wait for our next playdate!