It’s a Feast For the Eyes - The New Indian Express

It’s a Feast For the Eyes

Published: 04th May 2014 06:00 AM

Last Updated: 03rd May 2014 09:35 AM

Photography is sacrosanct and as vital as the written content for Deeba Rajpal, a celebrated food blogger from Gurgaon, who churns out scrumptious recipes and snaps their exquisite replicas for her website Passionate About Baking.

“We eat with our eyes first cannot be understated in today’s increasingly visual and dynamic world. The photographs should complement the recipe and build a food connect with the reader,” says Deeba, who banks on her aesthetic sense, eye for detail and Canon camera for desired captures.

A myriad things starting from colours, nature and seasons to moods, props and things that are rustic and vintage inspire her photography. “I always try to make my pictures look different and work towards it,” says Deeba, who admits her endeavours pay off in the form of readers.

Rajeswari Vijayanand has roughly 3,8,000 likes on her Facebook food page today, but when she flagged-off her food blog Rak’s Kitchen a few years ago, she had just her point and shoot camera and nearly no knowledge of photography. “I had no idea that a perfect picture is key to a faithful reader. It was later I realised how inferior my pictures were. I brushed up my skills and a DSLR camera, my husband's gift, proved an adroit mate,” says the Singapore-based NRI who names props, angles and lighting as chief ingredients of her photography.

“Now when I prepare a dish, I ensure I click when the food is fresh and hot. I do use software to brighten my pictures to a crispier and sharper form, but never overdo it. I also love experimenting with props like serving dishes, cutlery and cute little things like place mats, napkins and backdrops. In fact, my friends and relatives have now started gifting me props knowing that they will come in handy,” she says.

Renuka Nadkarni-Hattangadi, a Mumbai based account manager with a PR firm, who shares vegetarian recipes in her blog Pinch of Salt (www.pinchofsalt.in) isn’t against pairing her recipes with alluring pictures, but prefers keeping the latter simple.

“If you made something really nice, photographs are your passport to tell the world about your accomplishments. But I am not the kind of person who goes out of the way to sensualise my pictures. A lot of full time bloggers are particular about their pictures and spend a fortune on props. But, finally you realise it’s just puri-subji they have exhibited in an epicurean set-up. I shoot in natural light and try to keep the background and crockery white to highlight the food,” says Renuka. 

Renuka finds the trend of photographing food without understanding it manic. “The trend has gone so rabid that now people post pictures of food taken in restaurants on their Facebook pages even before they taste it.”

Like her, Linu Freddy, who blogs on her website Linu’s Kitchen and runs her home bakery, says food photography is being used the wrong way by bloggers. “Viewers are often hoodwinked with airbrushed pictures whose recipes seldom work out when tried,” she says. “But, there are bloggers, whose recipes are as yummy as their pictures, but you won’t know the difference unless you are into food,” adds Linu, whose forte lies in making theme based cakes.

There are pitfalls. “Indian food was always served well, but never before was it glamourised. Fantastic ambience and unrealistic pictures often makes one eat more than their appetite, which is a psychological disorder,” says Dr Manjari Chandra, Chief Consultant Nutritionist for Nutritionist Republic, New Delhi.

Dr Chandra says food photography is healthy as long as it lingers on the blogger’s side. “The wellness community is especially against big players in the market who sell health problems in form of enticing pictures. Netizens may explore the world of food, but at the same time should be wary of honey traps too,” she adds.

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