In continuation with that spirit, here’s a next on the Heart to Heart Interview series with Veronika Studer of The Spoon magazine and her blog The Kitchen Finesse which was recently featured on SAVEUR Sites We Love.
Vera’s brilliant photography, her sense of immaculate composition, lighting and styling are something I have been constantly drawn to. I’m sure most of you already are well acquainted with her work of art and adore her photography as much as I do or perhaps even more!
And the best part is, in my minimal interactions with her, she comes across as a very down to earth person, in spite of her incredible talent. That’s something to imbibe right there.
Thank you Vera for this lovely candid interview!
What was your moment of epiphany for blogging and/or photography like?
4-5 years ago I went through a lot. I lost my job, we moved to a foreign country, I got separated from my friends, family. Everything just changed 180 degrees, and I needed something to find myself again. First, I found out that cooking was something I really enjoy. I started to experiment in the kitchen, and soon enough I could not imagine my days without it. That time it happened that I accidentally ran into some food blogs, and I was immediately hooked. At the end I said, why not to give it a shot, I have also some things to share. So my new career began in blogging. Photography started just the same. I was always drawn to art, painting mostly, but I truly found myself through photography.
What do you enjoy most about blogging/photography?
That I can be myself. What you see through my photos is 100% pure me. A photo says more than a thousand words.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
From everywhere around me. A color combination, a certain mood, an ingredient can get me going. Sometime I just wake up with an idea, you never know from where the inspiration will come from. If I am really stuck, or having a bad mood, I dig into my favorite magazines to cheer me up. Donna Hay, Australian Gourmet Traveller are great sources to turn my mood, you find beauty on every page.
What is your greatest photographing challenge yet and how did you overcome it?
I was recently photographing for a new client, and they do not like unsharp details on the photos. So much for DOF. I could not put myself into the photos. They turned out nice, but I would have done the photos differently.
You make blogging look so easy. How do you manage time and keep blogging from taking over your life?
I’m glad it seems that way. Honestly, I don’t have as much time for my blog as I used to. I miss my food diary, but I have so much going on both in work and my personal life, that I currently cannot squeeze more out. On the other hand it is good as it is. I don’t blog about every minute of my life, just focusing on the really catchy meals, or the ones that has special interest for me.
If you were to start blogging all over again, what would you change or wish you had done better?
I wish I would have had the courage to start it earlier. It makes incredible fun, and I have met a lot of interesting people through it over the years.
What according to you is the most challenging part of food photography and why?
Fun you’re asking that, because lately I was having this on my mind. The most challenging is to always deliver something new, and not get boring. Everyone has a certain style, sometime you shoot from routine, but you have to bring attention to the photo by making it interesting to others. I hope I am able to do that most of the time.
When it comes to creativity in blogging or photography, how do you keep things fresh and in perspective?
As I mentioned it earlier, I am always after something interesting, something that makes my photo stand out. It can be the light/shadow on the photo, or a new prop, or an extraordinary detail. The smallest detail can get sometimes the most of the attention, and make the whole shot itself.
What is your take on post processing? What according to you is “too much”?
I use Lightroom, and do only minimal (sharpening, minimal brightness/contrast only). I do not like to change details, even the slightest could ruin the mood of the original shot.
Being a food blogger, it is easy to over-zealously accumulate way too many props in the name of food photography. Your tips on minimalism?
If you are not sure of it, always go with the simplest setup. You can still add some props later, but if you don’t pay attention, the photo will look ridiculous instead of stunning.
Three things to seriously improve one’s photography?
Natural light, white reflector, tripod. Light is the most important when it comes to photography. Natural light results the nicest colors. The white reflector helps you to balance the light on the photo, to light up the shadowy areas if needed. Tripod makes sure, that the camera is stable.
What is your food styling philosophy?
Less is more. If you’re not sure of how to style a food, always start up simple and add some props if required. White plate is always the safest choice, it works fine in every case.
A piece of advice that you’d like to give aspiring bloggers who believe they have what it takes?
Don’t hesitate, just get yourself a blog account. It is a lovely, sparkling, friendly, inspiring world. If you don’t start it now, you will always regret it.
Vera’s Favorite images:
And here’s a lighter rapid fire round:
Ingredient(s) you love to shoot
Memorable childhood meal
One food you’d never eat
Cuisine you wished you knew to cook
One item from your bucket list
I want to go on the Trans-Siberian express with a backpack
A place you’d wish to see in your life time
That is the most difficult question from all. I have many… William Meppem, Anna Williams, Hector Sanchez, Mikkel Vang…..
A photography gadget you swear by
24-70mm f2.8 Nikkor lens. Never failed me.
What would you choose for your last meal?
My grandmother’s peas soup
Your favorite photography tip
Use diffused natural light. Light makes the photo itself.
* All images and text (answers) on this post belong to Veronika Studer. They have been published here with her permission.