How to Make and Style Blueberry Muffins
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One of the biggest parts of food photography is the ability to present food in an appealing way. This is something that I was challenged within this shoot, in shooting freshly baked blueberry muffins with a cinnamon crumb topping and a white ganache.
This recipe is very simple and is made of so little ingredients for such a tasty snack or breakfast food. Using fresh produce is key to making a great meal, not just for it to look good, so I always try to use fresh products instead of frozen. Despite this, frozen produce is always okay, as it gets the job done if you’re unable to get fresh fruits. I also used a dough measuring scoop to add equal amounts of muffin mixture to each cup, so they come out in the same size. For this shoot, making the meal wasn’t a challenge, but rather the shoot and the presentation was.
When shooting specific foods, such as brown foods that don’t look as appetizing or have many colors, it can be a challenge to make the food look good on camera. This shoot was focused on muffins, that were mostly brown and crumbly looking, which doesn’t look as tasty as the food presented. To fix this, I had to do a couple of creative things. I garnished the top of the muffins with fresh blueberries and mint, which add a lot of color to the muffins. Though mint doesn’t quite go well with muffins, it adds a splash of color to the shoot to make the muffins look less bland and more appetizing. A traditional blueberry muffin recipe doesn’t call for a white ganache, but I had some leftover from a previous shoot, which both tasted good on the muffins and looked good on camera, adding some colors to compliment the brown of the muffins.
I had to do more with this shoot to present the muffins in an appetizing way, as just adding more food wasn’t enough. For the backdrop, I tried many different colors and materials, such as wood and concrete. When preparing the muffin recipe, I used a wood backdrop but noticed an abundance of light, yellow colors in my images. Stained wood planks matched the color of the muffins, so they blended into the backdrop. I ended up using a concrete vinyl backdrop to add more color temperature contrast to the darker, brown colors of the muffins since concrete is such a lighter, cooler color. Using a monochrome backdrop for bland-colored foods is always a good trick, as it makes the color of the food pop out more. If I were to use a colorful backdrop, the food would blend in with the colors and get lost in the backdrop, which is the exact opposite of what a backdrop is supposed to do. A good monochrome background that has been quite popular lately is a marble. For this purpose, I made a durable and cost-effective marble board, which you can read about here.
Blueberry Muffins with White Ganache
- 1 Cup Fresh Blueberries
- Preheat oven to 400° F, then line a 12-cup muffin pan with muffin liners, and spray the liners with cooking oil.
- Combine all dry ingredients for the muffin in a large bowl, then combine all wet ingredients into a different bowl.
- Mix wet ingredients, then slowly pour into a bowl with the dry ingredients while mixing.
- Folding the blueberries into the mixture, pour the mixture into muffin cups using a dough scooper, filling only ¾ of the muffin cup.
- Mix ingredients for crumb topping with a fork, then sprinkle over muffins.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Pour heavy cream into a saucepan on medium, and heat until right before it begins to boil.
- Take off heat, and mix in white chocolate chips until mixture is consistent.
- Let cool until thick, then drizzle with a spoon or squeeze bottle onto baked muffins.
- Add fresh blueberries onto the undried ganache.
- Wheat flour can be substituted for white flour, but be sure to add a cup of milk to the recipe.
Food photography props used in this photoshoot
Some of the props might no longer be available in stores. I selected props as close as possible to match those items.