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 with in 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 much color, 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 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 marble. For this purpose, I made a durable and cost effective marble board, which you can read about here.
Props used in this photo shoot
Some of the props might no longer be available in stores. I selected props as close as possible to match those items.