We’ve both been baking banana bread. Deanna and I baked then photographed separately and did a little self-critique of the photos. We are far from calling ourselves food photographers, but we are having fun – and we think you’ll see at least some improvement since last summer.
Now for those who don’t care to read much about our photography adventures, I’ll share a bit about the recipe first. It’s really a perfect banana bread recipe: It’s healthy and comes out with a perfectly dense (but not gloppy) texture. This is because the recipe comes from my talented friend – a dietitian and professional baker – Janice Dacuik. The millet toasts up on top of the bread and lends a wonderful crunch and healthy dose of fiber, but the bread is naturally sweet enough that my kids loved it – especially spread with peanut butter for a power-packed breakfast.
Now for some photo tips; Deanna has been able to take some beautiful photos simply using her iPhone, a fill card (or light bouncer) of $2.00 white poster board, and her gifted eye for food styling.
Let’s just say I’m learning. But recently I’ve taken some purposeful steps forward by: Ingesting the words of the book “Plate to Pixel” by Helen Dujardin; purchasing a refurbished Canon Rebel XS SLR camera, and visiting several resale shops for some bright linens and dishes. (My best resale shop find was a variety pack of color-popping vintage linens for $0.40!)
So this banana bread was the first official use of my new camera – and here’s what I discovered… I took the photos in front of the largest window in my home. The first photo below was taken around 3:00pm here in Chicago where the overcast sky is still decidedly winter – giving slight silvery tones to the photo – but just enough gentle light. But by the time I cut the bread at 3:45pm (after picking my daughter up from school) the light in the sky had diminished significantly leading to photos with orangish-glow. Changing the White Balance mode to Flash helped. With less light I also increased the ISO to 600. The increased ISO helped the shot remain lighted, but it decreased the clarity in all of the cut bread photos.
In later photos, I used a large dish towel to diffuse the brightness of the light coming through the window; the result was less distracting glare on the red glass bowl below.
Looking at the photos now, I see I should have used a brighter-colored plate; moved the dish of millet and the bananas a bit further from the plate and plated the two pieces of bread so they covered more of the plate. Luckily, Deanna pops up the color of all our photos with the post editing software Aperture.
What other tips do all you photographers have? Please share!Print
Banana Crunch Bread with Toasted Millet
The crunchy goodness of the whole grain millet makes this banana bread great for an afternoon snack or a sweet breakfast.
- 1/2 cup uncooked millet, divided
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup mashed ripe banana, about 2-3 large bananas
- 1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Remove about 1 tablespoon of millet (from the 1/2 cup millet) and set aside.
- Grease an 8 1/2- x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with butter (Don’t butter if using stoneware pan.)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a medium bowl, combine all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, remaining millet, baking soda and salt. Stir with a whisk to mix. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, place sugar and butter, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended and light in color. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add mashed banana, yogurt and vanilla extract; beat until blended.
- Add flour mixture to banana mixture, beat at low speed or fold together gently with a spatula just until moist.
- Spoon batter into the prepared loaf pan and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon millet. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour or until a cake tester or wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool 10 minutes in pan on wire rack; remove from pan and let cool completely on wire rack.