Let me explain about this photography confidence that I felt I had lost. Regular readers will know that last year my first cookbook was published and I put my heart and soul into that book. I wrote the book at a time when things were very bad for us and it gave me something to focus on.
I am not the world’s best photographer. I’m the first person to put my hand up and admit it. Putting my words, and my pictures into print made me feel exposed. Ask yourself, how would you cook, style, and photograph a cookbook containing nearly 150 recipe images on your own with a cheap DSLR? There were times when I thought I was going to crack from the pressure to perform. The internet and cookbooks are full of perfect pictures, beautifully styled and presented. Many cookbooks have a small ratio of images to recipes but I didn’t have that luxury.
Most of the book reviews have been lovely. Some suggested people should buy the book not for the pictures but for the content – which to me was the important part – but still a part of me cringed inside. Those pictures, they were mine, I slaved over them, and the worst part? Looking back now I am not proud of many of the images that were published. Comments like “rustic” and “realistic” photographs were so well-intentioned, but made me feel awful. Here I am, a published author, with a book that should show how wonderful and easy it is to live on a tight grocery budget. However, it left me feeling bleak because I feel the images didn’t live up to the content in the book.
It’s taken a lot for me to pick back up my camera and start using it again on manual mode. For a long time I just shot in automatic and didn’t concentrate too much on what I was doing, or used camera phone shots in blogposts.
For months now the tripod has sat in the dust jacket in my office, along with some other photography bits and pieces. Anyway this week I took out my camera, connected it to the tripod and tried my best. I’m happier with the results (coming to a blog near you) than I have been with many of the photographs I’ve taken in a long time.
There’s an expectation if you’re a food blogger; if you want to be successful, that you should have pristine photos, impeccable blog design, amazing writing skills – basically have it all. Now I understand why some bloggers decide to work with professional stylists and photographers. In many ways I wish I had that opportunity when I wrote the book, but I realise now that I’ve learned a valuable lesson. I’m picking myself up, dusting my camera off and I’m back in action.
If you want a sneak peek at some of the things I’m working on you’ll find them over on my Instagram account: http://instagram.com/wholesomeireland