Photography and cooking have a lot in common. I trained as a chef for 5 years and still cook regularly. Food is as important in my life as photography is.
We use and rely on photos as memory aids, they have the power to transport us back to childhood. Food’s the same. One bite of something I’ve not had for 20 years and I’m a teenager again.
To deliver the best meal, you need the freshest ingredients… in photography, the best light.
There is no correlation in how much effort and how hard it is to prepare a dish and how successful or excellent it will be. Some of my best photos or favourite dishes are the most simple, it’s the real challenge: Finding a way to keep it simple yet deliver top results.
Preparation is key. One needs to learn and master proven techniques, a workflow, which will allow them to deliver their vision consistently without anything getting in the way.
Pan fry or oven cook an ingredient too fast or too long may burn and dry it, not enough results in under-cooking. In photography it’s the length of exposure which will dictate if the image is properly “cooked” or ready.
Seasoning is crucial and as such, your post-processing is your salt and pepper with which you fine tune brightness, contrast and curves.
Finally it’s also very much about composition and use of lines, shapes, colours in the plate. The plate is a frame you fill with all the elements which come together to create the perfect picture. Forget each individual parts, see everything as one creation where all elements bond and complement each other.
But remember that just as with food, tastes differ and not everyone will like your dish/photo, it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t mean it’s not good. They just have different tastes (and sometimes a not very well educated palate) but it most likely will appeal and bring pleasure to someone else.
I'll end with this famous photography quote by Sam Haskins:
"A photographer went to a socialite party in New York. As he entered the front door, the host said ‘I love your pictures - they’re wonderful; you must have a fantastic camera.’ He said nothing until dinner was finished, then: ‘That was a wonderful dinner; you must have a terrific stove."