Most of us have a selection of special go-to recipes – it might be your own creative twist on a classic, or a family favourite that's been passed down through the generations. Recording those signature dishes in your own personalised recipe book is a fun and creative printing project that can easily be done from the comfort of your own home.
London-based food and drink photographer Natasha Alipour-Faridani is an expert when it comes to capturing tasty-looking images and has lots of useful tips for taking food shots with impact. And when you're ready to print your images and compile your photo book, a printer such as the wireless Canon PIXMA TS3340 Series makes it easy to select your images and create high-quality prints.
Natasha selected a breakfast muffin for her recipe book because she wanted to include some shots of the ingredients. "To add variety and colour to your book, don't limit yourself to photos of the end result," she says. "For the breakfast muffin recipe, I focused on the blueberries. I really enjoy capturing food close up."
She also picked a recipe for a butternut squash and ricotta tart garnished with rocket leaves. "I wanted recipes that were bright in colour," she explains.
For the photoshoot, Natasha used a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and two lenses – a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM and a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM. "The macro lens is great for getting really close to your subject," she explains. The EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM has a max magnification of 1:1 or 1x, which means subjects are depicted as life-size on the sensor. The combination of being able to shoot close up and a wide aperture, like the very low f-number on the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM means it's capable of creating a very shallow depth of field. As Natasha explains, "It means I can capture that lovely blur that gently bleeds into the background."
The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens is a more affordable alternative to the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM, and capable of producing razor-sharp results.
Natasha used a tripod and tethered her camera to her computer, so she could instantly review the results and make any tweaks to the composition. She set her aperture to f/8 or f/9 for most of the shots, which allowed her to keep her subject in crisp focus.
"Check out your ingredients and explore all angles before you start," she says. "If the food looks flat, a bird's-eye view from above is a good option. I always make sure I've got something that extends beyond the edge of the frame – it could just be the edge of the plate, but it reinforces the idea that it's an ongoing scene."
When it comes to lighting, you don't need special kit for professional looking results. "I shot these images at home, lit by a large window, and used a reflector to fill in a few of the darker shadows," she says. "I love working with natural light. If the sunlight is streaming in you can capture that lovely bright glare. If you want your image to be softer and moodier, the low light in the morning or evening works well. Watch how and when the light comes into your house to get the results you're after."
Natasha printed her images on a Canon PIXMA TS3340 Series, which has wireless functionality for fast and efficient printing. "This printer is great," she says. "Speedy, and easy to set up. The ink cartridges are simple to install and produce vivid, accurate colours."
Natasha opted for Canon's Photo Paper Plus Glossy II for a quality output and experimented with a range of paper sizes. "I printed a selection of images at 13x18cm, 10x15cm and 13x13cm and the borderless printing feature meant there was no need to trim the edges." The borderless printing option on the Canon PIXMA TS3340 Series is available up to 13x18cm, and the printer supports a variety of paper sizes up to A4, which are all fed through the adjustable rear paper tray.
As with all of Canon's wireless PIXMA printers, the PIXMA TS3340 Series is compatible with a variety of Canon printing apps. The Canon Easy-PhotoPrint Editor app has a number of creative options for layouts and templates that could be adapted for a recipe book, and is compatible with smartphones and tablets. There is also a desktop version for Mac or PC.
"Printing through the Canon Easy-PhotoPrint Editor app is quick and easy," says Natasha. "I used the 'Browse' option to connect to the food images on my computer." The app can also connect to a host of other cloud and social media platforms, including Google Drive and Instagram.
Natasha opted to display her images in a ring binder-style scrapbook but if you wanted a really professional finish, you could design your recipe book using Canon's hdbook software. Simply download the software to your PC or Mac from one of the hdbook retailers' websites, lay out your photos and text, and send it to print.
So, the next time you head into the kitchen, think about the special recipes you'd like to record and pass on to your family and friends. Not only will you have lots of fun shooting and curating your recipe book, you'll also create a treasured keepsake filled with tasty meals and appetising images to inspire the generations to come.
Written by Claire Gillo