Food Phoneography 101 at Thoroughbred Food & Drink

Thoroughbred Food and Drink buttermilk fried seitan

Sage enjoying dessert at thoroughbred food and drink in Toronto

Last week I had the pleasure of joining Henry’s Photography at Toronto’s new “it” restaurant, Thoroughbred Food and Drink. Over a beautiful three-and-a-half-course meal we practiced our hand at photographing food, particularly with our phones, under the expert guidance of Ren Bostelaar, professional photographer and manager of Henry’s School of Imaging. Bostelaar calls this “Food Phoneography 101,” a lesson in mouth watering photography to elevate social media feeds with vivid, more professional-looking photos that are unique and appetizing.

“It’s all about breaking away from old habits to capture food in a whole new way,” says Bostelaar. Sound good? Here are Ren’s top tips, distilled down:

  1. Go for the Best Angle – instead of the traditional diner’s-eye-view of the plate, try positioning your phone at plate-level to capture steam rising from the dish, or from directly above to capture a geometric and texture-filled image of the food and table setting.
  2. Turn OFF the Flash – make use of natural light (try to get a table by a window!) when possible so you capture a natural look, not one flooded with harsh shadows and unnatural light.
  3. Take Advantage of Post-Processing Apps – while it can be tempting to be able to throw in a #nofilter tag, post-processing apps can give your photos an added pop.
  4. Add a Human Element – use a tripod and self timer, or get someone else to pick up the fork and knife, to get a shot of your plate with your hands and utensils in action. This adds life to the photo and makes the viewer jealous *ahem* adds more appeal.

Thoroughbred Food and Drink buttermilk fried seitan strawberry_cocktail_thorougbred_food_and_drink

Unfortunately, the table I was at had no overhead lighting, and the raw, old-style ambiance of Thoroughbred Food and Drink did not lend itself to well-lit photos, so most of my pics ended up blurry. And though I don’t have pictures of it worth showing, the food was amazing! I had an entirely vegetarian meal featuring buttermilk-fried seitan, broccoli “marrow,” zucchini salad, and my favourite, “Kung Pow Cauliflower,” a dish that transformed the bland, ugly vegetable into a delicious plate of flavourful goodness with a hint of spice and a distinct asian-inspired flair. I would most definitely recommend Thoroughbred Food and Drink to anyone who likes unique, playful, delicious food!


Another highlight of the evening was the appearance of the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus! This was the first time I’d seen the devices in person, and I must say my expectations were spot on. If you’ve read my post following Apple Live, you know that I was wholly unimpressed by the keynote and Apple’s announcements. And with the recent reports of more than a few iPhone 6 Pluses bending in people’s skinny jeans, it’s not looking so good for Apple these days. Once the fanboys die out, who will buy their over-priced, closed-system devices? I digress. Henry’s guests from Bell brought in the phones for us to check out – here’s a look!

iphone_six_plus_size_comparison_sage_hand sage_iphone_6_6plus size_comparison_iphone_6_samsung_galaxy_htc_nokia_lumia_820There’s the full line up, every operating system we could find (no crackberries in the house, poor RIM). From left to right we have a Samsung Note 2, an iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus, a Nokia Lumia 820, and an HTC something-or-other. I find it funny that, when I pull out my Windows phone, most people ask, “Why do you have a Windows phone?” as though it’s a palm pilot or a pager or some other stone age relic. The truth is, I love the Windows OS because it’s elegant, user-friendly, and very productivity-oriented. I can’t live without my OneNote app and live tiles, and having Cortana help organize my life has changed the way I interact with technology. It’s funny how preconceptions about something can turn someone off of even trying it. But it makes me happy that the conversations beginning with “why?” usually end in “Wow, that’s actually a lot better than I thought” (kind of like what Thoroughbred Food and Drink made me think about cauliflower).

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