Say Cheese, But Don’t Eat It :)


Since starting my blog a few months ago, I’ve been using my iphone to take photos. Sometimes they turn out okay, but often not. My food shots are especially bad. A lot of the time I don’t even post the delicious recipes I make because the photos I take don’t do the food justice.

Wanting to improve, I searched for food photography classes in my area. The closest one I could find was in Los Angeles and it was REALLY expensive. I figured that I’d have to settle for a basic photography class. I liked the website of local photographer, Nadyne McClurg, so I contacted her about an upcoming class she was teaching.

When I told Nadyne what I wanted to take the class for, she suggested that I take an individual lesson instead. She said that this way she could teach me the specific skills I needed. This sounded good, so I made an appointment.

Before taking the class, however; I had to buy a camera. Nadyne recommended that I get a Canon EOS Rebel T5i 18.0-MP Digital SLR – a $900 camera! I don’t have that kind of extra cash, so I almost gave up on improving my food photography skills.

I spoke with my husband about it, however; and he suggested that we use the money we’d saved up to get air conditioning for the camera. I’ll probably kick myself in August, but I agreed to this.

Now I have my expensive camera and have been practicing with it for the past few days. My photos have improved, but they still don’t look great. Here’s the best photo I’ve taken so far with my Canon:

Canon Test Download 001

I’ll be having my class with Nadyne later today. I’ll post about it and share “after” photos soon!

Photo of girl with camera courtesy of

About celestedimilla

Hey there. I’m Celeste, California girl, writer, psychotherapist and burgeoning plant-based foodie.
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36 Responses to  Say Cheese, But Don’t Eat It :)

  1. Lorrie Wenzler says:

    Photo looked good and so do the cookies.

  2. That’s awesome, Celeste! I think your cookie photo is pretty darn good so I can’t wait to see your new skills in action. And I’m sure you’ll get some good Mambo shots at some point, too!

  3. HeartBound says:

    That photograph is great – really vibrant and clear. I’m looking forward to seeing your ‘after’ photos (and how your photography evolves in general). We have a digital SLR camera but I haven’t gotten around to reading the manual for it yet :-). I found this blog post on food photography to be quite useful –

    • Thanks so much for this link – it’s packed with useful info!! And to be honest, I haven’t read the manual for my camera either. I HATE reading manuals. Thankfully, the photographer I worked with was very helpful in showing me the basics. Thanks for stopping by! Celeste 🙂

  4. Poppy says:

    Good luck Celeste! Your cookie photo is lovely already – I love the blue background! 🙂

  5. luvwhatuce says:

    LOVE this!! Great photo, Celeste. I’m saving up to buy one of those cameras as well (either Canon or Nikon), so I might ask for some pointers at a later date! 😉


    • You already take fabulous photos! Still, I know a good camera can make a difference. I obviously don’t know a lot about cameras, but I’d be happy to share what I’ve learned with you. So when you’re ready, ask away. Thanks for your comment!! Celeste 🙂

      • luvwhatuce says:

        Thanks much!! So kind of you to say. But, I still feel like I have a lot to learn. 🙂 So yes, when it comes time to buy that camera….I may return with questions!

        Happy Friday to you-

    • Happy Friday to you too!! Celeste 🙂

  6. Mike Lince says:

    Wow, a new camera over air conditioning? That is a serious commitment to better photography. I and your other followers will be eagerly anticipate viewing the results of your developing skills. No pressure though. – Mike

    • You don’t even know how difficult this decision was for me Mike – I hate heat!! Thankfully, the microclimate of the area we live in tends to be on the cool side for SoCal. We live on a hill near the ocean and we’re often socked in with the marine layer making things feel a lot like where you’ll soon be moving to. This is not to say that we don’t get some hot days. I guess I’ll just have to suffer through them this year like I did last year. Thanks so much for your comment! Celeste 🙂

  7. sophiazerg says:

    Have fun at your class! Share some tips 😉

  8. The cookies look great, Celeste! I think you’re a natural – just needed a little guidance! How fun to take a one-on-one class, too. But I think I’m most impressed by your husband giving up the AC for a camera :-). Ah, love!

    • Hey Annie! Yes, my husband is wonderful. But, the air conditioner situation is actually a win for him. He likes it hot and didn’t really want the air conditioner. He was only getting it for me (like I said, he is a good guy). But, with buying me the camera instead we spent less than $1,000 whereas if we had purchased the air conditioner it would have cost $3,000. So, did he do it for love? Hmmmmmm…

  9. That’s great that you are exploring something you love. (I also agree my iPhone camera isn’t good which surprised me after everyone raved about it) I recently purchased my first SLR Camera, A Rebel T3 and I love it! Its fun learning about all the neat stuff you can do! Good luck on your photography journey 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment Tina! That’s exciting that you just got a new camera too – isn’t it fun! I think my photography journey is going to be a long one – there’s so much to learn. I’m going to work on enjoying the journey. Celeste 🙂

  10. Jeanne Allen says:

    That’s a good picture of the cookies. Looks professional to me.

  11. Great photo! I look forward to seeing your recipes come to life! Did you read my post on Vida Vegan Con? I linked to a photography presentation that Susan Voisin from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen has posted on her site. You may find it useful as I did. Also, Hannah Kaminsky from Bittersweet has a recap on food styling on her blog that is simply amazing (I linked to that on my blog as well I think).

    • Thanks for referring me to your Vida Vegan Con post! I just checked it out and it was wonderful. I’m so jealous!! I’m going to check out the food photo and food styling links on your post. I really appreciate that you referred me to this post! Celeste 🙂

  12. Lauren says:

    Wow. I had the same thoughts about my horrible food photos but obviously not as committed as you are! Great job.

  13. Everyone has to start somewhere, and trust me, this is so much better than my first food photos! If you want to feel better about your results, just dig back into the archives of my blog… The first year is full of yellow, blurry, poorly composed pictures that are truly embarrassing. After doing that though, you can find a bunch of other posts about food photography that are hopefully more helpful:

    Thanks for the comment you left on my blog! I’m looking forward to seeing your recipes, and the evolution of your photography. 🙂

    • Thanks so much for your thoughtful response Hannah – I really appreciate it!! I went pretty far back in your blog, and your photos still looked fab to me. I didn’t go all the way back, however; you’ve been blogging for a long time! I trust you when you say your first photos were bad, and this gives me some hope for the future. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with all the tasks and things I have to learn with blogging. Knowing that you struggled in the beginning too and that you now have such a fabulous blog motivates me to stay the course. I hope I’ll still be blogging a few years down the road – we’ll see. And thanks for referring me to all your awesome posts on food photography! Thank you so very much!! Celeste 🙂

  14. Good for you Celeste! I am still taking pics with my iphone and I have often wondered if I should take the leap and buy a good camera and get some lessons. I think it would take my blog to the next level but I am feeling like my plate is full right now with my 3 kids, voice overs and writing. Maybe someday…..I’m looking forward to seeing how your pics evolve.

    • Thanks so much for your comment Lori! I honestly don’t know how people manage blogs with kids and jobs, etc. A blog, at least my blog, is so time consuming!! Maybe it’s because my blog is new and I’m still learning, but I spend about 25 hours a week on it. It’s definitely a part time job, and one that instead of making me money is costing me money. Sometimes I wonder why I’m even doing it. Then I read a wonderful comment from a follower or a family member tells me they read my blog and are considering going vegan and I get motivated to work even harder. Anyway, I hear you girl! It’s hard to find time to do all the things you want to do with your blog. I will say that I love your blog as it is Lori. I also hope someday to have a book for you to do a voiceover for – we’ll see. Celeste 🙂

  15. Wow that is so exciting! Congratulations for following your dream and going for it! I love taking photos and I carry my camera everywhere – but I know nothing about photography. What a great idea to take a private lesson!

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