What foods are the most challenging for you to shoot? I think this varies for every food photographer, but for me it’s definitely sandwiches. Today I’m facing my challenge and sharing this delicious Garden Greens Sandwich with Green Goddess Dressing as well as Five Natural Food Styling Tips for Sandwiches.
Five Natural Food Styling Tips for Sandwiches
The misleading thing about sandwiches is that they are so easy to put together when we’re making them for lunch, but they are incredibly difficult to make look good for a photo shoot. It can take several tries and definitely requires some patience. When I say “natural” food styling tips, I just mean that I don’t use gimmicks, cardboard, chemicals or paint to make food look good. I can actually eat the food afterwards. I’m not a fan of making something look edible that isn’t.
1. Work with Fresh Ingredients
This may seem obvious, but I’ve tried grabbing what’s on hand in the fridge and it just doesn’t work out. It’s very obvious when ingredients are not fresh in food photo shoots. And, if the food doesn’t look good, the shoot won’t look good either. Whether I’m shooting a sandwich or something else, I get up extra early on the day of the shoot to buy the freshest ingredients. For sandwiches, be selective in the type of bread you choose to use. I chose a multi-grain bread (for texture) with thicker slices (for height).
2. Build Layers for Height
The goal with sandwiches is to highlight each ingredient through layers while adding height to make it really appetizing to the eye. Think of it like painting one layer at a time and carefully observing how it all comes together. Here’s how I approached it:
First, I chose a thick slice of bread for the base and placed it on top of a small cutting board for additional height. Second, I added room temperature goat cheese so it was easy to spread towards the front of the sandwich. Third, I layered in some curvy greens and avocado slices. Fourth, I added a thick slice of tomato and a slice of fresh mozzarella. Fifth, I added thinly sliced cucumber (I used my mandoline) for some additional curvy layers. Sixth, I added some green pepper slices. Seventh, I added some pickled red onions making sure their color was visible. Eighth, I added more curvy greens and finally topped it with some broccoli microgreens. Ninth, I used an eye dropper to carefully add the dressing.
3. Light the Sandwich
Lighting the sandwich is really important to make those pretty layers and colors actually show up. For my shoot, I used natural light. I set up my sandwich next to a large window when there was lots of natural light pouring in. I used a diffuser on the window to soften the light and avoid glare and hot spots on the ingredients. The window was on the left and I used a white piece of foam core on the right. The natural light would softly highlight the left side and would also bounce off the white foam core to soften the shadows on the right.
4. Use Tweezers
Tweezers are an important tool to have on hand for food styling. It allows you to move little pieces without disrupting the other pieces. As I was shooting, I wanted to add one curvy broccoli microgreen for some additional texture in the front. You can see it in the picture below. If I used my fingers, I would have accidentally touched or moved other ingredients and would have had to start over with my layering. Tweezers help you be much more precise and careful.
5. Patience and Practice
Like I mentioned earlier, sandwiches are a challenge to make look good for the camera. I have struggled with styling them for a long time and they rarely make it on my blog because of it. But, it’s important to not be too hard on yourself, be patient and keep practicing.
Garden Greens Sandwich with Green Goddess Dressing
This recipe has been a nice change from our typical ham and turkey sandwiches. The veggies are crunchy and fresh and the green goddess dressing, goat cheese and pickled red onions add so much delicious flavor amongst all the greens. It leaves me feeling satisfied without being overly full and bloated. Win!
What foods are the most challenging for you to shoot?
GARDEN GREENS SANDWICH WITH GREEN GODDESS DRESSING
For the Green Goddess Dressing:
- 3 tablespoons dairy free greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chopped basil
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
For the Pickled Red Onions:
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
For the Sandwiches:
- To prep the dressing, mix the dressing ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.
- To prep the red onions, whisk first 3 pickling ingredients and 1 cup of water in a small bowl until sugar and salt dissolve.
- Place sliced onion in a jar and pour mixture over.
- Allow to sit for about an hour.
- Drain onions before using.
- To prep the sandwiches, slice the cucumber, green pepper, tomato, avocado and mozzarella.
- Spread the goat cheese on one slice of multi-grain bread and layer with cucumber, green pepper, tomato, avocado, mozzarella, green goddess dressing and a sprinkle of microgreens.
- Top with the other slice of multi-grain bread and enjoy!
Did you make this recipe?
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All images ©Regan Baroni 2018.