We all remember Martha Stewart’s famous food tweet fails. Taking beautiful food photos is a true skill, and even the biggest in the game can fail miserably.
But growth is a thing. Though these food bloggers’ decadent food photos now inspire drool on keyboards across the country, they were not always the works of art they are today.
Read on to see the humble beginnings of some of the internet’s top food lust purveyors.
Simply Recipes receives millions of hits per month. Elise’s family recipes are easy enough for most home cooks while still being creative, and beautifully photographed in a way that truly highlights the finished dish. Her early photos, like 2006’s Cod Fish Cakes, do a good job of playing with focus, but the tiny pictures have that low-light yellow hue that most newbie food bloggers fall victim to. However, 2016’s Skillet Shrimp Asparagus truly brings beauty to the table with detail, framing, lighting and composition all carefully considered.
The Food in My Beard can even make smoked mackerel look appetizing! Bold colors, sharp detail, and interesting angles make Dan’s recipes all the more crave-worthy.
Take a hop back into the archives to Dan’s Veggie Bake though, and you’ll see why most food bloggers avoid point-and-shoot flash as much as possible. In 2016, Dan makes a grilled cheese taco look mouthwatering, with proper composition and appealing color.
Stupid Easy Paleo is written by a former science teacher turned Paleo and weight-lifting enthusiast. While these days her social feeds are full of gorgeous food photos with captions that stress the importance of reducing light in the frame, early posts paid little attention to the composition of the shot, like 2012’s Apple Coconut Pudding. The camera quality has always been legit, but the technique has definitely improved over time, like in 2016’s Smoky Beanless Chili.
Molly’s blog, the James Beard Award-winning Orangette, has resulted in two books, two restaurants, and a podcast. The clean, simple layout of the blog is reflected in the soft lighting of her snapshots—which look lifted from everyday life.
However, those snapshots weren’t always so aesthetically pleasing. They were once bathed in an unappetizing yellow hue, though thoughtfully written and accompanied with gorgeous words.
Orangette’s pictures have come a long way in the 12 years it’s been around, and it’s been fun to follow along with the journey.
Grandbaby Cakes’ tagline is “Vintage Recipes, Fresh Twists, Soulful Memories.” Her vibrant photos these days look like they’ve stepped straight out of a magazine.
Older photos don’t have quite the same effect, with the delicious baked goods the author is known for shrouded in shadows and low lighting, or photographed from the wrong angle.
Ashlee Marie has been blogging for nine years, and in that time has built a food blogging brand around herself. Nine years ago, she was proudly posting point-and-shoot washed-out flash pics.
These days, her shots reflect the quality of the dishes she creates, with great lighting and composition.
We all have to start somewhere—it takes years for a photographer to truly learn their skill. But it’s good to know that even the best foodies of the internet had their less-than-appetizing days.
Ashley Blom is a New Englander and haphazard foodie living in Austin, Texas. Her book, “How to Eat a Lobster” is coming from Quirk Books in 2017, and you can find her recipes and ramblings at forkingup.com.