Plate to Pixel

I recently ordered a copy of Helene Dujardin’s new book, Plate to Pixel

If you’re not familiar with Helene’s beautiful food, recipes, and world class and simply awe-inspiring photography, you’re missing out and you must check out her blog, Tartelette.

In her book, Helene covers everything from camera setting “lessons”

to composition in food photography

to lighting, props, food styling, arrangement, and so.much.more.

In the past, I’ve reviewed other books on food styling and food photography:

Food Styling: Books, Props, & Photo Quality

And Food Styling: Pretty & Not So Pretty Pictures

And I had Matt & Adam’s amazing event: Real Food Styling & Photography Workshop

Please read this post if you have any interest in food photography, photography, or even just food!

The event was so profound, that it changed my life as I posted about here.

But back to Helene’s book, I cannot recommend this book enough. If you are only going to buy one book on food photography, or dare I say photography in general, this is the one book to buy.

Helene’s examples, lessons, knowledge, and expertise that she shares on everything from camera settings to natural lighting discussion to how to set up your shots to how to make your food photography tell a story is all just splendid!

She pays extreme attention to detail in each and every word written in this book.  She conveys some difficult concepts simply and thoroughly, but without dumbing them down or glossing over anything at all.

Each and every chapter is like a photography lesson and I have been having lightbulb moments going off left and right as I read it.

The book is almost 300 pages and because of the sheer amount and volume of very detailed information, I will get through all 288 pages sometime this millennium.  I am taking my time with it; reading a few pages, putting the book down for a few days, letting it soak in, while practicing with my own camera and food.   And repeating.

Thank you, Helene, for writing this book!  I know from talking to friends and reading post after glowing post around the ‘sphere about this book, it’s helping so many of us.

Interested in a few recipes?

Here is Helene’s hummus recipe

I have 4 ingredient vegan hummus with really awful photography but the recipe is still a winner.

And Helene’s blackberry pie recipe

We can all dream and aspire to create images like that one day, right?

I try to emulate her shots, style, composition, and just everything she does when I am photographing my own food lately.

But I better break out my Dark Rum Caramel Sauce and go to town because I have a lot to learn and caramel sauce makes learning and studying more fun.

It’s either caramel sauce or Magic Eight Bars I’m thinking!

And I think you all should check out Helene’s book.


From my last post, Messy Cook, it sounds like some of you are messy.  But there were many of you who are neat freaks like me.  Good. Nothing wrong with not wanting to dirty every dish and bowl you own and getting a little high blood pressure attack upon seeing things in a state of messy disarray and wanting to clean it all, immediately.  Well, that’s the story I tell myself at least.


1. What’s the last book that really left an impression on you, and why?

I admit that I don’t read many books anymore.   I would like to say I do, but really, I don’t.

I love reading blogs and reading articles on the internet and just surfing the web and going to various webssites as needed because everything I want to know is a click-click-click away.  I get a bit bored with most books after having so much info at my fingertips, and so readily available.  Thus, it takes a lot to hold my attention with a book and for a book to make a lasting impression on me.  But Helene’s book has succeeded on all fronts.

2. What’s your biggest challenge with photography and your photos?

For me, when I’m shooting food, it’s making the food look as good in the pictures as it really was in person.  The camera can strip away things leaving them looking flat, dull, or with really horrible composition even though in person, it really was pretty.  Finding the pretty is a huge challenge for most everyone, I’d say.

Making my food pictures beautiful in terms of composition and what to include or not include in my setups and shots is always a challenge.   For instance, I ask myself, should I include that spoon and napkin or does it make the shot look cluttered?  If I don’t include it, the shot may look sparse with too empty/negative space.   Determining what belongs in a photo and what doesn’t is a challenge.

I did a post on my tips and tricks for getting the best shotI’m sure it’s laughable for Helene, but many of you told me it did help you.

At the bottom of this post is my takeaway message on my food styling and food photography from my workshop

And in this post I address the fact that just because you have an amazing camera, you won’t necessarily have amazing images.  Conversely, just because you have a point and shoot, you can still take awesome photos.  All a fancy DSLR is going to do is make the resolution and quality of the final image better; but a crappy photo is still a crappy photo, just in higher resolution with a DSLR.  You have to work on making your pictures better, not just pining away for a DSLR!  That won’t solve your problems unless you practice and work on improving your photography skills.

And my biggest challenge when shooting Skylar is making sure she doesn’t stick her tongue out at me!

P.S. Thanks for the  entries for the Bamboo Travel Skirt Giveaway.

65 comments on “Plate to Pixel”

  1. what a cool book! I love all of your photography, even the older pictures!
    My biggest challenge is lighting. I live in a really old apartment with frosted light fixtures- it’s really dim everywhere, and because I usually do most of my food prep in the evenings, I don’t get to take advantage of much natural light. I need to invest in some cheap foam boards and lamps!

  2. What a gorgeous book – everything is so enticing and inviting… you can literally taste it off the page. Thank you for your review.

  3. Hey! I just found your blog and am loving it! I absolutley love the food photography info/tips/book recommendations. I actually feel like i just stumbled upon something i never really knew about and am now dying to read all this different information and try it out for myself!
    I was wondering- do you wind up buying items to put in your photos? Such as a cute cloth napkin, or attractive plate? Or do you already have items like this in your home?

  4. Oh, that sounds like a fabulous book! Silly me, I never even realized there were food styling books out there. *blushing*

    I’ve added this to my amazon wish list! :D

  5. Food photography is just amazing!! I think food is at the top of my favorite things to photograph, along with nature!!

  6. Your pictures are just a daily reminder of how much I need to get my digital camera fixed. They’re all so pretty!!

  7. Your recent food photography is amazing!
    I’ve just bought Helene’s book and am really looking forward to it arriving in the post after reading your review.

    You maybe interested in this one:
    Kelle hampton is featured, her kids photography is lovely.

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  9. I absolutely LOVE Helene Dujardin’s blog Tartelette. She has hundreds of perfectly photographed pictures of the most amazing food :) She’s terrific.

  10. Super fun review girl!!

  11. I’ve had this book wishlisted on Amazon for awhile now. From the sounds of it, I think it’s time to pull the trigger!

    I recently finished Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food. It’s written in a way that really exposes the connection between where our food comes from, the economy, our health, and numerous other factors without being preachy or scientific. Up until recently, I hadn’t been reading for pleasure. I forgot how much I missed it from my bookworm days as a kid!

    Right now my biggest photography challenge is inexperience. But I’m learning, slowly but surely! Photography doesn’t come naturally to me like biochemistry does, so it’s a bit of a struggle. But I’m loving every second of it!

  12. That book looks awesome! I’ll have to check it out. I never realized how difficult it is to photograph food until I started my own blog…making it look as good as it did in real life is definitely a challenge!

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  14. I love this book! It’s taking me FOREVER to go through but it’s so worth it!

  15. oh gosh! I juuuust ordered a DSLR book for my new baby but this is next on the list! I loved your review! Thanks Averie!!!!

  16. I find it hard to be creative with photos when I am rushed for time, or when it is winter. I like to photograph food outside, but I can’t do that in Saskatchewan the majority of the time! Summer is my favourite time to be a food blogger :-)

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  19. I think I should invest in one of these books. The Plate to Pixel one……do you need to have an SLR for it, or does it include general info for “regular” ol’ digital cameras? I just sent a sample of the book to my ipad….it looks great!

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  21. Ordered this book and just received it Averie!!!! Cannot WAIT to read it and learn more. I knew I had to get this after your many suggestions AND because I loooove your photos so much. :)

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