Behind the Scenes at Cooking with Curls

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Welcome to celebration week here at Cooking with Curls!! Thursday, November 27th is my Two Year Blogiversary, and today I am going to give you a Behind the Scenes at Cooking with Curls tour. That’s right, I am going to give you a look at some of the toys and props that I use everyday to try and make my recipes come to life…..

Food Photography Set-up |

What do you do with your backdrops?

I currently have (15) 2 x 2 photography backdrops that are stacked up for easy storage. The distressed wood look backdrop with the black foam board above is my favorite combination. 🙂  You may recognize this set-up from the Classic Roast Chicken post…..

Classic Roast Chicken with Roast Potatoes | #harrypotter #britishfood

Most of you probably think that I have a drinking problem because wine and beer show up in so many of my images. Nothing could be further from the truth. I store them on the window sill for easy access…..

Food Props Wine |

When there is a blank spot, I grab a bottle…or glass…or both.

How do you store your props and supplies?

The rest of my glasses are stored on the other side of the room on a wire shelving unit that my son bought me for Christmas last year…..

Food Props |

All of my cocktail glasses, paper straws, and random mugs are stored on the top shelf…..

Food Props Top |

Platters, decorative baking dishes and pie pans are on the second shelf. A ridiculous amount of plates are on the third shelf along with a strand of Christmas lights…just in case!

Food Props Middle |

The fourth shelf holds all of the decorative bowls…soup, dip, ice cream, bread boards and chop sticks. Clear boxes hold ceramic egg crates and miscellaneous other utensils. And the fifth shelf holds more baking dishes, a few holiday bowls, cupcake stands, my voodoo doll from the Voodoo Juice cocktail post, mugs, silverware and a whole bunch of empty jars, lol.

Food Props Bottom |

The bottom shelf holds some of my heavy items that don’t fit in the kitchen cabinets…and even more empty jars. I use those jars for barbecue sauce, simple syrups, and salad dressings like this Italian Dressing…..

Italian Dressing |

What about napkins and place mats?

All of the napkins and place mats are stored in plastic containers next to the table…..

Food Props Napkins

This room is technically my family room, but I live alone and don’t need a family room…I need a photography studio!! I removed the massive leather sectional and box TV for some much needed space…..

Harry Potter Party Tables |

and for a Harry Potter Party.

Where do you shoot your photos?

The table on the left went back outside on the patio, and the table on the right moved closer to the North facing window…..

Food Photography Table |

where I have been taking all of my pictures for the past year. I am using a 2 x 2  piece of bead board with plastic clamps to hold my whitewashed brick backdrop. The same backdrop that I used for the Blackberry Simple Syrup post…..

Blackberry Simple Syrup |

The clamps make it really easy to switch out the backdrops for different looks. Here is the back side of my set-up…..

Photo Studio Set up |

Yep, that is a hurricane candle holding up my board. I use one of my studio lights to prop up a white foam core board to bounce more light onto the food. 😉

Food Photography Set-up with white board |

Most of my party supplies, serving platters,and holiday dishes are all stored in cabinets down in the basement. Trust me, the photos of my basement would give you nightmares…it’s a mess!! My picnic blankets, picnic supplies, seasonal cupcake liners and props, football party props, and miscellaneous “stuff” are stored in even more plastic containers…..

Food Props Boxes |

What kind of camera do you use?

Last year I shared my First Year of Blogging & Blogging 101 tips and lessons that I had learned. The biggest change for me this year is my new camera!!!

New Camera | cookingwithcurls

I have been shooting with a Nikon D5300 camera and 50mm 1:1.8G macro lens {affiliate links} since last December. I also bought the backdrops and a bunch of different props to help style my photos and make them more appetizing. What a difference these changes made.

Just look at these Irish Potato Leek Soup before and after photos…..

Potato Leek Soup Collage |

Same window, same recipe, different camera. I do not consider myself an expert in any way!! I still have a lot to learn. 🙂

My goals for my third year of blogging include:

To learn Lightroom {the package hasn’t even been opened yet} {still can’t figure it out}

Learning to shoot in RAW

Finally learn to shoot in Manual, lol {that should probably be first} {CHECK}

Building a steady income with ads and sponsored posts {this means increasing pageviews} {Nope, hate sponsored posts!}

I will also be moving next summer, into a much smaller house. Sadly, this means that I will no longer have a photography studio…but I will have my freedom! My goal is to find a house with a light, bright kitchen and large windows so I can continue improving my photography. {fingers crossed}

Update: This one cracks me up. I ended up in a house with one North facing window in the kitchen! The South facing window in the 10 x 10 bedroom/studio is blocked by the house next door that is only 10 feet away!!! I am now using a Nikkon D750 Camera and 105 1:2.8G lens. {affiliate links}

I am really looking forward to 2015 and everything that it will bring. I am so thankful to all of you that have joined me on this crazy ride. I would not still be here if it were not for all of your support.

Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. <3

Lisa – xoxo


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  1. OH MY GOSH!! I just want that prop stand transported in time. If only I could teleport!! Love love your setup and this behind the scenes post! Happy blog anniversary week!

  2. Lisa, love getting a behind the scenes look and totally jealous that you are so organized! My behind the scenes look would be a horror movie! 🙂 Happy blogiversary, happy Thanksgiving and so happy for your friendship! Wishing you all things to come true in 2015 and beyond – hugs!

  3. Congratulations on your blog’s milestone, Lisa. I envy you all your props – I haven’t got room for them at the moment but will be looking out for some photography backdrops now and plastic clamps. Cheers from Carole’s Chatter

  4. LOVE the behind the scenes – so awesome to see what other bloggers have stored away Lisa!! Also, a super congratulations on your blog anniversary coming up – that’s so awesome!

  5. Happy Blogiversary! I am such a fan and I really enjoyed this behind the scenes look at how you get those amazing pictures of your food. I’m looking forward to seeing what you do in your third year. I’m excited for your move – it’s amazing what you can do to small spaces with a little creativity!

  6. What a great post Lisa! Love seeing behind the scenes and Happy Blog Anniversary friend!

  7. I love this behind the scenes, Lisa — it’s fun to see how others do things! I need more foam boards to change things up, and i can’t wait to get some boards — I love the rustic wooden look! Thanks for sharing, and best of luck on your move in 2015!

  8. Lisa, I really enjoyed this peek inside your studio! SO impressive- so neat and tidy and organized! I, too, dream of a bright kitchen with large windows! Actually, I have the large windows…..but I also have (very) large trees….everywhere.

    I hope 2015 brings all of us some very good times. 🙂 ♥

  9. Lisa, I LOVE how you gave us a tour and showed us all your behind the scenes! I seriously need one of those shelves tucked down in my basement. My hubs just mentioned how he thinks our house has the most kitchen *stuff* 😉 in it than anyone he knows. I told him that I’m sure I do in the “neighborhood” (long with my spice cupboard!)… but not with all of the talented bloggers out there– including YOU! Absolutely love how organized you are and how you do your photos. You’ll be shooting in manual before you know it. My son had to show me when I got my camera (too lazy to read the instructions book). Otherwise, I don’t even know how to shoot without manual. So, you’re one up on me! 😉

    Love all your goals you’ve set for your next year into blogging… very inspiring! Just have to say that I LOVE, love, love your blog! xo

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