Q&A with travel and food photographer, Melissa Delport from The Truffle Journal who, earlier this year, published her first cookbook, WHOLE – bowl food for balance, a visual feast with nearly 90 recipes that provide healthy, balanced meals in a bowl.

Some up your book WHOLE – bowl food for balance in three adjectives

balance, mindfulness, wholesome

What was the look you were going for and how do the photos reflect your style?

I like the way food pops on a dark surface and I also love shooting food from overhead, so I think that the book shows my style very clearly in that regard.

Do you ever take photos on an empty stomach?

Sometimes, but I almost always regret it when the hunger pains arrive.

How do you prepare your vision before the shot and where do you find inspiration?

I honestly let the food do the talking. As I create a dish and it forms, I get the picture in my head of how I want to shoot it.

Image by Melissa Delport
Image by Melissa Delport

© Melissa Delport

What is your gear setup?

I shoot on a Canon 5D MkIII and I use a 24-70mm f/2.8, and a 50mmm or an 85mm f/1.8 for great depth of field.

Do you prefer natural or artificial light, and how does this decision manifest in the photograph?

I prefer natural light. I shot my WHOLE cookbook with it as I find that it makes the food look fresher.

Do you ever shoot tethered?

I don’t usually, but I will if a client prefers. It depends on what is required.

How do you frame the shot and what is your hero angle?

I would say top down. I enjoy styling the food and creating a composition as if I’m painting, so usually portrait.

What are your typical edits in post-production?

I don’t do a lot in post edits. I will colour correct, sharpen and pump up the contrast, and clean up spots if need be, but I believe in getting it right in camera.

Where can people get their hands on your cookbook?

At any major bookseller in South Africa such as Exclusive Books or visit thetrufflejournal and shop it online.

Image by Melissa Delport

© Melissa Delport

Image by Melissa Delport

© Melissa Delport