Last week I was invited to travel to Mixbook headquarters in Palo Alto to demo my Boozy Bourbon Butter Pecan Milkshakes and my Pumpkin Pie Milkshakes for a bunch of new friends. It was so much fun getting to make milkshakes with over 30 people! Usually I just make them by myself in my kitchen. I also loved showing everyone that you don’t have to wait 3+ hours in line or pay $14 to have an over-the-top milkshake! They are easy to make at home, they only cost about $15 to make enough for 3-6 people, and will impress the hell out of friends and family. But if you’re afraid of missing out on the Instagram photo brag of a restaurant purchased over-the-top milkshake, I’m sharing a few photography tips below.
- Lighting is everything: Try to shoot in natural, indirect light if you can.
- Clear the clutter or add props: Clear things out of the photo if they are clutter (water bottles, trash, and items that don’t add to your photo’s “story.” Or add props that will add to your photo’s story. For example, if I’m photographing food and you can’t tell the flavor from the dish, I’ll add the fruit or vegetable in whole form near it so you can see it and read the flavor as a prop.
- Marshmallows: I use A LOT of marshmallows when photographing food – they are spongy and can be sticky so they are great for propping things up slightly or for keeping bottles facing forward on a flat lay (so they don’t roll off the table or onto their side where you can’t read the label).
- Practice wabi-sabi, or the Japanese art of imperfection: Sometimes food looks better when slightly messy – dripping down the side of the bowl or glass, a bite taken out of a cookie, or spilled ingredients.
Here’s a recap of the Milkshakes and Mixbook event mixer. We started out the evening with a quick demo of my Boozy Bourbon Butter Pecan Milkshakes. I showed how quick and easy it is to garnish the rims of the glasses and mix up a milkshake. Then I did the same with my Pumpkin Pie Milkshakes which elicited a “ooh” from everyone after I put the tiny little pumpkin pie slice on top! Next, everyone got to style and make their own Pumpkin Pie Milkshakes before photographing them in a light box with props. I was happy to go around the room and help with any tips and tricks because I realize I make it look a bit easy since I’ve made 40+ milkshakes, but really over-the-top milkshakes are 1. idea 2. garnish 3. milkshake itself 4. fun! And working with Mixbook was awesome! I’m working on pitching a cookbook (just putting this idea out into the universe and hoping it happens!) so creating a mock-up of what the finished cookbook might look like was awesome! But it also gave me an idea of making a family cookbook to give out as a holiday gift to friends and family with original recipes and photos. Or doing a cooking photoshoot for family photos to use on Christmas cards (or in my case, Valentine’s Day cards)! And I know many were disappointed that they could not attend the mixer since they don’t live in the Bay Area, so Mixbook and I are bringing the milkshake fun to my Instagram and giving away an extra copy of my Milkshake Madness book. Head on over to my Instagram for the details on how to enter for a chance to win!
All photos in the middle of the post of the event were taken by Kim Ebbets of Photos by Kim E. who takes AMAZING family photographs in the Bay Area. Thanks again, Kim!