I don’t know if you’ve noticed but there are a lot of killer photography tutorials floating around the food blog world these days. If you haven’t seen them check out:


Food Photography Set-up Post One

Food Photography Set-up Post Two

Compact Camera Food Photography

White On Rice Couple: Photography Tips

And I’m sure there are plenty more out there that I have not seen yet – feel free to post them in the comments section.

All this advice and information from talented photographers is invaluable and I feel so grateful to all of these talents who take the time to share their wisdom and skills with the rest of us.

In all of these posts on photography you will notice a common theme: Practice. You must actually pick up your camera and take pictures in order for all the information to sink in.

I for one am not good with numbers. Somehow in high school I ended up in an advanced math class and I went home crying nearly everyday. I was much happier sitting at the ceramics wheel in the art building or finding a good book in the library.

In both highschool and college I took photography courses and when the discussion turned to numbers my head started to spin. I can wax poetic about composition and color but the technical side of photography brings back those all to familiar tears.

It isn’t until I pick up the camera and start shooting that the information I’ve read and heard starts to become clear. Foreign concepts begin to become second nature as I experiment with changes of aperture, adjustments of the shutter speed and playing with off camera lighting.

For this reason I’ve started a flickr group entitled, Food: A-Z. In this group I’ve combined two passions – food and photography – both of which I have much to learn.

Each week we will focus on one letter of the alphabet. Let’s say ‘A’ for example. Each group member then chooses an ingredient, dish or food product that begins with the letter ‘A’ then they photograph it.


At the end of 26 weeks we will have a collection of stunning images showcasing edible subjects.

My hope is that people will, first of all, JOIN! And secondly that we will use this friendly space as a chance to experiment with new food and new techniques so that we can expand our knowledge and grow together.

Doesn’t that sound fun?!

If your shaking your head ‘no’ right now. That’s okay because I have a coffee scented, nutty tart that I’m pretty sure you will love and I hope makes up for the time you took to read through my new side project. It also just so happens to start with the letter ‘A’.


Almond Frangipane Tart with Coffee and Orange

1 cup sliced almonds, toasted

1/2 cup brown sugar

3 1/2 ounces butter, softened

pinch salt

1 egg

1 Tbl Grand Mariner

1 tsp. Orange zest

1 Tbl Whole Milk

Combine all ingredients in a food processor then process until smooth. Set aside.

Coffee Tart Dough

4 1/2 ounces (1/2 cup + 1 Tbl.) butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

pinch salt

1 egg

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 pack Via (Starbuck’s instant coffee) You can substitute 2 tsp. regular instant coffee if you don’t have Via.

Pre-heat the oven to 350*

Combine the butter and sugar and cream until smooth. Add salt and egg. Mix until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl then add the flour mixing just to combine.

You can chill the dough until firm then roll it out, taking care to use plenty of flour to prevent the dough from sticking to the counter, or you can use it immediately and press into your tart pan(s)

I just pressed the dough into 4 little tart pans and used immediately. I had dough remaining. You could also make one large tart.

Par-bake tart shell for 10 minutes before filling the shell with Frangipane. Continue to bake until filling is just set. For the little tarts this took another 10-15 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Serve with candied orange peel and a dusting of powdered sugar.

*One more note about the group*

If you would like to join – I really think you should – then check out our group page and ask to join the group. I’ll accept you then you start shooting and sharing.

For this first assignment I’ll give people some time to sign up and join. So you have until November 8 to upload your ‘A’ photos. From that point on we’ll do it weekly.

Feel free to blog about it (if you have a blog), create a recipe with your ingredient, share a recipe and comment on other group member’s photos. This is meant to encourage, teach and inspire. So please be kind.

Also – don’t feel like you have to participate every week. Come and go as you please. We won’t kick you out if you do every letter or if you just do ‘P’. I don’t like rules – can you tell?

I’m excited! I hope you guys are too. Let’s get practicing.


26 Responses to “Food: A-Z”

  1. kellypea

    Thanks for doing this. I can always use advice from those who just seem to have the knack for perfection. I’m heading over to join, and have my fingers crossed about staying up with it. I’ve stalled on a few other projects…

  2. Wizzythestick

    Great idea but I certainly do not have the time. Hmmm! Okay but now that you’ve lead me on with that tart…I’ll have to reconsider. Can’t make any promises but I can try….so now do I get piece of that delicious pie;-)?

  3. Danielle

    What an amazing idea!
    I am going to sign up. I love the idea of learning from everyone and seeing what they come up with! Thank you.

  4. nina

    I agree my head also spins when it comes to F-stops and light meter readings…..but we are never to old to learn, right???
    The frangipane tart looks utterly delicious!!

  5. Charlotte

    Wow I’ve always wanted to get into food photography but no clue how to go about it! really looking forward to starting the A to Z project! Yay

  6. Rachelino

    I love the word frangipane. Just the word is impressive. Beautiful photos! Excited about the group…and thanks for collecting the tutorials into one post!

  7. Nikki

    I am so pumped for this idea I actually called my husband just to tell him about it! What a great way to learn, share experiences and impart knowledge! From a self-taught, always learning student of photography, I think this will be both an interesting and enjoyable challenge that I will strive to keep up with from week to week, I already have a short list of ideas for the coming letters! I sent a request to join today so hopefully I can get started and get posting soon! Great idea!

  8. Nikki

    Oh….. Damien, I just checked out the link you posted… drool…. drooling for various reasons, what an amazing portfolio! That man is talented to say the least…. there is so much inspiration out there!

  9. Todd Hart

    I was going to make the tart, but I don’t have a Grand Mariner . Will a Grand Poobah work? Just teasing.Great joba s always.

  10. eM

    are we gong in alpha order? If so, how many gorgeous photos of Zabaglione can we handle next Fall? 😉


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