Behind the Scenes with Eat Your Beets

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Let’s keep this as short as possible because this one is really all about the pictures, right? When I first started Thinking Smaller’s Instagram, @goeatyourbeets was one of the first accounts I followed. Day after day on Instagram, Trisha Hughes cooks up and sends out beautiful images of food. Her photos are pretty but intentionally imperfect. She's a mom to four little ones, a blogger at Eat Your Beets, a freelance food stylist and photographer and an e-book author of Eat Pretty Things. Wishing I could see her food styling skills in action, I just asked her and she said yes. It was a great afternoon of food prep, food styling, two cameras, one poopy diaper and lots of laughter.

She cooked up Stuffed Butternut Squash for our shoot which is also the featured recipe for her Paleo 101 Cooking Class at Omaha's Whole Foods Market. 

This is the wood background used in many of her Instagram photos. I was surprised to see that it's actually individual pieces that can be customized for sizing. 

Adding the first prop--a white linen napkin. She stated that as her food photography improved, she started using more props to enhance her photos. Her goal is to find props that she can use again and again.

Testing the light a bit. She photographs in the bright eat-in space right off of the kitchen. It was a perfect sunny day when I visited.

Setting up the reflector

Adding more props--flatware

A few more shots were taken before moving to shoot overhead

Standing on the table for the overhead shots and adjusting the food slightly

Adjusting flatware

Prop change out--adding a handmade wooden spoon

"Fluffing" the meat. She also added a glass of water with ice and a sprig of rosemary.

Adjusting the wooden spoon

At this point she asked her husband to get a bowl of sea salt. She shared that her family is always willing to lend a hand and her children often ask if she needs to shoot something before they start digging into their meals. 

Sea salt is one of her favorite things to add to photos. As you can see, it not only gets sprinkled on the food, but the wooden background as well.

Like I said earlier, she's the mom of four little ones. This guy just needed a quick bathroom break before heading back outside.  I just laughed and reminded her that I was a mom too.

Prepping for the Instagram shot

A close-up of the props

A pantry in the kitchen as serves as a prop closet. As you can see, there's various linens, bowls and flatware, all used for photographs.

The thing that most amazes me about Trisha is her willingness to share what's she's learned about photography with others. Nothing is a secret. She was amazing to watch in person and a little hard to keep up with because she moves so quickly and instinctively, adding and subtracting props and sprinkling salt on a whim.

I asked how she decides what to cook and photograph. Trisha said she draws inspiration from fellow food bloggers and lots of food magazines but most of the time she says it comes from a mindset of "just needing to get the kids fed." When I inquired what comes next after having over 100,000 Instagram followers and an e-book, she stated that she has a dream of creating weekend getaways for women to gather and work on food photography and drink great cocktails. But for now, she says she'd like to continue doing more food photography, teaching and mentoring.


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