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Chocolate-Covered Katie: My Food Photography

sugar free fudge

Above is my No-Sugar Chocolate Fudge.

Delving into the blog’s stats page to find the most-viewed posts for my 2012 recap, I was surprised to see, among the popular posts, a page called “sugar-free chocolate fudge.” I didn’t even remember writing such a post!

So I clicked on over… and was embarrassed when the following photo stared back at me:


When I first took this photo, I remember being really proud of it. It’s like when I was three and would draw pictures of people… with their arms and legs attached to their heads.

Did you draw pictures like that, too?

Thankfully, I’ve learned a lot in the 23 years since then. For example, I now can draw bodies. Progress! But I wouldn’t trade those stick-figure sketches—or the journey and life-lessons they represent—for the world. Old photos ought to be seen in the same light; many of them are cringe-worthy, but they offer proof that the time spent practicing and reading photography books and tutorials has definitely been worthwhile.

As it’s been more than a year since my first food photography post, today seems like a great day to give you all the opportunity to laugh at me. And so…

My Photography Journey:

point and shoot photo

Above, from one of my first-ever posts: Chocolate Stud Muffins.

The scattered almonds were an attempt at food styling. I think. When I started the website, I was using a Kodak point-and-shoot, and I had no interest whatsoever in photography. However, I was having fun, which is all that matters.

ISO might as well have been UFO.

peanut butter banana ice cream

Getting better…

In the above photo: Peanut Butter & Banana soft-serve.

Finally, finally, I learned that food photography looks vastly more impressive when you turn off the camera’s automatic flash and switch to either manual mode or aperture priority mode (or use natural light, if you have a point-and-shoot as opposed to a DSLR). As a result, my photos started to look much better: 

frozen hot chocolate 

blue cupcakes

breakfast pizza

For the most part.


What in the heck??? 😕

greek yogurt cheesecake

Above is one of my favorite photos: Greek Yogurt Cheesecake.

Shot in natural light, with a Canon Rebel and a 50mm f/1.8 lens. Someday—when I can afford it—I’d love to upgrade to the 5D. But for now I think the little Rebel works just fine. (I thought the Kodak worked just fine, too. I’d probably still be using it if the poor thing hadn’t dropped on the floor and stopped working. I loved that camera!) Do I still have a lot to learn? Yes, definitely. But at least I now know that peoples’ arms and legs do not attach to their heads. Thank goodness for progress.

Do you ever go back and look at old artwork or papers you wrote for school?

Or at any of your old blog posts? Do you cringe or laugh? A few weeks ago, while cleaning out my room at my parents’ house, I found an old sketchbook filled with drawings I’d made when I was 5. By then, I’d learned to include bodies on my drawings, but they were still so funny. I was obsessed with rabbits when I was little, so pretty much every drawing included a rabbit. Rabbits with hairbows, rabbits in cars, entire rabbit families dressed up in high heels and top hats…

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Published on January 18, 2013

Meet Katie

Chocolate Covered Katie is one of the top 25 food websites in America, and Katie has been 
featured on The 
Today Show, CNN, 
Fox, The 
Huffington Post, and 
ABC's 5 O’Clock News. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating dessert every single day.

Learn more about Katie

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  1. Leigh says

    As an artist, I can completely relate! At the beginning of each year I compile my favourite pieces from the year and compare it to pieces from past years… I must say I’ve had my fair share of laughs over some old pieces I thought were “perfect” and “the best thing ever”! 😀

  2. Bek @ Crave says

    My photography is shocking atm..I use my Iphone 5..shame. Ha, but my camera is worse and I don’t have a DLSR even though I’d love one!

  3. Debbe says

    I’m here for the recipes, not the photography. I prefer to see what the food will look like when I’m done making it, not how it can be “styled” to look good in a photo shoot. I have left blogs that I would otherwise have enjoyed, because their food styling got in the way of seeing what the food looked like. I really hate the “too close”-ups, they make me feel claustrophobic! My only criticism of your food photography is that there is nothing in the photo to give me a reference on the size of the item (like a cookie).

  4. Marie says

    I have always loved to draw. At one point, when my work had improved to the point that other people were offering to pay me for it, I found it very encouraging to go back through my stacks of old sketchbooks. I’d look at my “before” work and realize how far I had come in developing my skills.

    I’ve always meant to go back to a couple of the drawings from my early days (around 6th and 7th grades) and to “reinterpret” them … that is, to draw the same characters with the same costumes, but in my current hand. Just to see how much has changed. I think it would be cool, but I’ve never actually taken the time to do it.

  5. Shay says

    The pictures still look good though!:)
    Sometimes, i look back at my first grade stuff, and I cant even tell what the words/pictures are supposed to be!

  6. Christine @ Cooking Crusade says

    I definitely think that anyone who has a food blog has a food photography journey. My food photos at the beginning were pretty appalling and I think I’ve come a long way – but at the same I still have so much to learn – I am still completely hopeless when it comes to food styling, backgrounds and all the other tricks but I still love finding heaps of handy stuff on other’s blogs like this post 😀

  7. Jennifer says

    I wasn’t going to comment on this post and then I read about your obession with rabbits. When I was younger, I was totally obsessed with rabbits. I can’t even tell you how many stuffed rabbits I had and how many drawings of rabbits I did or stories about rabbits I wrote. I even convinced my parents that I needed a pet rabbit (not a dog, not a cat, a rabbit). Glad to hear that I was not the only one!

  8. Anonymous says

    Hi Katie!! I really enjoyed reading about all your healthy desserts! I’m nominating you for a Liebster Award. Check out my post with the details and let me know if you have any questions! It’s all about new bloggers getting to know each other!

    (your newest follower!)

  9. Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning says

    Your photography is gorgeous! And it’s accepted by FoodGawker- NOT an easy feat!
    I actually taught photography for seven years. But, I generally put NO effort into my blog photos. I resolve to change that one of these days (when I can find an extra hour in my day…)

  10. Karen says

    Hello there! I am relatively new to this blog, so have been enjoying it very much. The pictures and recipes are great. am so happy that a young person can have such success on the internet. I am SERIOUSLY addicted to the lentil soup, and today I enjoyed chocolate oatmeal for breakfast!

    This might be a bit personal, so feel free to hide/ delete this post, has little to do with the topic here.

    I’m new also to the “bloggers talking about bloggers” world as well ( being 53 might have something to do with it, LOL!). I was therefore surprised and wayyyy taken about by the negativity out there from some regarding you and your blog. They rant and rant and rant…and seem to be no better than female middle school shaming societies. Just couldn’t believe it! And the fact that some think that they’re doctors and therefore are qualified to diagnose you is just beyond the pale.

    What’s wrong with young women today? Are they so obsessed with their bodies and others’ that they are willing to stereotype and brand each other with the scarlet letter A(norexia)? The whole body obsession thing is also something we didn’t see when I was young. It’s amazing.

    Anyway, just wanted to let you know that I enjoy your blog a lot, and can see you working hard to keep it fresh. Hang in there!

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      Thank you so much, Karen :).

      I was surprised too, when I first found out about it. It’s strange people would want to waste so much of their own time talking about someone they don’t like. There are so many more fun things they could be doing!

  11. Baker Bettie says

    Thanks for sharing your progress with us Katie! I hear bloggers say all the time that they are going to go back to their old posts and rephotograph them and update their pictures. I cringe! I think it is such a good reminder of where you came from and the progress you made. It would be like re-drawing your kindergarten assignments and replacing them in your scrap book. (although I guarantee my drawings would look quite similar)

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