I have always enjoyed cooking. During the never-ending lockdowns, I had plenty of time to develop my palette as well as practicing my plating skills. All those years of watching Masterchef were not for nothing. Dinner became the most exciting moment of the day, because if I couldn’t travel, at least I could take my mind to exotic places by way of my taste buds. I have travelled all over the world through my dinner plate. When the odd takeaway started to taste bland, I realised that I had become good at cooking. My food tasted so much better than the food offered by pretty much all of my local takeaways.
Once I mastered the flavour and the spice combinations, I started to take photos of my plates and shared them on Instagram. Unfortunately, my old rundown kitchen which my landlord has no intention of changing, didn’t look very nice in the background, so I tried using wallpaper. However, as soon as a hot plate touches it, it gets damaged. I have seen proper foodie backgrounds online, but they are always expensive.
When The Paper Bag Co. contacted me and asked me if I wanted to review their Foodie Bag, I happily said yes. The foodie bag has been made in part with the expertise of Paper Bag Co’s sister company Cotton Bag Co who supply a range of reusable products including natural jute bags.
The Foodie Bag
You might be wandering, what is the Foodie Bag and what’s with the name? Well, The Foodie Bag is a food Instagrammer’s best friend. It is a large tote with everything you need to take photos of food either in your kitchen, or on the go.
The Foodie Bag has helped me to improve my food photography and also give me more ideas of framing and lighting. It isn’t just that my kitchen looks dated, the light is pretty rubbish too. With the help of the Foodie Bag, I managed to get back some control over the light. There is nothing worse than a great plate of food that you can’t photograph because of the yellow, dim light in the kitchen.
What’s Inside the Foodie Bag
Firstly, the bag itself is a stylish tote that can be re-used as a shopping bag when you are not on a food quest around town. I am always looking for ways to reuse and recycle as much as I can. The bag has a mesh divider inside, as well as a zip pocket which is very handy for keeping your wallet or cards in an easily accessible place.
The bag comes with four beautiful, high quality backgrounds that can be used over and over again, even if the plate is hot or if you accidentality spill sauce on them. They are shiny and easy to wipe. I like that each backdrop has a different design, with both minimalist and bold options. Some dishes, such as loaded burgers, are more suitable for bold, dark backgrounds. On the other hand, more delicate dishes such as fish, photograph better on light backgrounds.
The backdrops have been created in collaboration with Sophie Purser from Black Velvet Styling which specialises in photography background.
Light Reflectors and Diffuser:
The light reflectors and diffusers are the pop-up type, which means that they can be folded to take up minimum space in the bag. The reflectors come in three different colours: gold, silver and black. They are extremely handy when you want to direct the light onto the plate of food and reduce shadows. I tend to photograph using natural light, in the afternoon, which can result in some very harsh shadows. The diffuser is extremely useful for when you want to soften the light and reduce the glare. As the backgrounds are shiny, if the source of light comes from above, it will reflect in them. By using the diffuser, you are eliminating this reflection.
How to Postcards:
The Foodie Bag comes with 8 postcards which include helpful tips on framing, lighting and editing. They have been created by Matt Inwood, who is an art director, designer and phone photographer, with 15 years’ experience in cookery books.
How to Improve Your Food Photography with The Foodie Bag
There are several ways on how you can improve your food photography using the Foodie Bag.
- Use the backgrounds to better highlight your dish. A light background will showcase the ingredients of your dish more effectively. A dark background will enhance the colours and give your photos a rustic feel. Whichever background you choose to use, keep in mind that it should complement the dish, not overpower it.
- Use the reflectors and diffusers to control the amount of light and the angles it comes from on your dish. One of the first rules in any type of photography is to understand the light.
- When in doubt, use the postcards. They have helpful tips that can help you on the spot when you can’t think of the right frame for your photo.
- Take your photography out of the kitchen. The foodie bag allows you to take amazing food Instagram photos everywhere, inside or outside.
Where to Buy The Foodie Bag From
You can buy the Foodie Bag from The Paper Bag Co. for £39.95. I think it’s a great price and offers an amazing value for all the elements included in the bag, bearing in mind that one single background goes for around £15. So, if bought separately, they alone would cost more than the Foodie Bag.
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Please note that I have been sent the Foodie Bag for the purpose of this review.