Published: 09th September 2020
Fotogredients: Why aspiring photographers and students will love this 'deconstructed' page on Instagram
Are you an avid foodie or an aspiring food photographer just looking for some inspiration? Then, check out Joshua Miranda’s Instagram page
A short stack of decadently fudgy brownies, a rustic (and rather inviting) salad of pasta tossed with cucumber, radish, tomato, bacon and egg and garnished with a smattering of cheese, a glass of everyone’s favourite early-days-of-lockdown drink, Dalgona Coffee — have I tantalised those taste buds yet? If you think words can paint a mouth-watering picture, you have got to see the photos that inspired them. And you can, at @fotogredients — Joshua Jude Miranda’s Instagram page. A Chennai-based UX/UI designer by day, Joshua has a true passion and an obvious trained eye for the art of food photography.
A graduate of Visual Communication from Chennai’s Loyola College, Joshua majored in photography but ended up pursuing a career as a graphic designer and illustrator. Why? “I was always in love with photography, but back in 2005, we didn’t have digital cameras. It was considered to be an expensive hobby — we had to buy film rolls and get them developed. We couldn’t afford that so I had to drop it and focus my energy on the next best thing,” says the 36-year-old. In early 2019, however, things took a turn for the better — he bought himself a new digital camera. And it’s only gone uphill since. And we’re so glad it has because his Instagram page is a sight for sore (and hungry) eyes. “It started when my wife, who is passionate about cooking, and I sat down one day and decided to start our own food blog, where the food is all hers and the photos are all mine. Then I started my own page,” adds Joshua, whose daughter is also a hardcore foodie like her parents.
Joshua Jude Miranda
The first thing I noticed (and you probably will too) when I checked out his page was how artistically the food is plated and the background is set. “I start with a rough sketch and then plan how to execute it. Based on the characteristics of the dish/ingredient I want to showcase, the type of shot differs. A flat-lay shot works best for dishes like curries, where you need the top angle to best showcase its components. But this won’t work while shooting something like a burger. There are also action shots and elevation shots,” explains Joshua, who has a home studio where he does his one-man shoots. His hardware includes a Nikon Z6 camera and Godox studio strobe lights, while he leans on software like Lightroom, Photoshop and, more recently, Capture One, to edit his photos.
The second thing that stood out was the fact that Joshua includes the technical details of each of his photographs, like the camera he’s used, the lens, the flash, the aperture, shutter speed and so on. He often also includes a tutorial of sorts where he shows us the way he sets up the food and the lighting, the raw image and the colour corrected one. So, essentially, he gives aspiring food photographers and students free tutorials on Instagram. And his reason for this will warm your heart. “When I started, I didn’t have any support in the form of equipment or funds. But I was still able to learn through the goodwill of my college seniors and professors who were ready to help me. I wanted to pay this kindness forward,” says the humble man. He adds that the best form of flattery is when people try to recreate his photos.
Being a trained photographer, we wonder what Joshua’s opinion is of untrained people who buy a camera/phone with a great camera and call themselves a photographer. “When it comes to art, everyone’s an artist. But when it comes to the commercial side of things, you’re doing it for a client so you need to follow a few norms so that you can sell your skill. However, I do appreciate the quality people can achieve with phone cameras. I have seen many Instagrammers create a whole page of content with nothing more than their phones. In the end, it really isn’t about the equipment, it’s the interest, talent and skill one has,” says Joshua, just before sheepishly confessing that the camera on his phone is the least used app.
So, what’s it been like for Joshua during the lockdown? “By the time I realised that food photography was my thing and I started approaching restaurants for opportunities, the lockdown was upon us and I couldn’t get any projects,” says Joshua who has taken up freelance assignments shooting packaged food products like cocoa powder and juice. Speaking about the scope of this niche field outside the current situation, he says, “The food culture is evolving in India, a lot of restaurants are popping up. There’s a lot of scope for you to collaborate with restaurateurs and keep getting projects. When a food brand looks for a photographer, they want someone who has experience in shooting food. So, it’s a great time to jump in.” Foodie or not, go check out his page and get ready to drool.