Jordan Hipson's SPRING Playbook + Food Photography 101

I was contacted by Jordan Hipson in November about my food photography as he was just about to film his live episode of 'How-To For the Holidays' at Lighthouz Furniture in Burnside.

'Hi Kelly - Would you loan us a few framed photos we could include on our holiday set? We could sell them on site for you! I would adore to have some of your photos in the background - they are fantastic!! Also, would you be interested in being the photographer for the cover of our Spring Playbook?'

Since that conversation began over 5 months ago, Jordan and I have messaged each other at least 100 times - and we still haven't met in person! That's all about to change though, as the Spring Playbook is released this week with a fabulous launch party happening Wednesday night.

Jordan was absolutely amazing to work with and gave me full creative control over the styling and photography for the cover. I sent him a few ideas of different food to feature and he chose Naan Bread Personal Pizzas. I thought they'd be great for spring - cute, colourful and a way to feature spring vegetables even though I was shooting in January. I made three versions - Asparagus and Pinenut with Lemon Ricotta - Pea, Pancetta and Feta - Prosciutto, Radish and Goat Cheese - and ate all three for dinner after I photographed them.

The photo background on The Playbook's cover is a piece of plywood that I painted white and then painted Robin's Egg Blue. After the blue paint was dry, I scratched it up to show the white paint underneath.

Jordan's reaction to the proofs I sent was awesome - 

'OH MY GOD. Where do you live, I am coming to kiss you!'

'So you like it then?', I asked.

In addition to the cover shot, I also contributed my photo and recipe for Rhubarb Curd,

and I wrote an article called 'Food Photography 101' featuring 5 food photography tips and tricks that I use on a regular basis. Along with each tip, I featured a little 'side note' to the accompanying photos. Below are the photos I chose for my feature along with the side notes I just mentioned. To read my full article click here.


1. Play With Your Light

Classic Lemon Bars - The highlights on the white linen in the bottom left corner were completely blown out so I propped up a piece of black foamboard, just off camera, facing the fabric, to absorb some of the light. Doing this reduced the light in the highlights and brought back some of the texture back to the fabric.



2. Don't Be Afraid To Get Closer

Cardamom Vanilla Brown Butter Spread - A tight close-up allows you to capture the essence of a simple recipe. Flecks of ground cardamom and vanilla bean, crunchy sugar crystals and the burnished hue of brown butter really stand out when you get closer.


3. Straight-On vs Overhead

I tend to photograph food with height from s straight-on perspective and food that is flat from an overhead persective. It works well for me.

Straight-On - French Sablé Cookies


Overhead - Blood Orange Marmalade


4. The Colour Wheel

I often refer to the colour wheel when I'm deciding on which props to feature in my food photography. Google 'colour wheel' for an absolute ton of information if you don't know what I'm talking about.

Gluten-Free Blood Orange Coconut Cake - The warm pinks and oranges of this photograph are all closely related on the colour wheel.


Six-Minute Microwave Lemon Curd - the deep blue in the background fabric is the opposite to bright sunny yellow on the colour wheel.


5. The Camera Doesn't Always See What You See And That's Ok

Juniper Berries - My personal policy is to capture as much quality as possible in-camera and keep editing at a minimum, however, I refuse to feel guilty about processing images when things don't quite look the way I want. I believe that honing my post-processing skills is necessary both to my creative vision and my business.


You can read the full issue of Jordan's Playbook here -

For more information visit or @jordansplaybook.