Food is entirely a sensory experience, and Cooking Light knows that well. Aside from producing top notch recipes, each issue comes chock full with just as many accompanying drool-worthy images, stimulating one of our main sensory experiences with eating. Every page turn leaves us even hungrier than before, waiting on the next meal to try out one of their recipes. But it’s more than just the food itself that keeps readers coming back. It’s the strategic artistry they put into each photo that makes it into the final print piece.
As mentioned above, each article comes with a corresponding photo, regularly occupying an entire page. There is never more than one photo per page, but a photo may take up more than one page, potentially even the full spread. In terms of view, these photos are almost always medium to close shots, really highlighting each ingredients color and texture. In order to stay in line with the sharp lines and edges used
throughout the rest of the magazine, the photos are always rectangular, with no exceptions. Undoubtedly art directed and masterfully crafted, each one of these photos is complex while still feeling simple. The actual recipe is almost never the only component to the photo, with the creative and photo directors utilizing silverware and the meal’s ingredients ascomplementary elements. With that said, the arrangement always feels natural, as if the photo was taken in a reader’s own home, further inviting them into the magazine to enjoy the meals the staff has created for the issue. Interestingly enough, there is rarely any humans consuming or interacting with the food. Their focus is on the recipe itself and that remains true throughout the entire magazine.
Additionally, the lighting is always clean and bright, still utilizing shadows and levels of contrast, but in a manner that would reflect a nice family kitchen over a professional photo studio. In terms of color, considering Cooking Light has recently pushed towards healthier meals, all of the photography is vibrant and inviting due to the range of foods incorporated into each dish. Food is naturally a subject that has the potential to provide beautiful coloring and Cooking Light most certainly uses that to their advantage. With that said, the creative directors are smart about the way they shoot, always leaving room for some text placement in case a caption is needed or a designer wants to use the photo as the background for a spread. While there are no illustrations or other graphic elements, the photography is beautiful and prominent enough on every page that it more than satisfies any need a reader may have.