To provide a bit of a back story, I started taking pictures seriously about ten years ago—with "seriously" being defined as the point at which I started using non-point-and-shoot cameras and graduated to SLRs. The trigger was that some very good friends of mine were to be married in a super-small wedding and the only way to attend was to have an assigned task. They nominated me to be the photographer. Since I did not have one, I bought a camera as this seemed like a necessary part to the whole photographer role. Fast forward ten years and they are still married, we are still friends, and I still take pictures so I guess it all worked out.
The camera I purchased at that time was a Canon AE-1 Program film camera. I bought it used and it came with an FD 50mm f/1.8. I eventually expanded my kit to include a flash, the FD 24mm f/2.8, FD 50mm f/1.4, and FD 70-210 f/4 lenses, and a second body so I could have one loaded with color and the other with black and white. This remained my main workhorse system for about six years. Then, sometime around four years ago, I bit the bullet and picked up the Canon 40D, which is the camera I use to this current day.
I like this camera and it has served me well, but I have an almost sub-conscious yearning to return to the realm of full-frame cameras some day. As a result, I have a hard time committing to expanding my existing lens collection since I am always drawn to the full-frame EF lenses, but invariably the EF-S are a better fit for my 40D. The lenses I use on this site are the EF 28-135 kit lens and EF 50mm f/1.8 (I also have an EF-S10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 but this gets little use with respect to this site).
One of the aspects I enjoy about photography is the effort of attempting to capture an image of an object or environment the way I perceive it. Looking at the final “print”, this usually ends up being more miss than hit but the rare times everything comes together provides me motivation to keep photographing. Going to digital from a manual-focus film camera has made me something of a lazy photographer, in that I take many more pictures than I should instead of putting the time in during the shots to properly compose everything. I do try to envision the final print prior to releasing the shutter, rather than harvesting afterwards (note that we rarely, if ever, crop a picture for this site). My laziness extends to post-processing, in that most pictures to date have no post-processing other than what the camera does to produce a jpg (we do occasionally bump up the exposure in Picasa since some of the aggregation sites seem to prefer slightly more-exposed pictures these days). However, I have recently picked up Adobe Lightroom, so this may change in the future.
Until this site began, most pictures I took were either of people or objects, not of food. As I started to focus on food, the main item I had to learn more about was supplemental lighting. For those interested in learning more about lighting, I recommend going to strobist.blogspot.com as a good starting point. Also, checking out the strobist group on Flickr can be both helpful and inspirational as members will post photos they have taken and often will include the lighting setup used to accomplish the shots. When not using natural light, I use a remotely triggered speedlite/umbrella and monolight/softbox set-up (I have only just begun to investigate continuous-light sources).
I do not have many words of photography wisdom that cannot be found better stated many other places. These days you can literally find out how to do anything online. This is an amazing resource if you have the patience to track down what you are looking for. I like to browse food sites as well as general photography sites for ideas—note this also extends into the print world to cookbooks and the photography section at book stores.
Since we split the duties on the blog (cooking and arranging vs. photography) I think it is interesting to see how these play out in the blog. A photo on the site is what conveys the first exposure of a dish to a reader—it creates the first impression. However, at the end of the day what I feel is most important to a reader once they make a dish is “how does what I just made taste?”