Q&A With Food Blogger Sophie Musoki, Creator of 'A Kitchen in Uganda'
Meet Sophie, food photographer, stylist, cook and writer whose fascination with the art of cooking and food preparation is beautifully conveyed in her blog, ‘A Kitchen in Uganda’. Originally from Uganda, now based in Jamaica, Sophie gets back to her roots with her inspiring recipes that pay homage to indigenous, local African ingredients. Beautifully shot, Sophie is in equal measures a wonderful cook and a skilled photographer - I invite you to get lost in her deliciously indulgent Instagram page. Here we find out what inspires Sophie and what makes her style unique.
Q&A with Sophie Musoki
Can you tell me a little about A Kitchen in Uganda?
A Kitchen in Uganda is a food blog that aspires to highlight local produce, especially indigenous harvest, turning it into scrumptious enjoyable meals with a modern twist. It celebrates the art of preparing food and fusing foods from different cultures across the globe with either Ugandan cuisine, or ingredients found in the country and the neighbouring countries and regions. Its aim is to introduce Ugandan cuisine to the world while inspiring Ugandans to embrace their food and get creative with their meals. The blog was birthed out of a combination of a lack of online food media representing Uganda and my love for all things food. It has slowly evolved and grown into a voice of authority and representation of African food, especially Ugandan food. Because of this, it is important to me that every photograph I shoot tells a story.
Which is your favourite photo you have shot and why?
My favourite photos change as time goes by because each day I learn something new that I then apply to the photography to make the photos better. With that said, I think my favourite photo right now is this photo of Katogo because this is the food I grew up eating and shooting it brings back childhood nostalgia.
What equipment do you use?
I use a Canon D600 with the trusty 50MM Lens and a Platinum Tripod. I prefer the setup to be as simple as possible so I can focus (pun intended!) on the subject.
You regularly use a dark background for your food shots, what inspired this style choice?
I have always been drawn to dark and moody photos because they convey the mood I want my viewers to feel much better compared to light photos. Also the dark background makes it possible for the vibrant and complex colors in food to fully shine. Shooting dark and moody photos also helps me understand light and how to manipulate it to get the best shots.
What are your top 3 food styling tips?
The background you are using can make or break a photo. Having different backgrounds to experiment with is important.
Make sure your food is colourful. If it is not, then use colourful props to contrast the the muted colours.
Layering adds character to an image. When I learnt this trick it changed the way I styled my photos for the better. Layering can take an image from boring to complex and interesting.
What is the first thing you consider when styling your food?
What mood am I trying to convey? What do I want the viewers to feel when they see the photo? These two questions then set the foundation for everything else that follows; from the type of dishes I choose to use, the kind of lighting I am aiming for and the props I select.
What do you think is the most underrated ingredient?
Banana leaves. Although they are not necessarily an ingredient, they are so versatile, add an interesting flavor to food and are great for food styling.
What is your signature dish?
Rolex! I can make rolex in my sleep ha!
Have you had any food photography disasters?
Yes. Almost all the time. For every photo I post, about three have not made the cut. The only way to overcome this to keep on practicing and trying again and again.
Do you have any advice for food photographers starting out?
One thing to keep in mind is that it will take time to see the desired results of your work. The more you practice, the better you become.