Food Blogger Spotlight: Charity Lynne Burggraaf

For the next installment of our Food Blogger Spotlight, I’m interviewing Seattle’s upcoming food photography superstar: Charity Burggraaf. I highly recommend you check out her amazing portfolio at, and you can keep up with her daily adventures on her food photography blog.

I’ve been trying to come up with an adjective to describe Charity’s work, and all I can say is that it sings. Her sense of color and light is absolutely captivating. I mean, just look at the photos peppering this post! It’s no wonder she’s racked up an impressive resume in a relatively short period of time, with her photos appearing in Culture, Seattle Magazine and others. She really adheres to her mission statement: “I strive for beauty, integrity, and quality in every image I create and in everything I do.”

Ok, I’m done gushing. Please welcome Charity, as she share a glimpse of her blogging (and photographing!) life.

We all have staples that we couldn’t live without. What three ingredients do you *always* have in your kitchen and why? I’m not talking snacks like chips and hummus, but rather ingredients you use all the time in your cooking.

I am a huge fan of garlic, it is the base of nearly every savory “made-up” meal that I create. That and jalapeno – fresh jalapeno chopped up.  I always try to incorporate it into things, because I’ve been told they are good for you, and I believe it! Plus they add a nice little kick that lets your taste buds know they are alive. 

And lastly, chocolate chips. I don’t incorporate them into everything I make (obviously), but when a recipe calls for chocolate or looks like it should, I will add twice the amount – every time.  My boyfriend hates that I do this and at times it has backfired on me and become a gooey mess, but it was a chocolate gooey mess – which means there is no harm, no foul.

Imagine you moved to the smallest apartment possible – a shoebox, really – and you only had room for a single cookbook. Of all your cookbooks, which one would you keep? Why do you love it so? 

I’ve always been partial to The Betty Crocker Cookbook, that hard bound, red one that has been around for years.  Mostly for the cookie and quick bread recipes, since I’m not sure if I’ve even ventured into any of the other dishes.  Growing up, I only needed a cookbook for baking cookies and such, so I never used it to create meals – those sorts of things I just made up in my head. I suppose having that cookbook around would be nice so that I could always make the peanut butter cookies that I made as a child, or the banana bread that I would routinely make as a teenager.

Humans are visual creatures, and great images are a huge part of a blog’s draw. What makes your personal photographic style uniquely yours? What elements do you think set your images apart from other pro food photographers?

My blog has a lot to do with my photography, as it is a food photography blog.  I consider my style to be clean and simple almost to the point of it becoming a graphic element to some degree.  I’ve been told that my work is very pop-y and cheerful, which I suppose gives my images character and a little life, even if they are on a white or plain background.  I don’t know what more to say about that really… I like to experiment from time to time, go in different directions with my photography, find work I admire and try to recreate it in my own unique way.  I think that helps me grow as a photographer and keeps things fresh on the blog as well.  That’s what is so fun about a blog, you can play!

Blogs have the potential to be so many things, from personal journals to outrageous adventure reports. What is the most important thing you put into your blog, and what is the most important thing you get out of it?

What I have found to be the most important thing to put into a blog is you heart.  Which was something I tried to separate from my writing for a long time on my blog (might sound strange, but I didn’t want to get too emotional – as it is my work).  But I was amazed at the amount of support I got when I decided to open myself up a bit and talk about my mom and her battle with breast cancer this past year.  Come to find out that my most popular posts often don’t have to do with food at all! 

I’ve found that people are interested in my life, and not just my work. Heck, if they wanted to see my work they could visit my website!  I’m learning that by opening myself up, it in turn creates a sense of community and a great support system of foodies and photographers – something I’ve often heard about and been a part of on the outside – but I’m still in awe of it happening on my own little blog.  And I’m grateful for it.

Thanks for visiting, Charity!

Click here for more Food Bloggers Spotlight interviews.

Here are a few of my favorite posts from Charity’s Blog:

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Comments from other ninjas:

      • Ola says

        Do you know what kind of camera and lenses does she uses? Does she has any photoshop tips to share? Her work looks delicious!

        • Charity says

          Hi Ola,

          Currently, I am using a bit of a ‘dinosaur’ of a camera body (for photog standards…or maybe just my own?) – the 30D Canon. I plan to change to a full frame before the end of this next year. But it all goes to show that it’s more about your lens than the body itself. Two of my most favorite lenses are the 24-70mm f/2.8 L-series, and the 35mm f/1.4 L-series – beautiful glass = clear/sharp images.
          As far as photoshop goes – I am OCD about color correction. I don’t like showing any of my work until I’ve sat down and corrected the color in ‘levels’ by number. A great tool I learned from an old friend – who is also a photographer, and color blind(!). Being a photographer, it might be funny to say this, but – I don’t trust my eyes – especially when it comes to color casts.

          I hope this helps!

          • steph says

            Thanks for this, dear! Very helpful. :) You might consider giving online classes – a good way to supplement your income!

  1. Kelly says

    Stephanie – what a wonderful interview. I’m so glad you brought Charity to my attention. Beautiful photography! I can’t wait to spend some time at both of her sites.

  2. Mickey says

    Thanks for sharing Charity with more of the world. We think she’s amazing and know what a talent she is and all that she brings to the world!!

    Her step-mom, Mickey

  3. ReadyMom says

    Beautiful pictures–I actually started salivating on that last one. Now, I’m hungry! As always, great interview. I’m glad she thinks chocolate is a pantry staple. But as a fellow chocoholic, I’m wondering if she has a favorite variety.
    .-= Check out ReadyMom

    • Charity says

      generally anything over 70% cocoa – the darker the better, to a certain extent (I like a little sugar) – I just tried Patrick Rogers Chocolates here in Paris, and they were AMAZING!…might have to bring a few bars home :)

  4. Meredith Resnick - The Writer's [Inner] Journey says

    Charity’s work is art. I can see the power of a linking a wonderful food writer with a wonderful photographer – it’s easy to see the draw of cookbooks. Thanks Steph and Charity!
    .-= Check out Meredith Resnick – The Writer’s [Inner] Journey