I have had a lot of people ask me about food photography. I thought I would take this opportunity to talk about just that… FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY. This is very much an art in itself. I consider myself very much an amateur at this but I really enjoy it.
I have spoken to numerous photographers getting tips as well as reading manuals and articles on how to take amazing food photography.
For all the people out there like myself, I have put together a list of top tips on what I do to try and take great pictures. I hope these help you the next time you flip open the lens and take a shot of your meal.
Food Photography Tips
- Stabilize your camera. Use a tripod, or prop your camera on a high-back chair to help reduce the photo’s blurriness. This will eliminate the camera shake, you can also use a timer on the camera to be sure.
- Try to cut foods in somewhat geometric shapes for a more professional presentation. I also like to use the stacking technique depending on the dish.
- Arrange items on plate in a manner that showcases the strengths of a dish and its high-value ingredients. I get this from obsessively watching the food network.
- Garnish the dish to enhance the color. Adding chopped parsley or chives gives spaghetti green specks that bring out the red color of the sauce. Adding a lemon wedge to a piece of fish kicks it up and gives it some zest. Or, consider ladling a sauce on the plate underneath the food, or over the items on the plate.
- Place your dish in a setting which will enhance the dish’s overall appearance. Place the dish on a flat-colored background, such as a uni-colored table cloth or table surface. I myself like to use a white background and a white table cloth and normally my white square plate. If taking a picture from a side-angle, make sure the picture’s background will not distort the food in the foreground.
- Use as much natural light as possible. A camera flash will actually distort food pictures more often than it will enhance them. Try moving your dish into a well-lit area and have a portable lamp close at hand to prop above the dish. Old school Cooking has a five bulb light overhead shining 300 watts of crisp light. My photographer friend said that food can never really have too much lighting just be careful of shadows.
- Carefully choose the best angle for taking the picture. Examine the shape and features of your dish, to determine whether it looks best from overhead or from a side angle. Often, taking straight on shots of a dish doesn’t highlight the dish’s more appealing features.
- Zoom in so the dish fills as much of the picture as possible. Because I am an amateur I also like to use he macro setting for close ups as opposed to the manual focus.
- Work Quickly: food only looks really appealing for a short period of time. Ice cream melts. Veggies droop. Lettuce wilts. So you need to work fast. Even with the best-case scenario, you won’t have more than 10-15 minutes from the moment the food exits the pan or fridge to get your shot. Being well prepared really helps, and having a helper there to plate and dress is invaluable. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different angles, settings, and garnishes nonetheless.
- Remember: practice makes perfect.
Here are some food sites that focus on amazing food pictures:
- Food Gawker
- Taste Spotting
- Photo Grazing
I hope everyone found these tips useful and will try some of them out in the future. I would like to ask everyone, what is their best technique they found when taking pictures. Share your techniques and we can add to the list.
Keep smiling and have a great Wednesday!