Getting people to react to your food photograph needs more than a background in the cooking arts. You need to be able to marry your skills in the kitchen with good photography.
As food stylists for cookbooks, magazines, restaurants, and food companies, those involved in food photography will often be asked to capture the emotions that entice people to fall in love with food.
Because people can’t actually touch and taste the food in your photo, you need to freeze every aroma and angle in the photography composition. Plus, you need to be able to make your cuisine images stand out amidst the crowd.
Here are ten food photography tips and techniques that will come in handy when you’re trying to land a work opportunity or wow the world with insanely great photos!
**For a beginners guide to mastering food photography,I would recommend spending some time on this food photography blog.**
10 Tips for Great Food Photography
- Think Hard about your Approach Angle
You may have noticed that certain angles keep being repeated in a series of culinary images. You don’t want to photograph a bundt cake from the bottom. But you’ve still got 180 degrees to choose from.
Before you settle on an angle, carefully consider the dimensions of the item you’re photographing. If you’re passionate about food, you’ll quickly get what makes this food so eatable.
Now experiment with various angles within your view and find out which one captures that eat-worthy feature. Is it the size of the burger dripping with delicious cream? Is it the daintiness of fluffed cupcakes?
Can a side view capture all the rich ingredients of the dish?
Unfurl that taco if you have to, to tell the complete story. Whatever grabs your attention, make sure that you match the intent of the stand-out feature with the photo composition.
- Experiment with Distance
We usually imagine food as being kept on top of a table at seating height. Change the stereotype by placing the dish on the floor or on top of a shelf. Use a rack or a slab of wood or marble to elevate or depress images shot from the top.
You can also zoom in on people eating from a distance or use large focal lengths (between 100 – 200 mm) to close up the texture of walnuts in cream.
Trying out different heights and distances frees your arms to capture different angles from a comfortable position and get creative in the process.
- Add Props to Infuse Mood
Props can really enhance too much negative space in your photograph. Put in individual ingredients, cups, mugs, small bowls of sauce, herbs, petals, tumblers, knives, forks, or spoons to surround the food. This setup will give the connoisseur an idea of what effort went into making her dish.
- Utilize Negative Space
Empty spaces can sometimes come in handy in giving the appearance of a composite whole to a complicated food item or an elaborate dish. Negative spaces give the impression of isolation. This technique is convenient when you want to highlight bright ingredients in the food.
- Even Lighting
Too much direct sunlight or glare from ceiling lights can sometimes take the focus off food texture. Use diffusers between the subject and the source of light to highlight surface contours. Also, you can use your DSLR metering to brighten dark spots. See how lighting affects photographs here.
- Study the Frame
Use substitute foods to get the angle and distance right. You can throw the dummy food and replace it with the original once you’ve got the supposed frame elements in place. Divide your frame into blocks and, preferably use a tripod to eliminate camera shake.
- Arrange elements by Lines and Layers
There ought to be at least three layers to your presentation, these being sanitary elements (napkins, towels), cutlery, and seasonings (herbs, spices, sauce, ingredients). Ensure that items are arranged in neat lines or angles that direct the eye toward the food being photographed.
- Contrast Background/Prop Colors
Add balance and contrast to your composition by employing classic table and tupperware, vintage utensils, kitchen knives, and slabs. This positioning will direct the viewer’s attention to the food hero.
- Edit your Picture
Change the color saturation of your food image by using photo editing software, such as Adobe Lightroom. You may want to use more pristine white by varying white balance. Or you may want to add effects by withdrawing the brightness of particular background or foreground elements.
You can sharpen food components to make their photos assume more meaning. And, deepening your darker colors will give a dramatic effect.
- Adopt a Signature Style
There must be an element of yourself in your final photograph that reflects in all of your work. Add a flourish, a tone of color, or a pattern of prop arrangement that you have used to dramatic effect before.
All Photos by Ren Lenhof | Studio 29 Photography