In this day and age, everyone is a photographer to a varying degree.
The most popular subjects are people, pets, landscapes and food and the most common landing spot for those snapshots is social media. While beautiful scenery, portraits and fur babies are great, nothing stops the newsfeed scroll quite like an eye-catching food photo.
But as simple as it may seem, food photography is surprisingly complex. After all, how do you expect to capture the smells and flavors of a dish in a picture? A thoughtless approach can make even the most delicious culinary creations look unappetizing, so use the following tips to make your followers drool over your next #foodporn post.
Don’t Stress the Tech Stuff
High-end cameras and quality lenses don’t guarantee good photos. After all, they are merely tools at the disposal of the photographer. What really matters is how you “see” a potential photograph. Emphasize core elements like angles, composition and exposure and you can achieve amazing results with a smartphone camera. If you do have the luxury of having multiple lenses to choose from, opt for those with large apertures (f/2.8 or lower) for nice, blurry backgrounds or a macro lens, which lets you get real close to the subject to bring out all the delicious details.
Light ’em up!
Breaking down the word photography, you have “photo,” which refers to light, and “graphy,” which refers to the process of recording. So photography is really the recording of an image using light. With that said, light will always be the most important element when taking pictures. Natural light is the most convenient, and often the most visually pleasing, option so find a large window to bathe the dish with bright, soft light. If a window isn’t accessible, don’t be afraid to bring your own light source in the form of a portable LED light or external flash. Just avoid aiming the light directly at the subject – light coming from an angle creates depth and adds drama to a photo.
Change your perspective
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different angles when photographing food – or any subject for that matter. Pointing the camera directly at something can result in plain, boring photos, so try an overhead shot or shoot from a lower angle for added scale. Try some close-up shots but also back up and take a wide-angle photo that tells more of a story of the meal to be consumed.
Presentation is key
Just like people, food can have a “best side.” If that side isn’t properly displayed, don’t hesitate to move things around. Add outside elements like silverware and glasses to create a more complete aesthetic or remove unwanted items for a more minimalistic look. Keep an eye out for complementary colors that will add an extra pop to the photo. Do you want a balanced composition or an asymmetrical look? Can’t decide? Try both. This is where you can let your personal creativity shine!
It’s all in the details
Little “imperfections” like crumbs or pieces of food that fall off the plate add character to a static subject. In fact, food stylists will add flaws to achieve a desired look. The same goes for inserting colorful garnishes or syrupy drizzles to monochrome items like desserts. The smallest additions can have the biggest impact.
Everyone is a food photographer at some point. Even those with the strongest wills will fall prey to a beautifully plated, mesmerizing dish. Utilizing the tips mentioned will leave you a cut above the rest. ￼