I am not a professional photographer and whatever I’ve learned about Food Photography is based on observation; from watching other professional photographers shoot for hours just to get it right. What I learned from them is that one needs to have a strong passion for what they do. I’m sure all you food bloggers reading this have it inside you too! Today I’ll try and share a few tips which may help you improve your photography.
When we speak of any meal, it predominantly consists of starters, the main course, and the dessert. There may be a variation to this with a 7-course or even an 11-course meal, depending on how creative one gets with food. After all, a Chef is God when it comes to food. He creates a recipe in his mind, assembles the raw material, decides and prepares the dishes accordingly, and infuses them with his love of food to give it the best look. A typical Foodie first eats the food with his eyes, then with his nose (inhales the flavors), then with his hands (feels the food), and finally with the mouth (the tongue helps him decide the taste of the dish).
6 Tips to Make Your Food Photography Good Enough to Eat
Use Your Imagination and Common Sense
The important point to note here is that food is first eaten by the eyes and hence it has to look fresh, appealing, tempting, inviting and attractive the person eating it. Once the Chef has done his job, it’s up to the food photographer to show it to the world through his lens. What better way to do this than through the use of his vivid imagination and common sense while shooting the particular dish.
Plate of the Food
The most important factor when shooting food photography is the plating of the food. Use a white plate only when you are undoubtedly sure that it doesn’t have even the slightest dark spot anywhere on the dish. The food photograph can be edited later to remove that drop of sauce or that extra pepper particle spilled around, but remember that it’s a tool to help you and a good photographer will use it at a minimum, trying to get the best from his lens instead.
Natural Light is Best
Use natural light to shoot your food. If you don’t have natural daylight available (if shooting at night), create the daylight effect with artificial lights. You can do this by having light falling from one end of the room/table to the other. That way the shadows are natural and give the food the needed depth, which no artificial lights could possibly give. Remember that food photography looks best in natural light so use it as your trump card when shooting food pics. Just ensure that light is diffused and spread evenly so as to enhance the picture quality.
Give Your Dish Balance by Changing Up the Background
Change the background as per the dish to be shot, as this gives your shots a much-needed balance. Remember, we are serving up an appetizing image, instead of a cooked dish they can actually eat, so the look and feel on his mind should be the same as that of the live food. When you are snapping desserts pics, try and keep the background neutral and calm in most cases. When shooting spicy dishes as the main course try to spice things up by adding a contrasting background. This will enhance the vibrant color of the dish and make it stand out. You can use sheets, tiles, wooden boards, wood strips or woven mats in order to get the right effect. The bottom line is to keep changing the background to suit the dish being photographed.
Try Different Angles
Use different camera angle at least twice while snapping your shots. A certain amount of depth and scale is created due to the angle you use to snap your pic and you can work on getting it better day by day. Food is the best friend of a photographer because it does not get bored or walk away if you keep trying to shoot it from various angles to get that near perfect image. Take advantage of this and keep passionately clicking. Ideally, take an overhead shot of the dish and one more at a 30 degree or slightly lower angle so that the dish is captured in full, as well as in its element.
Make Your Pic Look Like the Real Deal
Let your pic speak for itself! When you’re shooting ice cream a little bit of melting makes the ice cream shot look like the real deal. Two or three hard scoops next to each other may look too crisp when we imagine ice-cream. At the same time, make sure to keep replacing the dish with fresh ice cream as you click away (the ice cream should not appear totally melted). Similarly, when you are shooting cakes or cookies, it is understood that these are baked items and will crumble a bit. So make it a point to slice a piece of cake or break of a piece of cookie and place it separately so that the viewer can enjoy it the same as if he were eating it.
These are just some basic food photography tips I shared with you today. Please do give them a try and feel free to post any comments, question and/or suggestions you have in the comments section below. I’ll try my best to help you achieve food photography perfection!
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Did you know that we recently discussed photo tips on our latest Twitter #IBAChat? We’ll be sharing all these tips on Instagram too, so check us out there – click here. And while you’re visiting our Instagram account, make sure to enter our #BetterPics photo challenge.
You should also know that we have loads more photo tips coming your way so stay tuned!
Our next post for Let’s Make Your Blog Awesome, an IBA original learning series inspired by real bloggers, will be focusing on the pairing of blogging and photography. This article should run on May 4th.
And if you’re still shooting photos with your smartphone, not to worry, we have food photography tips for you too!
10 Ways to Guarantee Great Food Photos with Your Smartphone is coming your way on May 6th. So be on the lookout for that great post as well.
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