We’ve all experienced it before; taken a photo of a delicious meal only to realize that it looks blurry and the colors are not true to life. Well, each one of us is at a different stage of our food photography journey, and we have had great food photography tips from individuals who’ve walked the walk before us. Here are the most common food photography tips and tricks that most professional food photographers share with beginners.
1. Shoot with Proper Lighting
When it comes to food photography lighting, using natural light is the key to creating drool-inducing food photos. Nine times out of ten, the perfect set-up when shooting indoors is next to a window with a white curtain. The purpose of the curtain is to diffuse light behind and slightly above the subject.
Color is extremely important in food photography; you want the colors of the plate, food and backdrop elements to be as vivid as possible. Illuminating your subject with artificial light will most likely create an unsightly yellow or orange color cast in your image.
Remember: Shooting in bright sun will most likely lead to exposure issues and cast harsh shadows on the subject.
2. Add the Human Element
Adding a human element is one of the important food photography tips. This technique helps to establish context. Additionally, it helps to create a sense of movement. Use this technique to create food photographs that your viewers will find appealing and real.
3. Invest in a Good Lens
So what is the best lens for food photography? Well, when making food photographs, you need a fast lens that will help you get those close up mouthwatering shots. Since this conversation will touch on the ‘crop factor,’ I’ll have to mention something on the best camera for food photography. Does your camera have a cropped sensor or a full frame sensor?
Unfortunately most food photographers do not know whether they are using a camera with a cropped sensor or a full frame sensor. Feel free to read more on the crop factor of your camera; Google has numerous articles on this. To know how your lens will look when taking pictures (assuming that your camera has a crop factor of 1.5x) take the focal length of your lens and multiply it by 1.5x.
4. Use a Tripod
Using a tripod is an important tip that usually comes up each time the topic how to take food pictures comes up. Beginner photographers view the tripod as a piece of equipment that is extremely limiting in the creative process. Well, that is just wrong.
While a tripod may not be required for every single shot, having one will help you produce consistent photographs that are cleaner, crisper and creative. A tripod frees up your hands; this allows you to adjust your frame easily and use slower shutter speed without worrying about blurriness resulting from involuntary hand movement.
5. Keep it Simple
This is also another one of the important food photography tips that food photographers should remember each time they are making food photos. Keep things very simple. Take out all the unnecessary clutter that might cause visual distraction from the table.
It is easy to overcomplicate the set with bowls, knives, wine glasses bread, etc. but before that happens, remember that the strongest food photographs are usually simple; without too many props or excessive staging.
6. Understand that the Background is Important
This is another important element in food photography that we had to include in this list of food photography tips. If you choose a background that is too colorful, it might draw the user’s attention away from the food. Therefore, try a relatively neutral background to ensure that maximum emphasis is on the food.
7. Take Photos from Multiple Angles
If you are looking to create some of the best food photographs, it is important to try different angles of view in the shots you take. Some plates of food have a strong graphic identity, and the only way to make them look striking is by shooting them from directly overhead. A good example of such foods is pizza. Foods with intricate layers look better when shot side on.
Get creative and move the plate around as you take photos at various angles.
8. Mind the Depth of Field
Depth of field is an important element of photography; therefore it is important that you familiarize yourself with it before capturing food photographs. DOF is the range of distance in focus within a particular shot.
In food photography, shooting at different F/stops will give you different levels of focus (of depth of field). Shallow depth of focus field has only a smaller portion of the subject in focus. A photograph with a medium depth of field has a good portion of the subject in focus while a deep depth of field has everything within focus. So feel free to mix it up.
9. Post Processing
Although this is not that necessary, we saw it wise to include it in our list of tips for food photography. Post processing will help you enhance the color and mood of your image. This way, your food will look fresh and real.
This list of food photography tips would be incomplete without mentioning something about practice. The easiest way to become better at something is through practice. Since we eat several times a day, you have lots of opportunities to practice.
Do not be afraid of making mistakes; practice and then practice some more.
Now that you have read these simple tips on food photography, we hope that they will help you make some mouth-watering food images. If you have any ideas on how to photograph food, please share it/them with us.