Do you cook delicious food only to find your photos don’t do it justice? I feel your pain, I’ve been there. Here are 5 quick tips to transform your food photos – making the food look as good as it tastes.
1. Step back
When we get our camera out, it’s tempting to fill the whole frame with food. But this can overwhelm the viewer as we rarely look at food that closely with our eyes. So don’t do it with your camera.
The shot on the right is calmer, you can see the whole dish and the image creates interest by telling a ‘story’.
A garnish can bring a shot to life. It can be as simple as a spring of parsley. Garnishes don’t always have to be green. The contrasting red chilli on the right lifts the shot and gives it depth.
3. Time and story
Professional photographers can spend one day on one shoot, finishing with just 3 or 4 shots they are happy with. That’s an impossible time commitment for most of us. But do spend time perusing your overall composition, adding or removing props (things in the shot that are additional to the food itself), checking light and shadow, changing the angle to shoot from. What will best highlight your wonderful food creation? What’s the story of your food?
A story helps capture the attention of your audience and tells more about the food itself. Here’s what I mean. The image on the left is the dessert of a formal party. The tablecloth, candles, glasses and bottle all tell the story. On the right is a relaxed pudding for two. The plain table and tea towel creates a more intimate, relaxed scene.
4. Natural light
The risotto on the left was taken using only kitchen lighting. The pudding on the right was taken using daylight through a window – even in a Scottish winter, the light pours over the food. Natural light easily creates the best images.
5. Two heads
Food photographers often work with a food stylist and a prop stylist. When I can’t get a shot to work, I call in help. A different pair of eyes can sometimes add or change a detail to make an otherwise indifferent image a truly winning one.
My favourite food photography books
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There are lots of food photography books out there. This one is my favourite. It has without a doubt transformed my photography. After working with this book, people started to tell me my photos looked professional. It is written in an easy to understand way. It’s also an eBook so you don’t have to wait for the postman. You can start improving immediately!
The Food Photography Book spoke to me in a way I could suddenly understand. Nagi discusses cameras and lens, her props and backgrounds. She shows you lots of different set ups and the simple techniques you can use to achieve amazing photos. Also included is a shoot checklist which I still use every time I take a photo.
This book is a great resource and it’s only US$29. I just wish I had found this book earlier; click below to find out more.
Prefer to print this post and have it to hand, then get the