Food Photography Tips for Serious Food Photographers

food photography tips

Food Photography Tips for Serious Food Photographers

If you desire to take attractive photographs of food for a commercial purpose or just for learning, you can go through these food photography tips. Technically speaking the genre of food photography involves photographing still food for a magazine, product, cookbook or some professional purpose. It is done using the collaborative team effort where similar to a movie production a director, food stylist, theme designer, photographer, prop assistants and other skilled individuals are involved.

Today we will talk about some tips for food photography that will help you take serious food photographs for commercial usage:

Best camera for food photography

For commercial food photography, the camera choice is very crucial as it directly affects how well or bad the photograph will be. Starting from the DSLR cameras to the simple point and shoot cameras all have their own roles to play while photographing food.  For food photography we are not concerned about factors like low light shots or HD video quality. All we require is very crisp and good image quality which is only possible if the camera used has a good megapixel count and a large sensor.

Best lens for food photography

For taking photograph of food one must keep in mind that when a viewer watches this photograph he or she is reminded of the taste, aroma and memories related to that particular food. Hence, only a lens allowing a wide angle and adequate zoom can show the food properly when photographed. There is no point in shooting food with a long zoom lens. It is recommended to use a macro lens which blows up an image in the ratio of 1: 1 thus creating a real close and detailed photograph.

food photography lighting

Food photography lighting

For creating some mouth-watering food photography not much lighting tools are required.  The look of the food in the photograph must make the viewers stomach crumbles for the food and for this look and feel you require one diffused light source. One can give the food a natural look with a reflector and a single light source.

A little experimenting by changing the direction of the light and tweaking the intensities of the light can create endless lighting options and scenes for your photograph. Food photography lighting setup involves everything related to the choice of camera, lens, equipment’s like the tripod, bouncer cards, lighting conditions and post processing tweaking and editing.

Experiment with camera angles

Just like in portrait photography we play with camera angles so can be done with food. However, what you are conceptualizing inside your mind to photograph might not make up a good photo when clicked. That is the reason you must never snap a food dish in just one angle. Experiment and try out different vantage points to shoot your food. For shooting for clients it is highly important to try shooting food photographs in a variety of camera angles.

food photography tutorial

Depth of field

It is a natural tendency to shoot food in natural lighting using an open aperture. Shooting at open apertures create lovely soft, depth of field in the background.

Food photography props

Some of the must have props that you can have at your disposal to augment the look of the food are small sized food containers of different size, color and shapes, some soft color and textured mugs and jars, plates, a nice solid wooden cutting board, some silvery or glass finished crockery, herbs and green veggies for additional styling.

There are people who along with the food even love using lifestyle items like a camera, books, stationery etc. It all depends on the purpose of the shot being taken. A Food photography setup is the most crucial factor which either brings your viewer towards the photograph or does nothing at all.

food photography techniques

Some unique food photography techniques you can try your hands on:

There are a huge pool of food photography tutorial that you will come across. Various people use various techniques. Use the one that suits you the best as per the objective of your shoot. Whether you are shooting at home or for someone professional try out being creative and create the perfect mood so you can draw the viewer to the photograph. Let us read some techniques and try using them in real:

Choice of angle

Generally working on a story while photographing food helps give the photos a meaning. A very important aspect while doing this is to find out an appropriate camera angle. The angle must be such that even after looking at the photograph over and over again the viewer must not be bored. Some of the best food photography tips is to judge the physical properties of the food first. Understand and look at the food to find out in which angle it looks its best.

tips for food photography

Composition

It is the most important aspect one must take into account while photographing food. By zooming in very close to the dish, rotating your camera into different axis and by using the basic rule of thirds help giving your food photographs a professional look.  The best part about food photography is that the subject is static and will not run away.

Hence, a photographer can give ample time to construct the composition as per his choice. Walking around the table, zooming at angles , poking and changing position of food elements all can prove to be adding up to the final photograph.

Focus the subject

When you are photographing food from front try playing with the foreground and background elements also. Surround the main food delicacy with things related to the food like ingredients, tools, utensils etc. This adds depth to the entire story.

food photography equipment

Light is your king

A nice food photo can get ruined with improper usage of lights. While taking photograph of a dish under direct sunlight coming from the window, you must make sure to use a diffuser or a thin white sheet in between the table and the window.  This will soften hard light, smooth out dark edges and bright the highlighted areas. Also, you can make use of black cards and white cards to create soft shadows under the plate or surrounding areas.

Lines and layers

Like a well composed story, in food photography also props are used to accentuate the depth of the photo. But many times the actual subject which is the food gets lost amidst props. Using some lines and layers with the help of various cutleries used while cooking can help direct the viewer’s eyes towards the subject. The layering effects created by adding props help the viewer to look at the hero of the photo which is the food.

food photography tips

Color must be preserved

While garnishing the entire composition with props make sure to never use brighter colors on the props. Bright colors on props can easily take away the focus of the viewer from the food towards the prop. Choose neutral toned props and neutral backgrounds will grab all the viewer’s attention to the main subject and that is the food.

This genre of photography related to taking photograph of foods for commercial purpose or for hobby requires a constant understand that less is more over here. Unlikely like portraits, landscape or black and white photography where we add lights creating magical dark and shadows, food photography does not require these. To make the food the hero or the star of the photograph is the best food photography tips one can always keep in mind.

Photo Credit: Michael Stern

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