Whether you’re an aspiring food blogger, influencer or enthusiastic food explorer, these food photography tips will help you capture the perfect shot.
There is something about the visual presentation of a stacked gourmet burger dripping with sauce, or garlic butter melting over a perfectly prepared fillet of fish that gets your audience salivating and engaged. A picture tells a story. Food photography has become increasingly popular on social media, which abounds with shots of delicious dinners prepared at home, healthy lunches to be savoured at the office, or a decadent dessert at the best coffee shop in town. Want to know how to keep your friends and followers drooling at your pictures? Have a look at these 7 food photography tips.
1. Lighting is key
No matter how good your food looks, it’ll be difficult to capture if you don’t have a good source of light. You absolutely don’t need to invest in fancy artificial lights for food photography – use the natural light around you and move around to find the best position. Try to use one main light source if possible as this will help your food pop. For example, set yourself up next to a well-lit window and turn off any other lights in the room or close the curtains over other windows.
Avoid front lighting as this washes out your dish and makes it look flat and boring. Rather go for side- or backlighting as these highlight texture and add dimension to your dish. Play around with harsh, direct light on a sunny day and diffuse light on a cloudy day to get a feel of how the quality of light can affect the mood of your image.
2. Vary your angle
Always experiment with your shot. Be creative and try think out of the box to show the food from different perspectives. Look at the dish from directly overhead, angled and front-on as well as close-up and further away – then decide which highlights the dish best.
3. Make the food your focus
Remove any unnecessary clutter from your surface in order to make the food your focus. Too many items, like plates, bowls and cutlery, can distract from the food. That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t use any props in your image. Be particular about what you use and make sure they are complementing the food rather than distracting from it. A well-placed knife or cloth napkin can breathe life into an image. Use simple, plain and neutral-coloured items as your go-to food props. Big patterns, ornate designs, busy textures and bright colours can detract focus from the food.
4. Take your shot when your food is in its ‘best served’ state
If food is best eaten hot, then take your shot as it comes out of the oven so you can capture it when it’s steaming or bubbling. Likewise, an iced coffee should be snapped while it’s still cold and condensation has formed on the glass.
5. Control the mess
Smudged glasses, dirty cutlery and splotches of sauce can give your photo an unappetising feel. However, there is a place for ‘controlled mess’, like crumbling a cookie next to a cappuccino or dripping caramel around a tarte Tatin. This helps to create a story and makes the food more mouth-watering.
6. Use visual cues
One of the most powerful food photography tips is to give the audience a hint about what the food tastes like through visual cues. If you’re photographing lemon poppy muffins, place a halved lemon in your shot or grate some lemon zest over the muffins. If you’re capturing a mug of hot chocolate, throw on a thick jumper and include your hands in the photo to reinforce the warmth and comfort of the drink. Adding visual cues and human elements will catch people’s attention and draw them into your photo.
7. You don’t need an expensive camera
The good news is that you don’t need an expensive camera or fancy equipment to take beautiful food shots. Phones nowadays have fantastic cameras, and there is a huge range of cameras available for different budget brackets. Always remember that it’s a good photographer that takes good pictures, not a fancy camera.
Did you put these food photography tips into practice? Tag us @foodandhomesa #cookingwithFH on Instagram
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