7 Steps to beautiful food photography

February 19, 2016 (Last Updated: January 11, 2019)
Food photography flat lay

Take your food photography to the next level…

Whether you’re an aspiring food blogger or an enthusiastic food explorer who loves to capture and share your dining or cooking experiences, you know that the food shot is pivotal. There is just 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 only get your audience salivating and conjuring up those nostalgic emotions around food.

Keep your friends and followers drooling…

A picture tells a story. Storytelling around food on social media has become commonplace, with people happily sharing and interacting with each other over this delectable topic – food!

Facebook and Instagram abound with shots of ambitious dinners prepared at home, healthy lunches to be savoured at the office, or a decadent dessert or cake about to be devoured at the ‘best coffee shop’ in town.

According to Canon product manager Abri Kriegler, food photography has become the domain of every food lover. He offers these 7 great tips for getting that perfect food shot.

1. Use backlighting

Backlighting is crucial for illustrating texture and making your dish look appetizing. Lighting from the front can make the dish appear flat. Backlighting will create dimension, texture and highlight characteristics about the food, such as steam or smoke emanating from the food. You don’t need a fancy backlight to get the effect, use the light around you and create the best angles. Light streaming in from a window or an additional light that is well positioned from the side or behind will do the trick.

2. Vary your angle

You may have a picture in your head of how you want the shot to turn out, but always experiment with your shot. Be creative and show the food from different perspectives, giving depth to how people normally perceive food. Different angles; directly overhead, tilted, shooting into the edge of the plate or table, and so on.

3. Make the food your focus

Remove all the clutter on your surface area and make the dish your focus. Too many plates and/or flowers and/or cutlery and/or decoration on the table can distract from the food. Of course, if you are taking a photo of something you have prepared which doesn’t look as appealing when it is prepared – say for instance a veggie and fruit smoothie – then you may want to include some appealing props next to the glass.

4. Use simple and sensible props

Plain and simple plates, cutlery and raw ingredients make good props. Busy-patterned plates and table cloths can detract from your focus. When photographing a drink or a layered dessert, use a clear glass or dish that shows off the colour and layers. Props must also make sense to the drink or dish you are depicting.

5. Take your shot when your food is in its ‘best served’ state

This is common sense. If food is best eaten hot, when it’s steaming or dripping, take your shot when it has just been taken from the oven and as it’s being served. Likewise, an iced-coffee should be snapped while it’s still cold and condensation has formed on the glass.

6. Keep it clean unless it makes sense to have some mess

A dirty plate or bowl can make the dish appear less visually appealing and messy. Although, there are those times where you can create ‘managed mess’; like a crumbled cookie next to a cappuccino, or a sliver of steak already sliced on the plate.

7. Use great tools

The good news is that you don’t need a big fancy camera to take creative food shots that can rival those taken by pros. Canon’s new compact system EOS M10 Camera is ideal for food bloggers and anyone else who loves to capture their meal creations and consumptions. It combines Canon’s most advanced image processor, DIGIC 6, an 18-Megapixel sensor, and Hybrid CMOS AF II to deliver responsive handling and stunning image quality in both stills and Full HD Movies.

About the Canon EOS M10

The camera is easy to handle and boasts minimalistic controls and a 7.5 cm 3.0” LCD touchscreen, with customisable menus. Using Creative Assist Mode, less experienced photographers can easily master photographic controls. For experienced photographers who want more control, the EOS M10’s ergonomically situated Front Dial provides quick access to advanced settings, including Aperture and Shutter Speed.
For truly creative shooting, the screen itself tilts up to 180 degrees, ensuring hard to reach angles or low to the ground shots are never missed. Plus, when tipped to the maximum 180 degrees the camera launches Self Portrait Mode for high quality selfies.
Built in Wi-Fi connectivity allows for transferring and storing of photos and movies directly from the camera to Cloud Services and social media is effortless. Dynamic NFC also offers easy smartphone connectivity with a tap, letting you transfer and share images to your phone in an instant.

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