What makes a good food picture? Ultimately, it has to look mouthwatering as it actually is. However, food photography isn’t as easy as it looks. You have to be detailed in every aspect to produce the perfect, blog-worthy food photo.
In today’s digital age, you probably have your smartphone camera ready to take a photo of the scrumptious meal on the table. But if you’re serious about learning the different techniques in food photography, you need a better gear to use. Invest in a portable DSLR camera like the Canon Rebel for taking high-quality photos when the lighting is far from ideal. It also has a touchscreen LCD that makes it easy to manually select the part of the frame that you want to focus on.
Want to learn more about food photography? Here are eight easy food photography tips and tricks to try:
Find Good Lighting. When taking food photos, good lighting is everything. As much as possible, shoot near a light source, such as a window, so you can maximize the use of natural light.
However, if you really need to use a flash to illuminate the dish, you should get a flash diffuser and know how to use it properly. It’s a light modifier that’s attached to the upper part of the external flash unit to soften the effect of harsh light. It can give flattering light to highlight the colors of the dish.
Use a Tripod. Food photography presents a unique set of challenges: you’ll need to shoot in high ISO and faster shutter speed. Combine that with handheld camera shooting, and you’ll end up with blurred photos. But with a tripod, the shoot will be stable and you can even have enough time to adjust the setting of the food from time to time. Overall, it will make the shooting process easier and more efficient.
Experiment on the Background. Although the background isn’t the star of the show, it still matters because it can either enhance the photo or distract viewers from it. It can also cover up the mess you’ve made while preparing the dish or cover up the table that doesn’t look appealing in the frame. However, make sure that you pick the right backdrop so that it can make the dish stand out.
Add Some Props. Props are important because they complement the colors of the food. Try to add in some colorful straws for the drinks, and spoon, fork, and flowers for flatlay dishes. However, be mindful of the props that you include in the frame. Make sure that they aren’t distracting and won’t take away the attention of your viewers from the subject.
Shoot in Different Angles. Be creative and shoot from different angles. Snap a photo from above to capture the entire dish. Focus the camera on the sides to highlight details like the crust of a pizza or pie, or the height of a massive burger. You can also try shooting closer than the usual to make the food look more appetizing in pictures. Capture how the sauce oozes from a burger or how light and fluffy your baked goodies are.
Add Movements. To make the dish more appealing, add movements as you take a photo of it. It can be the pouring of the maple syrup on fluffy pancakes, how the fork goes through tender, juicy chicken, or the slicing of a cheesy pizza. Be dynamic because in food photography, everything in the frame should have something to contribute to the photo.
Stage a Little Mess. Food is all about bits and pieces of ingredients, spices, and condiments. Make sure to highlight every single thing that makes the dish up. Stage up a mess that will work well with the plating. It can be a spoonful of paprika or splatter of tartar sauce on the side. Just make sure not to overdo it, lest your food photos will look cluttered.
Use Simple Photography Compositions. Simple and fundamental photography compositions don’t only work with landscapes and portraits but also with delicious dishes. Familiarize yourself with these compositions and think of a way where you can use each one of them to tell the story behind the food.
If you’re really passionate about food photography, go for it! Get out of your comfort zone and think outside the box. Cook easy but yummy recipes and through your food photos, make your masterpiece look like it’s served in a five-star hotel.