Over the last decade, food photography has become a popular form of art. While it started off as just a way to capture dishes for menus and restaurant marketing, now it’s influenced by lifestyle and design themes. Whether you’re shooting at restaurants or on your own personal cooking blog, there are many different techniques to try! Let’s take a look at six tips that will give your photos some flavour:
- Focus on Composition.
- Use Natural Light.
- Choose the Right Lens.
- Infuse Colour.
- Add Movement and Action.
- Create a Colectic Set Design.
Tip 1: Focus on Composition
When photographing food, it is important to create a good composition. Composition refers to the way multiple elements such as color, patterns, texture, symmetry, and depth work together to form your image. When photographing food in particular, you will want to look at the objects being photographed and assess the setting they are in so that you can understand how they interact with each other when forming an aesthetically pleasing arrangement. Creating a good composition starts by taking pictures of those things from different angles—different perspectives—to infuse them with variety and creativity. Let’s say you’re photographing a bowl of pasta on a wooden table. To adjust its placement within the frame through variation in composition techniques (e.g., zooming out for an overview; standing closer for smaller details), do nothing else but move yourself around it!
Tip 2: Use Natural Light
It’s important to choose the right kind of lighting when shooting food photography. It can make or break how well your pictures look, depending on how they’re lit and what type of light you use. When using harsh or artificial lights in photos, they often end up looking fake or creating unnecessary distractions like shadows and glare within the frame. To avoid these kinds of problems, it’s best to work with natural light instead; this type creates softer-looking images that will emphasize whatever dish you’re photographing.
For shooting scenes outdoors, natural light is easy to come by; but for those shots taken indoors, finding a good spot (with less competing lights) is key—usually near a window where there’ll be plenty of soft illumination coming through onto the subject being photographed (i.e., dishes).
Tip 3: Choose the Right Lens
Determining which lens to use for photographing food all depends on what kind of images you’ll want to create. Will you focus on close-up, detailed images? Or will you be capturing the entirety of the layout – food, utensils, plates and set design elements? Each scenario will consist of various framing methods, requiring different lens choices for you to consider.
In most cases, when shooting food photography (though not always), it’s recommended that you stick with a fixed focal lens rather than wide angle or zoom lenses because these two types may produce distorted pictures; so think about your desired outcome first before purchasing gear!
For those who do want closer detail shots (think tight frames around dishes), then a 50mm lens would work best while if what they’re after is something more aesthetically pleasing overall (such as taking shots from farther away) then 35mm might just fit the bill.
Tip 4: Infuse Color
One simple way to make your food photos stand out is to infuse them with some color. Different dishes call for different colors, depending on what they are made from and where they’re from. When it comes down to picking the perfect color scheme for a dish – think about which colors would make sense in terms of nationality and time period. If you’re struggling for ideas, just use fruits or vegetables; either incorporate them into the dish itself or put them nearby for unity.
Tip 5: Add Movement and Action
Movement and action bring a human element to your images. As photographers, we tell a story through the photographs we create and that this is no different for our food photography. Food photography showcases gatherings, communities, and memories around the table; so when creating it’s important to give these images a sense of life by adding movement. To add movement in your images you can show how to cook rather than just the final product. This technique is most effective when building recipes since then you can demonstrate each step as well as what ingredients were used on top of photographing only the finished dish. So if someone was making pancakes they could pour syrup onto their plate while cooking them or sprinkle sugar onto freshly baked cookies; whereas with something like pasta all they need to do would be to toss olive oil into boiling water while stirring with a fork until cooked. When shooting anything edible make sure there isn’t too much focus on things that distract from the image – keep in mind what will best sell its taste visually!
Creating quality food photography is not limited to what is on the plate; it’s also about how it looks. As you can see, creating captivating photos of your food can be done through composition (of both subject and environment), colour, natural light, movement (if possible), design, and using the right camera gear.
Are you an aspiring food photographer? Tell us your experiences and insights in the comments below!