Oliver Twist sang his heart out to food glorious food. But how do you get it looking as glorious on camera? As an experienced food blogger, I’ll let you in on a few of my top tips for creating stunning food photography, but first…
Why is Food Photography Important?
Food photography allows you to showcase the beauty of your food; and beautiful food increases its appeal and value. Done right, food photography makes people hungry; and convinces them they need it. Hence why food photography is a necessity for successful marketing, boosting your online presence and why it helps sells tonnes of food products and recipe books.
So what are some of the key things to consider when photographing food?
1. Natural Light is the Best Light
Natural light is the best kind of light to photograph food in. Using your camera’s flash is a big no as it will flatten the dish and cause natural shadows to disappear. Instead, take advantage of natural light; and notice how it draws out the food’s texture, colour and detail. In darker conditions, you can play with you camera’s exposure or even invest in a handheld ‘Natural Daylight’ LED. This is a good piece of kit to have for shooting in dark restaurants.
2. Pay Attention to the Small Details [Presentation, Backgrounds & Styling]:
Presentation is key when it comes to food don’t you think? You can cook a fabulous meal, but my god, bad presentation can diminish any fraction of appeal. So how can you up your presentation game? It’s important to consider the styling, props and backgrounds. These all play important roles in the composition and mood you wish to display. Carefully chosen props, like cloth, plates and cutlery, will all play contributing factors in the mood. Then when it comes to arranging these elements in a frame, you might want to incorporate references to key ingredients and colours too. Feel free to rearrange the set where necessary. However, it’s best you plan this ahead of the shoot and set up before the food arrives. Your organisation is key and fresh food allows for the best photos (I know, so much thought goes into planning a food photo).
Have you heard the term ‘flat-lay’ before? It’s used to describe a table-lay of food photographed from directly above. For some dishes this can be stunning. Whereas for other layered recipes e.g. tiered cakes and sandwiches, it’s better to shoot from a lower angle. Generally, it’s always good to collect shots from different angles so you have more material to work with in edit.
4. Static vs. Motion [Capturing the Story]:
Most of the time, people only think to capture food still. However, it’s also great to capture the experience and story of the food. Take a Spaghetti Bolognese for instance, why not take a picture of the spaghetti twisted up in the fork? Then with pizza, why not photograph the gooey cheese tearing apart from the rest? Mmm, that’s made me hungry…
5. Talk to the Chefs:
Finally, it’s important to get to know the recipe you’re photographing. If you know more about the way it’s made, and the effort that has gone into creating that dish; you’ll be passionate to photograph it well. Plus, it might give you more ideas for the presentation, styling and mood you’re looking for.
That’s a round up of my top tips but it’s important to remember that this is only the beginning. Once you’ve got the shots, then editing plays a key role in enhancing the true beauty of the food you’ve photographed. Whether you’ll be doing that on your phone or desktop, there are tonnes of photo editing options.
Take a moment to think about the things that draw you into a food photo. Take time to explore those already doing well in food photography; and notice the patterns and common themes for high engagement. By doing that you’ll also find new inspiration.
Not forgetting the importance of practice. Practice makes perfect so it does. If you’re not getting told off by ya mates or your partner for taking too many food photos, then you’re not practicing enough (haha!)
If you learnt something from this article, feel free to share it and let me know your thoughts in the comments. You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram to keep updated with new blogs I post in the future. If you’re looking for food photography services for your business, feel free to check out my work. Have a fab day!