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  • 15
  • Feb
  • 2017

How to shoot for a hoot! 10 Ways to improve your Food Photography

  • Food photography is easily one of the most challenging types of photography out there. Just like painting, you start with a blank canvas and build. Layer after layer, you create the photo until it reaches that perfect balance of reality and art.
  • So, how do you improve your food photography? You work on the story.
  • Good stories require a knowledge of the environment in which you’re working, as well as your equipment.
  • In the following blog, we’ll discuss how to improve your food photography and take pictures that will make your viewers drool!

1. Hey, don’t flash!

You probably know this already, but I just have to mention it to make sure. Camera flash looks horrible on food! You will get lots of unwanted highlights on any area that has moisture. These highlights are distracting and will make your food look greasy instead of moist. You will also get unattractive shadows on your food and on the plate. Remember, food usually looks its best with soft light.

2. Tripods are awesome.

Using a tripod steadies the shot and helps with increased ISO settings and allows you to take vertical shots of the food from above.

The best part is that it also buys you time and allows you to style the setting without having to worry about putting your camera down!

3. High ISO’s-next best thing after Tripods.

If you can’t shoot on a tripod for some reason, then you can raise the ISO setting on your camera to make up for the lack of light.

ISO is basically an indication of how sensitive your camera is to light. 100 is low and 3200 is high. The lower the number, the less sensitive your camera is to light and the finer is the grain of your photo.

4. Supporting actors are necessary.

There exist a lot of food blogs with shots of food on a plate and nothing else in the photo.

Remember that there’s no story behind the picture when you have no props.

Props can dramatically improve your photos! Surround your food with ingredients like sauces, oils, spices, etc. Cooking utensils can also be used to indicate how the dish was made.

5. Say NO to bold patterns and fabrics.

Food photography is all about creating an image that has the viewer’s eye looking at your delicious food and nowhere else.

As I mentioned above, the props are just the supporting actors in your story. If you have a crazy pattern or a bold color on a plate, your reader is going to look at that first. You might be in love with that color and pattern on the plate but that’s not what the photo is about.

6. Smaller f-stops need to be used.

The f-stop (or aperture) controls a part of your lens that lets light into the camera. The f-stop also controls how much of your photo will be in focus, and how much will it be out of focus.

In the beginning, f-stops can be very confusing to learn about. The higher the f-stop number, the larger is your depth of field. This gives you creative control over your images. Shoot your food with a very “shallow depth of field”. This basically means lesser things are in focus.

7. It’s all about the angle.

There are only a few camera angles that can be used in food photography, but you need to make sure the one you choose is the right one. Where you place the camera will affect the type of story you’re trying to tell.

For instance, think about the size, shape and height of the food. What is special about it? Then place the camera where you think best emphasizes these features.

Some dishes look great when you shoot from right in front of the food, and some look best when you are looking down at the food from directly above the table.

Different angles highlight different aspects of the food. Try a side shot (for taller dishes like cakes). It’s really all about experimentation!

8. Light is might.

Poor use of light will ruin your story. So making sure light doesn’t distract your viewers will help out your food photos big time.

When working with direct sunlight, a diffuser (or a thin white bed sheet) will vastly improve the quality of light. You can also use black cards and white cards, which you can get these at any craft store.

Cut them to fit your needs. Use white cards to bounce light into shadow areas and reveal important details and use black cards to make the shadows stronger for a higher contrast.

9. Fresh looking food, always.

Paint your food with butter to make it look nice and moist. You can also use vegetable oil, or water and glycerin, or just water.

There is nothing worse than a photo of a dry looking steak, right? Who would even eat that?

10. Over-editing ruins everything.

Sure, a little enhancement here and there works wonders. But over-editing your picture will just make it look artificial and unappetizing. Not only this, the clarity and appeal of your photo reduces drastically too.