Get your tips for that amazing food photography

Whether you’re just trying on your own to capture the perfect food photography, after you spent the whole morning coooking it or you’re just that photographer searching for another great project in your portfolio, you have to agree that cooking beautiful food is one thing, but taking beautiful photos is a whole another. Before you start, think of the message you want to send with the set up and the food choice – is there a cultural side or is it an emotional, artistic piece? So we summed up some great tips to keep in mind. It’s not easy to make food look beautiful, but if you just follow some simple steps, you’ll know the details that make the difference and transform your photo the right way.

Let’s see how light can help you in this mission. When it comes to food photography, natural light is the most important thing because it has a realy nice colour on it, even if you’re working with your mobile phone. Back or side lighting usually works well for food, so try them both and see what works best for your subject. You can shoot outside, but choose a cloudy day for a difuse light or you can find a right spot next to the window. For that difuse light try to hang a bedsheet next to your window to soften the light so the shadows are not that strong.

The light salad of arugula cherry tomatoes with shrimp on top decorated with cheese

Light and healthy breakfasts

When it comes to the right angles for food photography, you have to decide whether you want to show something specific or an entire scene. You can shoot directly above, but in this situation make sure that all the points of interest are visible from above. When shooting straight on or on a lower angle, the most important aspect is the front of the dish and make sure the light comes on the darker pieces of food. When shooting with a little bit of an angle, you can have a nice shot of the whole scene and the different compositions, which allows you to capture the textures in the actual food or details like filling sauces, crumbs, the drip of jam or cream, making the dish look as fresh and natural as possible. For tall foods, especially those with layers, you can use angles between straight on and 45 degrees. For flat foods, use angles between overhead and 75 degrees.

Greek food: Souvlaki with vegetables and pita bread. horizontal

Crepe with sea food

For a great food dish you need the proper background. You can start with a neutral background, because you can create many different looks with a few simple changes. Some preffer a raw or vintage piece of wood or a piece of fabric, but keep in mind that the background is not the main focus, it is used to add interest and enhance your final image. A clear and supportive background accentuates the main subject of photo. If the food looks good to the naked eye, it will look good in the photo.

Vivid orange, slices of carrot and sappy green leaves of mint on a light wooden background.

Cupcake isolated on neutral background

What can you do when there’s no colour in your food plate? It happens all the time, because you don’t have a precise story of how the food colours will mix all the time, maybe you just go with the flow. First of all, you can use plain plates, especially classic white which allow the food to be the star. Beside light, you can add a sprinkling of herbs or lemon wedges to lift your dish. Brush a little oil or hot water if you want your food to look hot and fresh again. For an extra movement sense, add a fork or a spoon in the set, incorporate people and activity and try not to cut bread, veggies or fruits conventionally, but rather play with shapes.

Chef decorating roasted meat with herbs

Greek salad in the deep white plate with a fork and knife

It’s all about styling you might say and we couldn’t agree more. But most of it, know your camera and how sensitive the camera is to the light. This is the ISO detail to keep in mind. The highly the ISO, the more sensitive the camera is to the light. If you’re shooting with natural, difuse light you can use a 200 or 400 level, so keep the ISO quite low.

When you decide how much is in focus, you control aperture, which affects both level of brightness and degree of focus in a single click. by using an open aperture you can have what is called selective focus, and concentrate on a specific part of the image. It can be very confusing also because aperture has an inverse relationship to the numbers on the camera. Small numbers (i.e., 2.8) mean big aperture, and big numbers (i.e., 11) mean small. If you have a low aperture, a small number, it means that less will be in focus. You have the main image clear, but the rest in the background is nice and blurry.

Fresh tangerines and tangerine juice. Healthy food, Selective focus.

Appetizers, gourmet food - canape with cheese and strawberries, blue-berries catering service. selective focus, top view

Shutter speedmeans how fast the camera will take the photo. If you want to capture an action shot, such as dusting powdered sugar over a cake or pouring milk over your flour, you will need a higher shutter speed to freeze the action. With a low light, you can put your camera on a tripod if you have one and you have more stability.

Milk stream pouring into a bowl with Ñornflakes close-up.

Cook pouring flour

Together, ISO, aperture and shutter speed determine exposure or how bright or dark your image will be. All three enable you to add or take away light, so you will need to balance the three together to get the right amount of exposure.

When it comes to editing photos, the best thing you can get from your DSLR is that you can control a thing called RAW and it means that the photos that you take won’t be compressed.

The biggest bonus of RAW is that when the shot is taken, extra details to do with the exposure, white balance and tone are saved with the image. With a big file when shooting RAW, while you are editing your photo later on, the image is closer to the real one you’ve been taking and you can adjust the exposure, white balance and so forth very accurately.

Photo credits: Andrii Klemenchenko, Annausova75, Anton Shevialiukhin , Irina Kryvasheina, Vladislav Nosik, Sergii Koval, Galina Zhigalova, Lisenco Laurentia, Konstantin Malkov, Manuelfrommadrid, Ronstik, Valerio Pardi.

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January 02, 2018


Great, thanks for sharing, interesting.

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