Food photography is one of the fastest-growing genres of photography, thanks to the rise blogging, smartphones and the popularity of reality television shows about cooking.
But getting the right look in your pictures of food is no easy task. There’s more to food photography than simply snapping your plate, and below we’ve rounded up 10 essential food photography tips to help your images look more professional.
Food photography tips: 01 Use natural light
Natural light can be lovely for food shots but you need lots of it to bring out colour and contrast. Try shooting next to a large window or consider taking your dishes outside to photograph them.
Food photography tips: 02 Better flash
A flashgun can supply all the light you need, but it’s prone to producing ‘specular highlights’ (unwanted small, very bright spots). Try bouncing the flash off a sheet of white card instead of firing it directly at the food.
Food photography tips: 03 Composition
It’s usually best to be minimal with composition but a couple of props, such as quality crockery or fine cutlery, can add to the shot. Use them sparingly and choose items that suit the mood you’re aiming to convey.
Food photography tips: 04 Go geometric
Strong geometric shapes work well, so keep this in mind when cutting food and arranging it together on the plate prior to shooting.
Food photography tips: 05 Add garnish
Blandly coloured food, such as bowls of pasta, can look particularly unappetising. An easy way to liven up less visually interesting dishes is to simply add some colourful garnish.
Food photography tips: 06 Picture Styles
Alandscape Picture Style accentuates blues and greens, while a standard Picture Style emphasises reds and yellows. Therefore, to get the best out of your subjects, ensure you choose the style that best suits the colours that you are looking to enhance.
Food photography tips: 07 White Balance
Different manual White Balance settings, such as Daylight, Cloudy, Shade and Tungsten, can add trendy colour casts to make shots look more dynamic.
Food photography tips: 08 Selective focus
A small depth of field, where only a small part of the dish is in focus, can work really well. Use a macro or long telephoto lens at a wide aperture for best results.
Food photography tips: 09 Bump up the colour
For real colour impact, increase the saturation setting in a Custom Picture Style, or do this after the event in a program such as Digital Photo Professional or Photoshop Elements.
Food photography tips: 10 Hot shots
If food is supposed to look hot, it should be steaming. Get everything set up first so that you’re ready to shoot food straight from the oven.
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