Food photography is a genre of photography which is dedicated to displaying anything related to food such as fruits, vegetables, a full cooked meal etc. Food photography is is arguably one of the most challenging types of photography out there. It is usually used for advertisements, magazines, commercial or personal purposes. If done right food photography can really attract the eyes of the viewer.
That is why I decided to write this article and share with you “10 Food Photography Tips To Make You A Pro”. These tips will help you throughout the process of food phototography from planning to shooting to post-processing. Make sure you read this article till the end as each and every tips mentioned in this article is very important if you wish to take a professional looking image. Also, I will be providing you with two bonus tips at the end of this article.
Now, before we get into our main topic of this article let’s first take a look at short explanation of food photography:
What Is Food Photography?
Wikipedia has to say that, “Food photography is a still life photography genre used to create attractive still life photographs of food. It is a specialization of commercial photography, the products of which are used in advertisements, magazines, packaging, menus or cookbooks”. In simple words, you could say it is a combination of still life photography and product photography. Food photography is solely dedicated for displaying food in a creative and an artistic manner.
Now that you have a pretty good idea of what food photography is, let’s get back to our main topic:
10 Tips For Food Photography To Make You A Pro
Here is a quick look at the “10 Tips For Food Photography To Make You A Pro”:
- Learn About The Dishes You Are Shooting
- Find Your Inspiration
- Experiment With Different Angles
- Consider Using Props
- Use Perfect Lighting And Lighting Accessories
- Consider Using Tripod
- Use Circular Polarizer Filters For Reflective Surfaces
- Add A Human Element If Possible
- Use Incredients As Props
- Take A Lot Of Photos
- Two Bonus Tip
Now, I am going to explain each one of these tips and how will it affect your food photography. So, let’s get started!
1. Learn About The Dishes You Are Shooting
This is one of the first things you need to do even before you take out your camera and start shooting. If you don’t know much about the food or dish you are shooting, you wouldn’t really know what is the important element of that particular dish. If you learn about the dish you are shooting than you will be able to capture the important parts or things of your dish.
For instance, if you are photographing Butter Chicken and you don’t know anything about it, you wouldn’t know that a butter chicken lover would want to see that creamy thick layer of butter at the top of the chicken gravy. If your butter chicken photograph has that creamy thick layer of butter at the top of the chicken gravy, it will hands down for sure make your photograph eye catching and have the attention of the eyes of your viewer.
That is why, it is very important to learn about the dish you are shooting for your food photography as that will help you highlight the important elements and parts of your dish as well as enhance the overall image.
2. Find Your Inspiration
Before starting to shoot your food photograph always give at least 10 minutes to see food photography from your favourite food magazines, food photographer, etc. This will help you find your inspiration for your food photography. In simple words, it will help you give ideas to capture the best food photograph you desire. You can also scroll through social media platforms such a Instagram where you will also find tons of great food photography images to inspire you and give you a lot of ideas for your next food photography shoot.
3. Experiment With Different Angles
It is very important to always take photos in different angles and experiment with it to find out which angles works best for certain food photographs. You need to make sure that your food photography image captures everything important related to the food or dish you are trying to capture and experimenting with different angles will help you to achieve that. Also, if you experiment with different angles, it will definitely help you to get creative with your food photograph. That will help your food photography to be unique and stand out in a crowd.
For instance, take a shot from the side than take the shot from high angle and when you will compare both images you will ultimately be able to see the difference in both the shots and decide which angles works best for the food you are trying to capture.
4. Consider Using Props
Just as you use props in other genres of photography for example: Fashion Photography to enhance the overall image and compliment the subject you can also do the same with food photography. Using props can do wonders for your food photography. It will also help you grab the attention of your viewers as using props will ultimately enhance your overall image and it will lead to an eye catching image.
For instance, you can use a food stand while capturing a cake, you can use a coffee maker as a prop behind the subject while you capture a cup of coffee or you can use plates, bowls, cutlery or fancy cutting boards. Just make sure that the props should be somehow related to your subject. For example: You can use candles on top of a cake but you can’t use chilli powder container as a prop as it has no relation to the cake. Also, remember decorative items can also be considered as props as they are also part of your food for example: A cherry on top of a cake.
5. Use Perfect Lighting And Lighting Accessories
Not just food photography but photography in general, lighting is one of the most important element that will make an image look more professional and achieve that good quality you desire. Using a perfect lighting will help you enhance your overall image, add depth, add mood, a three dimensional look, etc. Perfect lighting can do a lot of things to make your image look better and better.
It is not important to invest in very expensive lighting equipements but it is important to perfectly lit your subject of your image which can also be done with natural light. Also, with help of few lighting accessories such as diffusers, softbox, reflectors, etc. you can achieve a perefectly and evenly lit photograph.
6. Consider Using Tripod
Tripods are one of those must have accessories and photography equipment you need to own to achieve great photography results. As soon as you start using a tripod you will automatically see the difference in your photography. You should definitely use a tripod if you desire a razor sharp image. Tripod will help you avoid that camera shake and a blurry looking image because of that camera shake. You’ll see a huge difference how your tripods help you get those perfect sharp images which can be very appealing.
7. Use Circular PolarizerFilters For Reflective Surfaces
Whenever you are shooting on a reflective surface such as a reflective glass plates, cutlery, etc. Always use a circular Polarizer Filters (CPL Filters). CPL Filters helps you avoid and get rid off those relfections for your photography. You do not want your reflection in your food photograph. If there is a reflection in your image it will not at all look good and makes your image look like an amateur looking food photography content.
8. Add A Human Element If Possible
Adding a human element in your food photography will help you enhance your image and compliment your subject. Remember, it is not always possible but if it is possible for your image you should definitely add a human element. For instance, if you are shooting a cup of coffee and you add a human element such as someone is holding that cup of coffee it will help your viewers to be able to connect with that image. They will be able to imagine themselves holding that cup of coffee.
9. Use Incredients As Props
As mentioned in the above #tip 4, props will help you compliment your subject of your image. You can use ingredients of the dish as a props. For instance, you are shooting a chicken curry, you can use spices used to make that chicken curry as props. You can use very small bowls used for dips and put chilli powder, turmeric, etc. in it and use it as props for the chicken curry image.
Here is another example: If you are shooting a cheese cake, you can use cheese as a prop for your image.
10. Take A Lot Of Photos
Never settle for just one or two photo(s), always make sure you take multiple photos from various different angles (#tip 3) and then choose the best one to give your client. For instance, if your client asks you that they want 10 photos, make sure you take at least 20 to 30 photos, so that you will have options if any of the photos turns out to be out of focus, or not good enough to present it for your client.
It is always better to have 10 extra photos than one terrible photo. If you wish to do post-processing techniques such as focus stacking then you definitely need to take make multiple photos.
As promised at the beginning of this article, here are two bonus tips for you just to appreciate for dedicating your precious time in reading my article this far.
2 Bonus Tips
Here is a quick look of the bonus tips:
- Shoot In Raw
- Hire A Food Stylists If It Fits In Your Budget
1. Shoot In Raw
A camera does not react to light and colors as the human eye does. There are times an image will capture a slightly different color that what it looks in reality. For instance, a green thai curry, sometimes when captured in a camera can look dark green or light green and you do not want that. You will have to edit and color correct you image to make it look more realistic. If you shoot in JPEG file format you might loose some quality of your image in the process of color correcting your image. That is why I recommend shooting in RAW file format.
Raw file format has more image data than a Jpeg image file format. That is why it is easy to color correct a raw image without losing much to no image quality. Also remember, due to having more image data RAW files take more storage than a jpeg image. So, make sure you always have extra space or extra storage device always with you.
2. Hire A Food Stylists If It Fits In Your Budget
It is not always necessary but for instance, if you are shooting for a well know magazines such as Cuisine, Saveur, etc. or a high paying client, they would want a very high quality professional looking image. In situations like these, you can hire a food stylists for styling, decorating and a perfect presentation for your food photography.
It is the same as hiring a make-up artist or hair stylist for your Fashion Photography. What this will do is help you compliment your subject of your image and help you draw attention of the viewers for your food photograph.
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