For many of us, it’s become completely normal to capture a plate of food on film before tucking into it. We all like to show off the culinary delights we’ve rustled up ourselves at home, or tease our followers with a glimpse of the treats we’re enjoying at a restaurant. But it’s not as simple as just pressing the clicker: food photography has gathered such an avid following that it’s now all about the angles, lighting, backdrop and filter. Get guaranteed ‘likes’ with our top tips for food photography.
All about angles
Getting the right angle is key to a great shot, so try a variety to see which one suits your dish. Like anything, trial and error will help you learn which dishes suit certain angles, so climb on chairs and get down low if it helps get that perfect shot.
Tell a story
There is always much more to a meal than just what’s on the plate. It could be the glass of wine it’s served with, or perhaps the type of cutlery on the side that adds feel and narrative to the shot. These additional inclusions let the viewer wonder what is the situation or story to the meal.
Minimalism for high impact
Sometimes the table’s clutter can make the shot more characteristic, but it can also detract from the beauty and presentation of the meal. If the dish speaks for itself, it might be a good idea to keep the rest of the shot clear for the image to really shine.
Even on camera phones, you can easily create a depth of field by focusing close up on the foreground and losing the background, creating a very professional look. Often the key for photos looking professional is the background falling out of focus into a blur. You can achieve this by focusing close up on an object and letting the rest of the image blur out. You can also add blur in post production.
What’s behind the food you are shooting can be equally as important as the food itself when it comes to making a well balanced shot. The texture and contrast of the background behind the food you are photographing will be integral to creating a stylish shot. Try thinking outside the box: food doesn’t always have to be shot on the table, it could be on a chopping board, or on a plate placed on a pebbled beach to really create an atmosphere.
Don’t be afraid to ask!
It can be nerve-wracking, but often the difference between a good and a great photographer is having the confidence to ask someone if you can take a shot with them in it. The fear of being told no can hinder a good photograph – so try to be confident! This is especially relevant for portrait photography, but can also apply to food. Why not ask the chef to feature in the image or at least ask to include their hands preparing the food to add some authenticity to the shot.
Using the right filter is important, as each shot may suit a different style of filter. Filters can either be brilliant or gimmicky, so only add one if you think the shot requires it and remember that sometimes the original result is the best. Also remember you can adjust the intensity of the filter; so don’t always accept the default.
Use add on apps
There are loads of extra apps to download that can enhance your images, from adding more blur to creating interesting collages, so make the most of them to enhance your shots as using instagram alone can be limiting. There are a whole range of apps that let you build on your original image and allow you to get as experimental as you want, so get exploring!
Follow your favourite Instagrammers
Watching the pros will give you great ideas for your own work. There are thousands of food photographers and stylists sharing their work online, which can be great inspiration. Here are a few of our favourite food photographers that may inspire your next shot.
Lighting is everything
Lighting will make or break a good shot, so play with the lighting until you have the desired effect and use natural light where possible. You can also enhance the light with filters if you didn’t get the desired effect. There are also specific add on apps to help. However there is no substitute for getting it right in the first place!
Photographing food doesn’t have to just be about the food itself, nor does it always have to be serious. Food can be put in a whole host of environments to tell a different story. So think outside the box and try something new!
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