5 Food Photography Tips for the Beginners

by Tristan Taylor October. 26, 2015 1030 views

You may not be a foodie, but when you surf through the web images of pasta and meatball, chicken sizzler salad and strawberry cheesecake, a subconscious impulse for hunger kicks in, and your mouth starts watering.

Well, it’s not just you, with all of us it happens. We fall in love with tasty food, which look tastier because of superior photography techniques. But very few of us are curious to know the techniques that professional food photographers use.

I’ll take you through some of the basic food photography techniques in this article. Even you can try your hands with them and see the results. The techniques are:

Experimental angles

Experimenting with angles yields outstanding results. The food that’s being photographed may be ordinary, but the picture of it taken from a creative angle can make it look marvelous. There’s another benefit of shooting from an offbeat angle; you can highlight certain parts of a particular food item.

You can avoid capturing other parts. The texture of a freshly served dish may not be perfect. In that case, you can avoid shooting it, which is possible only if you shoot from a creative angle, so the camera’s frame doesn’t cover it. There are various ways to shoot from experimental angles, and knowing them can help you become a better photographer.

Bring the culture

Every food has its root in some or another cuisine. The cuisine in question reflects the culture of the soil it belongs in. As a budding food photographer, you need to aim for it. Don’t capture the food alone, aim for capturing the culture too.

It’s easier than you think it is. All you need to do is understand different cultures. Next, highlight the cultural aspects. For example, a typical British breakfast includes toast, bacon, scrambled egg and baked beans. When you capture a breakfast plate with all these items on it, and a fork and a knife resting beside the plate, it gives the feel of a classy Englishman’s table.

Shoot from close

Food photography requires you to shoot from a close distance. The closer you get, the more details you capture. An interesting shot is one that reveals plenty of details of food; it’s possible only when you fill a good part of your frame with the food. You can dedicate the rest of the parts to the culture and other aspects.

Lens selection is crucial because you might have to zoom for a slew of shots that are wide and close. Some photographers select macro lenses as those lenses help them to unveil even the tiniest of details, related to food. Wondering what to do with details that are hardly of any importance? You can always use editing software and crop out whatever you think is unnecessary.

Lighting is important

Almost all branches of photography require lighting. Food photography is no exception to this rule. You can use natural light. A simple way to do so is putting the plate near a window. Windows get more light than other parts of the house because the amount of outdoor lighting is always more than that of indoor lighting.

In the absence of indirect natural light, you’d have to rely on artificial lighting. You can use a frame-diffuser to soften the light. Professional photographers use reflectors. I don’t think you’d need it because it eliminates shadows, which is not a headache for a food photographer.

Background is important

In food photography, the background is of paramount importance. You can do a lot of experiments with it. For example, if it’s the Christmas, add a Santa Claus doll or a conifer in the background to bring the feel of celebration and festivity.

If you are in an overseas country and taking the photograph from there, put something in the background that’s inherently related to that country. For example, if you are in China and capturing a Chinese dish, put a board with Chinese alphabets in the background. If you are in England and capturing a traditional British dish such as fish and chips, put the union jack in the backdrop.

Apply these techniques

You need to apply these techniques to bring improvement to your food photographs. It’s best if you hire a helper. You can tell him to hold a plate or a bowl so you could take an eye-level shot. This way, you won’t need a tripod. In short, you can add your two cents and customize the techniques described above. This would amount to an excellent blend of creativity and technicalities.

About the author:

Tristan Taylor, a proficient fashion photographer, is associated with various photography workshops, seminars and symposiums. He keeps himself updated with nitty-gritties of fashion photography industry. Tristan found Gulf Photo Plus [gulfphotoplus.com] extremely helpful to extract information regarding Photography courses Dubai [gulfphotoplus.com], photo workshops dubai, photoshop courses dubai and other aspects related to photography.

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