The way food is photographed can have a huge impact as to whether or not something looks edible, how well it sells in a store, and how often a menu item gets ordered in a restaurant. Here are 8 tips for capturing good food photographs to make them look delicious.
- Clean Your Equipment
The biggest mistake we see new food photographers making is that they don’t clean their equipment before and after food shoots.
Rob Grimm Photography, a photo studio specializing in food and beverage images, recommends that you make sure your lens is dust and fingerprint-free before you begin shooting. There’s nothing worse than having to edit out dust specks from every photo because you forgot to clean it ahead of time.
Also, when you’re done shooting, don’t forget to clean your lens and DSLR body. If you were taking photos of ingredients like flour, there’s a good chance some small food particles got on your camera or into little crevices.
- Focus on Lighting
While you might think that shooting in natural light is the best option for food photography, it’s not! Don’t get us wrong – you can shoot food in natural light and get a delicious shot. However, the issue with shooting in natural light is that it’s constantly changing, and if you’re photographing how a certain food dish is made over a few hours, the light will look inconsistent in the series of photos.
When it comes to food photography, having the right exposure is key. This is where off-camera lighting comes in. If shooting in a low-light kitchen, use external flashes and softboxes to increase the lighting. Utilizing off-camera lights will also give you full control of the light in the scene, and you can emphasize certain parts of the food.
Also, if you’re shooting in a dark kitchen, try using a tripod to prevent blur in your images.
- Pick the Right Lens
For professional-quality images, you’ll need a DSLR camera. It doesn’t have to be expensive, as the lens creates the image quality and not necessarily the camera body itself.
When choosing your lens, it’s best to invest in a 50mm prime lens. With this lens, you can capture table scenes, flat lays, and you’ll be able to get a beautiful depth of field if you adjust your f-stop to f/1.8.
A 50mm lens can be a little pricey (especially if you splurge for the f/1.2), so if you’re just starting, look at getting a zoom lens instead. Something like a 24-70mm lens can also produce great images, and it will be more affordable than a prime lens.
- Use a Tripod
If possible, use a tripod and remote trigger. This will allow you to take photos of your dish even if it’s dark or you’re in low-light conditions. Using a tripod also allows you to take photos of food without a flash.
Using a tripod makes every photo look more professional and it lets you concentrate on the composition of your photo. Why? Because you don’t have to hold your camera at all! Even the slightest shake can affect the outcome of your photo, and blurry food is not attractive.
- Pay Attention to Colors
Colors are everything when it comes to food photography. If the colors of the food are unappetizing or don’t work well with the place setting, there’s a good chance your recipe will turn people off. If you are photographing food to use it online, it’s even more important to think about color theory and how the colors will affect your website visitors. When photographing food, always try to pair the colors of the recipe with your place settings if possible!
- Pick the Right Angles
Using an overhead angle is one of the most common angles you’ll see when it comes to shooting food. This angle is a great choice if you want to focus on the food and don’t have a lot of other elements in your scene. It’s also good for when you want viewers to see an item from all sides, like bundt cake or brownies.
- Play With Perspective and Props
While an overhead perspective is good, don’t be afraid to experiment with other angles and look for different props to include in the shot. For example, if you’re shooting cupcakes, why not prop them up on a pile of books?
This can add height to the photos, and it offers you a different shot than is typically seen. If you end up not liking the photo, the best part is that you can still take a safe and traditional shot of the food.
When taking photos of food, remember to be patient. Sometimes, you don’t get the shot right away, and that’s okay. Pay attention to the light and colors in your scene, and use these tips to help improve your food photography skills!