Food is one of my trickiest subjects. To me, food is harder to capture than a squirming baby. Every one loves photos of their little one smiling and giggling no matter the angle at which you catch them, but a photo of food in the wrong light or at the wrong angle can make for an extremely unappetizing picture.
I stumbled onto food photography by accident, hoping to always capture the essence of the dish I created to share with my blog readers. I soon began to learn the art behind food photography, learning that it is by no chance you see beautiful photos of food gracing magazine and cook book pages.
Just like portraiture, photographing food requires an understanding of your camera’s settings, correct white balance, and most importantly, light. It also helps to have some great props on hand to communicate the feel of your dish.
3. Add props-
Some of my favorite props for food are ingredients that go into the dish I have cooked. I really enjoy the “deconstructed” look of food photography. Taking each element of the dish and photographing it by its self. This allows the viewer to really understand what goes into the dish, and always creates a clean and natural element to my photographs.
Serving plates and utensils make a big difference in the way your dish will be conveyed to your viewer. Choose those props wisely. You may choose napkins that evoke a “summertime” feel, or choose plates that coordinate with your dish. My rule of thumb is to always keep it simple, and never have a dish monotone in color.
4. Always overestimate-
When it comes to photographing food, you only need one perfect shot. Sometimes it may take 100 frames to get the perfect frame you need. My philosophy is to always overshoot. You just spent a long time cooking your meal, prepping your scene, and making sure the light was perfect. It would be a shame to spend all of that time getting things ready, and only take a couple of shots of your food set up. Try out different lenses, change your camera settings, adjust your aperture, just make sure you are getting a variety of shots so you results will be perfect!
Like anything, practice makes perfect. Look around in your cookbooks and magazines and see what photographs are appetizing to you and try to recreate them by putting your own spin on them! I’ve started a great board on pinterest for great food photography inspiration.