Food photography is one of the most arguable types of photography like painting that you need to start with a blank canvas and build. Layer upon layer, this construction of the photo would continue to reach the perfect balance of reality and art. Everything that you see in the photo is a decision taken right there! Whether it is an after-party from the perfect cocktail, or the homemade roasted chicken recipe on the farm, like all photography, you’re telling stories.
While some shoots are more complicated stories than others and it may sound a lot like other fields of work and here are the five quick tips you can use to seriously improve the food photography and tell great stories.
#1 Choosing the Angle
Image Credits: blog.nicolezieglerphoto.com
There are really only a few camera angles in the food photography that you can see again and again but you need to make the one you choose, a conscious decision. Where you place the dslr camera would affect the type of story you’re trying to tell. For this you need to do a bit of homework like the size, shape, height about the food and then place the camera to the best highlights these qualities. Some dishes look great when you shoot from right in front of the food, and others are best suited when you take a top shot making the toppings stand out clear and beautiful.
#2 Make Your Hero To Stand Out
Image Credits: ExpertPhotography
When shooting from the front of the food, you need to get a great background and foreground to let your hero emerge as a winner in the image. Use the empty spaces to tell more of a story, surrounding your main dish with ingredients and relating to the food. The ingredients, sauces, oils and cooking utensils could indicate how the dish was made. Tins, jars, herbs, glasses, fabrics and linens could speak about the origin of the dish or the season in which it is served. Placing a few of these in the foreground and background will definitely elevate your story and give it depth.
#3 Natural is Best Modified
Image Credits: howardshooter.co.uk
Light is the king and acquiring a few tools to help you control it would bring your food photography up to the next level. Poor use of light would ruin your stories and make your audience miffed at the image. So making sure light doesn’t distract will help out your food photos big time. Placing a diffuser between the window and your table is first on the list. When working with direct sunlight, a diffuser (or even a thin white bed sheet) will greatly improve the quality of light. Softening those hard, dark shadows and bright highlights caused by direct sunlight. Next up are white and black cards. You can make these yourself using foam core boards, bought at any craft store. Size them to fit your needs, using white cards to bounce light into shadow areas, revealing important details, or black cards to make shadows stronger for more contrast. Here is a little secret, when working with natural light. I call it, blocking (sometimes also called “gobos”). Sometimes that pesky natural light will fall on your background or props, causing them to be as bright or even brighter than your subject.
Since the viewer will always look at the brightest spot in your photo first, if it’s not your subject, it can harm your story. You can use your black cards to block light from hitting areas that will compete with your subject. This is also a very important technique for creating darker, low-key styled images.
#4 The Lines and Layers
Image Credits: school of Photography | Delhi
With all the props and ingredients in the frame, it is a tedious task to get your audience to look in a certain way at your subject. Bring on the techniques of composing with lines and layers and you can use the props or ingredients to create lines and layered effects in the images. This is a compositional technique used by photographers to lead their audience’s eyes to the main subject. In these cases, you use various props to create lines that may not appear to your viewers but for you as a reference.
#5 Make it Colorful
Image Credits: FStoppers
According to the audience the first thing that people notice are the colors. Using props that are colorful and if you’re not careful, you can easily upstage your food and grab all the attention. Placing items into your food images, try selecting neutral tones, something that makes the food really pop against it. Selecting a neutral background can work in a great way to make the image a splash of color.