Photographers and food bloggers just starting out may find it challenging to capture the stunning images of food they envision in their heads.
The set design should be uncomplicated to keep the focus on the food, yet elaborate enough to tempt the eaters in the audience to reach for their forks.
Food Photography Tips for Beginners
You’ve found the ideal place if you’re a beginner or a blogger seeking for some tips on food photography.
To help you take better pictures of food, we’ve listed a few simple strategies and ideas. This article will help you achieve the professional results you want while taking photographs of food for whatever purpose, be it a blog, a tutorial video, editorial work for a magazine, or a personal cookbook.
1. Using harsh artificial light
Lighting is the most crucial aspect of food photography to understand initially, just as it is in any other type of photography. Some photographers believe that the best results can be achieved by using just natural light. Some photographers prefer to use artificial light since it provides constant illumination and white balance throughout the entire shoot.
The use of artificial light in food photography also allows the photographers greater freedom in terms of time.
If you must use artificial light, avoid using a flash or, even worse, overhead tungsten lighting. Buy a professional flash and a reflector or bounce card to improve your photos. Never point the flash at the background of the meal; doing so will cause the food to lose all of its enticing texture and depth when the light falls forcefully.
Using a reflector to direct light onto the meal is ideal. You have some leeway in terms of where you position the food, how you adjust the camera, and how bright the light is.
2. Not setting the light on different sides
Lighting for food photography is extremely versatile, so long as you don’t use it exclusively for one purpose. See what happens when you try out front lighting, back lighting, and side lighting on your food photography sets.
The least risky option is front lighting because it casts less shadow on the meal and requires fewer electrical components. The end effect is good but lacks any remarkable features.
When you want to highlight the food’s textures and contrasts, you should employ side lighting.
It’s well worth the trouble to master the art of backlighting. It provides a bright, airy backdrop that draws attention to the dish at hand and draws attention to the exquisite details inside the dish. It takes a lot of work to get the hang of backlighting (using the wrong exposure or automated settings may cast shadows on your food).
If you keep trying different things, you’ll figure out what works best. With this knowledge under your belt, you’ll be able to snap food shots that seem straight out of a glossy magazine.
3. Not using fresh ingredients
If you want to take great photos of food, you need to make sure all of the dishes are in pristine shape. Don’t even bother trying to take a picture if there’s wilted lettuce in the salad or a smashed tomato since it will ruin the photo.
To avoid unnecessary effort, use only the freshest ingredients.
4. Shooting only after the cooking is done
If you wait to take pictures until the food is finished cooking, you will lose out on many great photo ops.
Do not wait until the food is finished cooking to begin; rather, begin when the components are being prepared. Soup, spaghetti with white sauce, and brown foods like chili, beans, and stuffing are just a few examples of things that don’t look beautiful when prepared.
When nothing but a sprinkle of garnish seems to do the trick, it may be time to shoot the cooking itself. Sometimes the raw or partially cooked ingredients seem better than the final product.
5. Taking photos only from 1 angle
There is no universally applicable angle. The best view of a dish can be obtained from a variety of positions.
Comparatively, a taco or burger looks best when viewed from the side, whereas this cheese and fruit tray is best when viewed from above. That is not to argue that there is a single approach that works for every dish. Instead, it’s helpful to provide a multi-perspective view of the food requirements.
Don’t be scared to try new things and be imaginative with how you approach each dish.
6. Not taking photos with negative space
There are two main approaches that many photographers take when photographing food:
- Completing the picture so that the entire meal may be seen;
- capturing mouthwatering, up-close images of the dish;
- One technique they shouldn’t overlook is including negative space in their photographs.
Be prepared to meet requests from clients for photos with vacant spaces in which they can insert text or a logo.
7. Bumping up the saturation too much
In an effort to make their food shots look more appetizing, photographers sometimes make the mistake of increasing the saturation too much in the editing process.
While it’s true that vibrant colors make food appear more enticing, too much saturation might make your images look artificial and off-putting. You should strive for color accuracy.
8. Using too much food for plating
The temptation to pile your plate high with food is understandable, but remember that it won’t photograph well. If there was too much going on, it would be difficult for the audience to focus on what was most crucial.
Keeping things basic is key with food photography, so leave plenty of white space on the dish. Sometimes less is more.
9. Letting the food sit around for too long
The preparation of certain foods necessitates prompt action once they have reached the appropriate stage of readiness.
Salad greens, for example, will start to seem wilted after a while, and meat may start to look dry if it’s been sitting out for too long. Make sure you’re all set up before the food arrives so you can react quickly.
When setting up, you can use disposable plates and bowls and then switch them out when the food is ready.
10. Not paying attention to the props and styling
A little bit of props and style can do wonders for a photoshoot, much like a bit of cosmetics. The styling of a food photo shoot is a lot more difficult than it looks.
Keeping everything, even the props, neat and uncluttered is key. The meal itself should be the focal point of the photo, therefore any decorative elements, no matter how lovely they may be, should be avoided. Let the food shine by keeping the rest of the scene simple and white.
Make sure the dish or plate and all the utensils are spotless, as there will be close-up photos. Avoid getting any food or liquid on your prop (unless you intend to emphasize that fact). When you get up close and personal with the cuisine, any flaws become glaringly obvious and steal the show from the meal itself.
Creative and eye-catching prop ideas can be added to food photography tricks by making use of photo printing items.
Research the best methods for making food look more enticing before you start styling. Oil adds shine and makes vegetables and meat look more appetizing, while water on a salad can make it look more vibrant and fresh.
11. Keeping the food as it is
Don’t just stop taking pictures of the meal after it’s been set out on the table. Get in there and dish out some bites.
For instance, slicing this cake makes it look more enticing since the audience can see the many colors and textures within the cake, giving them a better impression of the taste.
Including human subjects and actions in your photographs can lend a spark of interest to an otherwise static image. More interesting than just a still shot of the dessert and sauce is the one below, which captures the action of pouring the sauce over the top.
12. Not adding a story or depth to the photo
If you want to impress your guests, think outside the box and describe the dish’s backstory, such as where it came from or when the components were gathered.
Cook your Moroccan tagine in a tagine pot, serve your nasi campur on a banana leaf, and eat your pad thai with chopsticks. In the fall, you can decorate your pumpkin soup or apple pie with brown and dry leaves, and in the winter, you can sprinkle a little Christmas cheer on your meal.
Don’t complicate things by going overboard with whatever you decide.