10 Tips to Improve Your Food Photography
As a portrait photographer, I am pretty new to the world of food photography. I have seen the amazing work of food photographers such as @MyOrganicDiary, @Panaceas_Pantry, and newcomers like @hotsauceandgrits, and I wanted to learn more. From my research, I've come up with a few tricks increase the quality of your work (as well as my own) ever so slightly. Here are your 10 Tips to Improve Your Food Photography:
1. Natural Light is Your Friend
Like with all photography, understanding your lighting is a major component in getting your shot. With food photography, most artificial lighting sources will lead to incorrect color balance. Yes, this can be corrected in post, but why not get it as correct as you can in camera first? Less work in the end. If you have the opportunity when shooting, try to take images during an overcast day if you are outside. When inside, well lit, windowed rooms work wonders! If none of these are available, a diffused, white light source can work just understand there may be a chance of discoloration in the final image.
2. Master the Art of the Intentional Shadow
Shadows can be your friend or your worst enemy. You're not going to get away with this when shooting food. Shadows can provide interesting shapes and accents to an image, but can also be a HUGE distraction. All photography is art, so use your best creative judgment, but typically, soft diffused light is more flattering when in food photography by allowing the food, decor, and placement of everything to become the focus of the image.
3. Your Background Matters!
With most food photography, there are a few "guidelines" when it comes to backgrounds. They are light food on light backgrounds, dark food on dark backgrounds, and wood can be used interchangeably. You want something neutral, complementary, and adds to the image. Okay, that may be confusing, but all I am trying to say is your artistic expression is key. If it is confusing, annoying, or detracting to your eye, try something else. Lucky for you, The Scene Store has a boat load of backdrops that will enhance your food photography. They are waterproof, durable, and there are various colors and textures for every need. Click here to view the many backdrop options. Use code CREATE at checkout for 20% OFF your first order!
4. Color Coordination is Key
Food is Colorful! We all know this and love it especially when we can eat colorful food. Use this to your advantage in your food photography. Using contrasting colors or similar colors can bring out focus and interesting coordination in the image that impacts and stimulates your audience's emotions. Coordinating color can help the viewer connect with the photo on a different level.
5. Hit All the Right Angles 😏
Simply put, choose the most flattering angle for your shot. You'll definitely want to try out different angles if you're first starting out, which can range from a top down shot, side shot, or anywhere in between. Here is a great article that details the many different angles for food photography and which is best for the look you want to achieve. It is VERY helpful!!
6. Neat and Tidy Just Like Momma Likes It
This one is debatable, but the consensus is neat is in when it comes to food photography. Clean plating and food arrangement is key to providing a higher-caliber image of those trending photos you see on social media. Patterns and shapes also come into play as a photo can look disjointed if similar cuts of food are not used. This can create unwanted distractions to the eye and force your audience to shy away from the image.
7. Social Distancing to an Extent
You don't have to use a macro lens. I repeat, you are not forced to utilize a macro lens for your food photography. I said back away from the food! Now that that is understood, close up shots can be flattering for some types of food, but in most cases, composing your image with negative space can actually add depth. Negative space can be a deciding factor on whether the image is hot or not, so back away from your food. You can eat it after you've nailed the photo 😉
8. Decor Decor Decor
Decorate the scene with natural and unnatural elements. Spices, silverware, jars, candy, whatever that does not detract from the image's theme. Please do not get frustrated if you're unable to nail it on the first go. This takes time and practice, practice, practice! Here's an excellent source for decorating your food photography.
Adding elements that tell a story can pique the interest of your audience immensely. Add a book or laptop with the recipe open on the screen; it'll add a connection viewers can bond with and evoke emotional stimulation. Basically, humanize your photo and humans will like your photo.
Finally, Keep It Simple Silly. Simplicity is key in most aspects of life in general, and this applies to food photography as well. Overdoing it can lead to distractions from the point of the photo, which simply put is a catastrophe (I know, not a simple word, but it's true).
Take a few of these tips and add them to your repertoire. Practice makes perfect and don't stress about getting it right the first time. Going through the process of creating helps you become a better creator, even if nothing comes from it. Keep pushing your limits and break those glass ceilings.
Photos provided by Burst.
Written By The Scene Store Staff