How To: Food Photography

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Taking a photo that encompasses the beauty of a dish can be quite challenging. Whether you want to impress friends and family with your handy work in the kitchen, promote your business or boost your online profile, there is no denying the power of a well crafted image.

Now I’m no professional, everything I know about photography is based on personal experience and trial & error, however I can take a decent photo, so I am going to share with you my top 10 tips for the aspiring food photographer.

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1. Use natural lighting whenever possible; natural lighting is really important to reduce the yellow & orange tinge in images. Use it as your first option before resorting to artificial light or flashes. Try to take the photos near a window or outside for crisp clean images.

2. Style your dish; think about what makes a meal appetizing to you, try to add a variety of colours to the dish or try to get your dish looking fresh by arranging your food so that all elements of the dish are in view. Don’t mix and mush up the ingredients before taking the photo. If the whole meal is one color, try adding a garnish that includes a few complimentary herbs or spices to add a bit of class and excitement to the image.
3. Don’t be afraid to get a bit snap happy, try different angles and different surroundings, add things in, take things out and see what works best.
4. Divide the frame into thirds and place your main feature either in the centre, in the middle of the left segment or in the middle of the right segment. This gives the photo structure and makes the focal point of the image obvious.

5. Try and avoid using a flash or taking photos in low light areas unless you have an SLR with a low light lens. It can make the colours look dull & its generally quite difficult to get a good shot.

6. Choose backgrounds that are bright and compliment the ingredients in the dish; crisp white or black are always winning options as they look great coupled with wooden surfaces, patterned fabrics and props. Dish up the meal in a nice bowl or glass & add things like serving cutlery, napkins, and interesting ingredients into the frame to create a dining atmosphere and extend the image beyond the edges of the dish for a more complete image.

7. Clean spillages and splashes with a wet tea towel and wipe away any crumbs or dirty spot on cutlery, crockery and benches.

8. Look beyond the main subject and remove anything distracting or unrelated from the frame. Frame the image so that only items that are relevant, or add value to the photo are included. Crop out that tap in the background, the dark shadow looming in on the shot or the dog chewing a bone in the lounge room.

9. Don’t get too close to your food; there is a time and a place for macro food shots, generally images are more appealing when you zoom out from the dish a bit so the viewer gets a more wholesome image. Aim to include at least a quarter of the dish in the frame, remember you can play around with its positioning, instead of always photographing the entire dish, try capturing half of the bowl and place a nice napkin and some cutlery or fresh produce in the other half.
10. SLR’s really are the bee’s knee’s when it comes to taking beautiful photo’s, a cheap digital camera just isn’t going to compare in terms of effects, colour and crispness, so don’t be too hard on yourself if despite all your best efforts you just can’t get the A grade shot you desire. Chances are the image you found on instagram, with the beautiful depth of field and stunning vibrancy, has probably been taken on an SLR camera that has a few more functions than your happy snap camera. But don’t fret, with a bit of natural light, patience and creative thinking, beautiful photo’s that capture the essence of your dish can be achieved on a smartphone or basic camera.
Keep these tips in mind next time you go to take a snap of your handy work in the kitchen,

And remember practice is the key xx




One Response

  1. Eugénie
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    Hey gorgeous, what sort of camera do you use? Do you have any sort of filter? I love love love your pics! xxx

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