Food photography is more than snapping a picture of your dinner plate — it is a challenging form of still life photography. Just as a painter starts on a blank canvas, a good food photographer layers art and reality to form a masterpiece. You might think that capturing the perfect food snapshot can be a challenge, but we can assure you, even if you’re a novice, you can still achieve fantastic results!
Just follow these seven simple tips to get Instagram or WeChat-worthy plates:
1. Let there be light!
Light is the key to creating beautiful still life photos. The best light for food photography is soft, diffuse, and natural. When shooting outdoors, avoid harsh sunlight. Shadows are not your friend! Have an indoor photoshoot? Use a work area near a window to illuminate your subject. Artificial lighting can give your subject an orange or yellow cast, so unless you’re going for that tanning booth glaze, stick to the sun.
2. Clean it up.
Create contrast with a light, dark, or wooden background.
The background is very important when taking food photos. A messy background will steal the audience’s attention.
- Use a clean background to make your subject pop.
- Wipe any food or sauce on the edge of the plate or on the background.
- If there is any spillage, clean it before taking pictures to avoid unnecessary clutter in the picture
Sterile environments can be yawn-inducing and messy backgrounds scream biohazard. With a clean background, your delicious food will steal the show.
3. Experiment with colour and contrast.
Colour can have a large impact on composition and can affect the overall feel of the image. Warm, earthy tones create a harmonious composition that evokes a sense of comfort and serenity.
Contrasting colours create vibrant and exciting visual effects that incite emotions in different ways. You can create contrasting colours between the background and the food or use contrasting colours in the food itself. Just remember to strike a balance!
4. Work Those Angles!
Take pictures from the top for best results. If you do this, you’ll capture all the details of the food and its surroundings. The shape of the dishes, cutlery, and other objects can show up vividly at this angle.
When you want to show the details of a piece of bread, cake, muffin, etc., take the photo from the side. Choose a dark wall so that the main image you want your audience to focus on is crisp.
5. Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize!
Add decorations and embellishments to make your photos look more interesting. Spices, berries, fruit pieces, nuts, chocolate chips and fresh plants such as mint leaves are elements to try. In addition, use cutlery and cooking utensils that have powerful shapes and lines.
6. Photographs tell a story.
A steaming mug of tea near an open book stimulates a feeling of comfort, warmth, and relaxation. Your photo should stimulate your viewer’s imagination.
What story do you want to tell? What feeling do you want them to feel?
Are we looking at a poet, perhaps? Those flowers look fresh like they might be from a home garden. Is that tablecloth vintage? The reader appears to be nestled in a country cottage surrounding by the rolling hills of spring. We can practically hear the birds chirping and smell the freshly cut grass.
Your photo’s narrative should sweep your viewers away!
For example, in this photo, this dreamer uses coffee and biscuits to fuel her writing sessions. Out in the sunshine, she lets her thoughts wander. Inspiration rides in on the breeze. A teacher by day and novelist by night, she craves alone time to put her thoughts onto paper. Where will this day take her?
Do you see how even the smallest details can pique curiosity?
7. Add a Human Element
If you place a hand or arm into a food photo, you will create a sense of presence for the viewer. Take the photo from their perspective. Close-ups of hands can also create a sense of movement in an otherwise static scene. More than one hand tells the story of a shared kitchen. Whether it is a multi-generational family event or a friend’s dinner party, the right photo illustrates the joy that comes from sharing tasty food.
Have fun with these amazing food photography tips. Remember to share your food photography photos with us!