The first rule of food photography, and realistically the most important, for those of you looking to take snaps of your home-cooked dishes, is to invest in a microwave. Food photography can be an addictive pastime, one that often leaves you obsessing over a the correct angle of your pizza slice, or trying to precariously balance an onion ring on top of your burger. As a result, food can get cold. A microwave is a surefire way of ensuring you can still enjoy your meal once you’ve got your perfect photo.
Remember, if you want to add some authentic look steam to a supposedly piping hot dish you can find out how to in TipSquirrel’s tutorial here.
On top of this here’s some of our top tasty tips to get your food photography looking even more appetising:
Adding Colours and Textures
Herbs and other toppings are your best friends when it comes to food photography. Mushroom risotto may be delicious but a grey plate of sloppy rice is not the most attractive. A sprinkling or parsley for example adds a pop of colour, drawing attention to the dish by the colour contrast. Similarly condiments such as mustard, ketchup and barbecue sauce rescue plates of meat which although delicious, aren’t the most photogenic. A drizzle of sauce around the plate frames the centrepiece adding intrigue to the photo.
Set the Scene
Natural light is the optimum brightness for food photography so near a window in the daytime is best for getting the best set up. Consider your plates when dishing up your food. If you have a food blog or are contributing to stock then invest in some interesting plates. White is a classic but black as well as vintage, patterned or themed dishes will always differentiate your photos from other’s. For a cool, modern look try a different background such as a slate or wood board which gives an edgy effect.
It’s also worth noting to have a cloth on hand to wipe away any little spillages on the plate as they can distract from the focal point itself.
Decide upon your dish’s main feature and try out different angles to highlight it. If it’s a dish such as eggs Benedict, the egg yolk freshly oozing out is really the heart of the shot so therefore it may be best to zoom in to really emphasis the brightness of the yellow. Whereas a full English breakfast doesn’t have a hero, the plate itself is deserved of the whole attention so an overhead image can work nicely.
Feed the Atmosphere
Food shot on an isolated background is great when you want details of the ingredients themselves to really stand out however there are times when the addition of people in the shot can really enhance it. Dishes such as nachos, fondues or canapés were made to be enjoyed with other people. When you’ve got a dish that is perfect for a group to tuck into with their fingers, include the dipping and the picking – it adds to the authenticity allowing someone to feel part of the party.
Restaurants pose a perfect opportunity to capture shots of food you may not have in your own culinary repertoire. Our best tip is although of course discretion is important, in some restaurants more than others, unless it clearly states not to, taking photos of your food is part of the experience, one that you should not be unsure of. Camera flashes are best avoided as they can often lead your photos to have overly harsh contrast.
Smartphones are a great way of subtly taking photos in restaurants although as with all smartphone filters, they’re best avoided – particularly when it comes to food photography. However you may want to increase saturation, sharpness and brightness which may otherwise be dulled.
The most important thing however, in light of all of these tips, is to tuck in, and enjoy!