Who hasn't been dazzled by the latest trend - foodie photography? Are you ready to join the band wagon and improve your captures of your best dishes? Jump right on with my quick guide below! *This post contains affiliate links at no extra cost to you.
Start improving your food photography using the camera you have instead of rushing out to buy a big better camera with no guarantee you’ll get better shots! Just about any entry level DSLR will work for food photography. Learning to use your camera’s mode settings is one the easiest way to get better a shot. Add a wee bit of ISO, shutter speed, and aperture knowledge and the cat is in the bag!
Download my pack of Photography Sheet Cheats to brush up on ISO, shutter speed, and aperture.
#2 Light the Way
Great lighting is key to great food photography. On camera flash is a big No-No, keep your flash off. Use natural light whenever possible. I recommend calling dibs on a space in your home that receives natural light for most of the day. If the light is too bright diffuse it with a lightweight fabric shade or curtain. If there is not enough light use a bouncer or white foam board to bounce light back on your subject.
#3 The Variety Show
One of the quickest and easiest ways to improve your food photography is shooting on a variety of backgrounds. Start with something as simple as a white or black foam board. Then add wood planks, wood paneling, contact paper, kraft wrapping paper, flour sack towels, or pro vinyl photography backgrounds to your collection.
Keep in mind you’ll want to select one background for each recipe you are photographing. Now, you can certainly take a few shots on different backgrounds to see what looks best. But, I do not recommended using multiple backgrounds in a single article.
#4 Start with a Good Angle
Anyone in advertising knows every product has good angle. You just have to find it first! Shoot straight on, eye to eye, from the side, closeup, or from above. I recommend photographing your food dish in at least two angles to give you more options when selecting photographs for an article.
#5 Prop It Like You Mean It
Why go to all the hard work of cooking an incredible dish to just photograph it on your kitchen table? Layering your shot with props is great method to showcase your dish. Checkout my list of favorite props:
- Linen towels
- Measuring spoons
- Vintage muffin pans
- Cake pedestals
- Wooden spoons
- Flour sifter
- Vintage saucers
- Cutting boards
- Metal cooling racks
#6 Get Your Move On
You may notice some of the food photography photos you're most drawn to have a hint of movement. Movement can difficult to capture unless you are working with a tripod and a remote shutter or a partner in crime. Short on both? Then sprinkle sugar or spices around your subject, unfold that napkin or kitchen towel, or drop fresh foods or florals right onto your background. In case you haven’t gotten the hint - GET MESSY to CREATE MOVEMENT!
#7 Tell a Story
Now, that you have a variety of angles, backgrounds, and props. Use the best possible lighting and movement to tell a story within the frame. Pull in fresh fruits or veggies, spices, utensils, and mixing bowls used to make your recipe. Will it be dark and moody or bright and cheerful. It’s your story, so tell it!
#8 Be Inspired
Are you feeling apprehensive about styling food photography? Get inspired with resources like Pinterest, Instagram, Foodgawker, and Tastespotting. You can even search for keywords like; farm to table, dark moody food photography, or even the title of the recipe you're whipping on.
#9 Take it to the Next Level
Post processing your shots can correct slight color casts, brighten things up, boost contrast, and even blur the background; in case you didn’t shoot in aperture priority and now you want that look! Use Adobe Photoshop or your favorite free photo editing software to step it up.
#10 Practice Makes Best
Has anyone ever told you can’t play in the game if you miss practice? Well… Just keeping practicing. Try different backgrounds, props, and light sources until you begin to see the result you are looking for.
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