Taking pictures of food seems easy in retrospect, but it can be quite challenging to make it look so mouth-watering—but don’t worry! With our food photography tips and tricks, you’re sure to take stunning photos of food that will captivate your customers.
When you scroll through social media, you almost always see pictures of food persuading you to open your delivery apps and order. Commercial food photography is designed that way. It’s a whole branch of photography and its main purpose is to entice you.
From restaurants to fast-food chains, and even your local home cook or baker, it’s no real surprise to find out that food photos are strategically taken to make you—the potential customer—feel hungry and crave for their food offerings. Consider the well-thought-out food styling, the lighting, and camera angles—all these elements were considered to capture the essence of food.
In this article, we talk about the different important elements of food photography and how you can achieve stunning images as you embark on this project.
Basic Food Photography Tips: Choosing the Right Equipment
Whenever you’re doing photoshoot projects, one of the most important steps is choosing the perfect equipment for the job. Having the right equipment will let you execute the project well and minimize revisions and repeats.
The same idea goes for food photography. In order to take good pictures, you need the basic and proper materials to deliver high-quality images even without spending too much.
Learning about these concepts will teach you the basic tips that professional food photography lives by.
So, what are the pieces of equipment will you be needing?
Camera and Lenses
With food photography, you need to have the perfect combination of cameras and lenses to take good-quality photos.
For beginners, you can start with cropped sensor cameras since they’re more affordable. As the name suggests, these cameras produce slightly cropped photos. Product photography studios usually recommend and use full-frame cameras, but if you want to be more cost-efficient, cropped sensor cameras can still get the job done.
Food photography requires wider shots so that you can fully take the delectability of the food being photographed. With this, the recommended lenses are either prime lenses or fixed lenses with an 80mm or 50mm focal length. These lenses will give you more control of the depth of field since they have wider apertures.
Using a tripod for your photography project is always advisable. While it’s easier to take photos by hand, using a tripod will give you stable images without any blurry effect from shaky hands taking them. Plus, you will have the ability to set your camera angle at fixed shots to maintain consistent images all throughout.
Photography projects usually prefer using natural light or daylight LED bulbs to help capture accurate colors. With proper lighting, you can capture the different colors and textures of the food while minimizing shadows and reflections.
Just remember, if you’re using artificial lighting, it’s best to use diffusers and reflectors. Diffusers will help control the intensity and the direction of the light, while reflectors will help illuminate your subject by bouncing back the light.
Another thing to keep in mind with food photography is to avoid hard shadows since they can make your food look unappetizing. And since natural light is still the recommended lighting source for photography projects, choose the best time in the day when you can maximize the sunlight.
Food Photography Tips: Key Concepts to Keep in Mind
Now that you know the basic equipment you’ll need, here are some photoshoot tips that even commercial food photography uses.
The first thing to remember in photography projects is the composition of the elements within the frame. A well-composed image will draw the viewer’s eyes to the subject with the other props at the back complementing it. Here are some photography composition tips that can come in handy:
Rule of Thirds
This rule is a basic photography principle that divides your frame into three parts, both vertically and horizontally. What you want to do is to place your subject at the intersections of the lines for a balanced and visually appealing image.
Choosing the Right Angle for Your Shot
You want to experiment with different angles to know which one will work best for your subject. For example, pizzas are better shot from the top creating a flat, two-dimensional look. However, food like burgers is more appealing from the side. You can also try a low angle to create a sense of depth to the food you’re shooting.
Using props and backgrounds can add depth to your photos. A blurred background can help lead the focus to your subject, while textured ones can add an interesting contrast to the image.
Keep It Simple
It may be tempting to add a lot of elements to complement your food, but more often than not, simplicity works best. Too many background props might be distracting to the overall look you’re going for, and you want your viewer to focus on the subject—your food.
Engaging in a photography project means that you have to add a bit of artistry to your model. And with styling, it’s basically arranging the food and props to create a visually appealing photo. If you do it right, you can successfully translate the tastiness of the food into the image––while creating a complementary mood to the photograph.
Some important reminders with styling are to:
- Choose the right props that fit your theme. For example, use wooden cutting boards for a more rustic look.
- Use fresh ingredients.
- Add texture by using props and garnish.
- Add colors to contrast the food. Plain-colored cloths are good to use—a classic.
- Add movement to your images to make them more exciting. For example, add steam for effect or pour liquid onto the subject.
Styling your food properly is a key part of food photography. If done well, you will surely have alluring food images for your viewers to enjoy.
Editing and Finalizing
After taking tons of photographs of your food, you can now take the raw photos and edit them to emphasize the details. You can add more contrast or brightness, and even reduce shadows through editing. Basic knowledge of Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop can help you edit the image to polish it.
Some adjustments you can make are adjusting the exposure, contrast, and color balance. You can even sharpen the photo and remove distractions, like stray smudges or crumbs, to keep the photo clean.
Stay Creative with Your Photos
While food photography can be intimidating and tedious, the outcome of the images is worth it. And by following these tips for food photography, you can start taking your own pictures!
One idea you can do to add more creativity to your food photos is by making the ingredients levitate per piece to make it look like it’s floating.
Another concept is to include the raw and key ingredients of the food in the photo. For example, if you’re taking a photo of lemon tarts, why not add the actual lemon to the photo to add a splash of whimsy? Don’t be afraid to try out these styles and see what’s best for your photo.
There’s always a great sense of achievement in taking high-quality and mouth-watering food photographs that you and others can enjoy.
Stellar Studios: Your Food Photography Partner
Now that you know the basic tips on food photography, you can try it out for yourself! It’s always good to practice new skills when you can.
Of course, another option for those looking to produce high-quality food photos is to invest in professional food photography to ensure that you get advertisement-level enticing photos all the time.
Here at Stellar Studios, we offer top-notch services for your photography needs. Be it for your business or for personal branding, we make sure that you get captivating photos each time.
You can check out our portfolio on our website or contact us!