The 7 Secrets of Food Photography

The 7 Secrets of Food Photography

With the rise of digital camera and travel, food photography is getting very popular. If you go to a famous tourist restaurant in your town, you’d often see people from all over the world trying to take picture of their meals before they eat.

It’s becoming a very common practice to share a personal picture of a meal on the social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

However, food photography can be challenging. Not all pictures of food that you see on the social media sites are pleasing. Most of the time, they’re just average. Or even worse, they make the food look LESS appetizing with clumsy photography technique.

In fact, most professionals consider food photography to be the most difficult area of expertise to master in photography. There are a lot of factors that can make or break your food picture including: lighting, equipment, angle, composition and even the final print. So, the photographer’s skill will play a very important role in the success of a great food photograph.

Here I will share with you 7 killer tips that you can use to make your food photography better. You won’t be able to take world class food photography photo using this tips, but they are good enough to make your pictures look pretty in case you want to share it in social media sites or even sell them. Here they come:

1. Know Thy Camera.

You really need to be familiar with your camera to take good food photos. Get your camera manual if you’re not familiar with your camera’s feature. In particular, make sure you know how to change and adjust the focusing, white balance, exposure compensation and flash mode. You’ll be using those technical stuff in conjunction with good composition technique to take great photos.

Food Photography Tips 1 - Know Your Camera

2. Know Thy Equipment.

There are other equipments that you might want to use to take great food photos. The most important one is a tripod. Food photography is often shot in dim lighting condition. And when you shoot in dim lighting condition, the pictures often comes out blurry due to slow shutter speed and camera shake. A tripod helps you stabilize your camera which can result in sharper pictures. Other accessories that you might look at includes studio flashes and strobes if you’re really serious about food photography.

Food Photography Tips 2 - Know Your Equipment

3. Get in Close.

When composing the shot, get in close. Get in as close as possible. Fill in the entire frame of your camera with your subject to greatly emphasize the texture and ingredients of the food. This technique will make your food photography looks very unique and people will think you’re a professional photographer.

Food Photography Tips 3 - Get in Close

4. Calculate Your DOF (Depth of Field)

When you’re really close to your subject, you can play around with the depth of field. Depth of field is simply the amount of “background blurriness” in a scene. I prefer to use a shallow depth of field when doing food photography. It adds depth and dimension to the picture and people will be drawn to them naturally.

Food Photography Tips 4 - Know Your Depth of Field

5. Shoot the Standouts.

Identify what ingredients stand out in the food and include it in your photo. Before you press the shutter button, make sure you assess the scene as closely as possible and see what grabs your attention right away. Once you find it, make it the focus of your shot and start snapping away.

Food Photography Tips 5 - Shoot The Standouts

More often than not, what grabs your attention will more likely be what grabs other people’s attention too. So, it is wise to use that as an “entry point” to your picture.

6. Plan Your Lighting

Lighting is key in food photography, just like other form of photography. Basically, you’ll be dealing with two kind of lights: natural and artificial.

I only find one type of lights work well in food photography: soft light.

You can get soft light by using a large softbox with a flash strobe if you’re using artificial light. For an even softer effect, you can use two or more softboxes.

What to do when you’re faced with natural light though? The solution is simple: use diffused window light.

Light coming through a window will be less harsh than direct light. To obtain this kind of light, simply ask the waitress to sit you beside the window. You’ll then have all the time to take some amazing pictures of your meal.

Food Photography Tips 6 - Plan Your Lighting

7. Mind The Details

Details matter in food photography. Make sure you pay attention to them. Before you finish your shooting session, check the lighting setup, background and borders. If you see distractions, it’s better to take another shot than to fix them in Photoshop later.

Food Photography Tips 7 - Mind The Details

If you have some empty space, you can fill them with garnish and other props. Whatever happens in the shooting session, do pay careful attention to details to save you time and headache later on.

Those are some tips to help you take better food photos. Remember, practice makes permanent. Try to implement them in your food photography shooting session and watch better pictures coming out from your camera.

What are your thoughts on food photography? Do you have additional tips to share?

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