Food photography requires very different technique than general photography. The lighting, props and lens have to be selected carefully for the type of food and the location where you have to take the photos. With the popularity of food, recipe and travel blogs, more people are taking pictures of all types of food, from raw salad to sweet desserts. Anyone with a digital camera and a little practice can produce a decent food photo.
Here’s the top 5 tips to help you get your food photography right.
Tip #1: Do Not Use the Camera’s Flash
First rule of food photography is proper lighting. We are not talking about professional photographer shooting in a studio environment with expensive lighting equipment. Amateurs tend to use the built-in flash of their compact camera to take picture of the exotic meal that they ordered. The hard shadow caused by the flash light made the picture flat and unappetizing.
Using natural lighting is best for shooting on location. Try to position the food near the window so that the light from the side. If you were using a compact camera, you might need to use a tripod otherwise you would have to invest in a camera with a faster lens e.g. F2.0.
Tip #2: Use a Fast Lens
A faster lens will allow you to take sharp pictures even in dim light condition. If you were using a DSLR, select a lens with a large aperture e.g. 35mm F2.0 or 50mm F1.8. And if you use a compact camera get one with a F2.0 or F1.8 lens e.g. the Panasonic LX5, Canon S100 or the Nikon P310. A faster lens with a larger aperture will allow you to throw the background out of focus and also give nice bokeh.
Tip #3: Selective use of Props
Food photography is to a large extent satisfying the appeal of the users mind. Cluttering the shot with a whole bunch of props can often distract the attention off the subject. So when shooting a pizza, make sure that the ingredients and the crust fill the frame.
Use of contrasting colors in the props can help to get the perfect shot. Photographers use anything from gum tape to wax to toothpicks to cue tapes in order to set the food up and get the desired effect. As an amateur photographer not having any specialize props, use whatever you have in hand to prep the shot.
Tip #4: Use Macro Mode
If you are using a compact camera, the largest aperture is at the widest angle of the zoom. You will have to get really close in order to fill the frame with your subject and in order to do that you’ll need to use the Macro mode. The close-up shot will capture the textures and details of the food, making it even more interesting.
Tip #5: Use Artificial Enticers
Photographers use a lot of methods to make the shots they take really inviting. If you are shooting a smoked salmon which was cooked an hour ago, the dish not going to look very hot. In order to inculcate that effect you could use an artificial smoke source e.g. dry ice and shoot the images to make it looks really steaming hot.
Food photography can be concluded to be a mixture of great camera work and the ability to make things presentable. It is a culmination of proper lighting, proper angle of the camera, correct depth of field, focusing point and of course lots of prep work.