Taking great photographs of food is a special skill set. In fact, there are some photographers that specialize in shooting only food – there are also food technicians and food stylists who help contribute to the final image. As an art director working with these professionals, it’s important to understand what it takes to compose a successful image that complements your design vision.
Getting creative with props and styling can bring your images to the next level. Here are some tips to get you started.
- Choosing a Plate: Round plates are definitely easier to shoot as square and rectangular plates have a tendency to look trapezoidal and wonky, especially at eye level or shallow angles. It’s also easier to work with a salad-size or smaller plate rather than a full-size dinner plate – you don’t have to worry about filling up any unwanted space on the plate and the food will look more prominent. Lastly, try moving the plate around and taking photos at various angles so you can pick your favorite shot later.
- Choosing your Accessories: Napkins, utensils, glassware, etc. can fill up the composition and make your images more engaging. Like the plate size concept, avoid using so many accessories that you lose sight of the goal, which is making sure the food is always the star. Also, don’t forget to think about how color complements the food you are shooting.
- Jazzing up your Dish: Is that boring bowl of pasta being uncooperative? Put an herb on it! Seriously, adding herbs, condiments, and toppings can be a great way to dress up a dish – even an ugly one – by adding a POP of color. However, be sure that your garnishes make sense. There’s nothing more jarring than an ingredient that doesn’t belong no matter how pretty it looks.
- Don’t forget the Background: There are many different surfaces on which to shoot your food photography. You can use a table in your kitchen or in a restaurant, the floor, or any other flat surface. You can also enhance your photo by adding another layer such as a cutting board, tablecloth, placemat or a slab of stone. Be careful not to add too many elements and risk detracting from the food; I recommend taking something out while shooting and comparing the before and after photos. Finally, focus on what is most important but don’t zoom in so much that viewers can’t identify the food.
The takeaway? Using these basic tips will get you started on producing some mouth-watering food photos. Don’t forget that the colors and textures of a dish should be celebrated, not muted or hidden. That means avoiding at all costs blurry snapshots, unappealing angles, and that all-too-common yellow cast. If your mouth doesn’t water when editing your photos, you did something wrong.
Not getting the most out of your food photography? Having experience helps. Let us show you how we can help you create photos that will tempt your target audience. Contact us to start a conversation at email@example.com.