If you’ve ever tried taking a picture of your food at a fancy restaurant to update your Instagram with, you’ll understand the frustration of not being able to get that food blogger-worthy shot even after countless tries. You’d think taking an artsy photo of what looks so good would be easy enough, right? But the final product just makes your food look boring, unappetizing and none of the beauty of the actual dish translates into the picture.
Whether you’re looking to start a food blog or just looking for a few tips to make your dinners out look Insta-ready, this beginner’s guide to food photography will massively upgrade your food shots.
Find Natural Lighting Whenever Possible
Natural lighting is your best friend when it comes to taking food pictures. Indoor lighting is often harsh, causing shadows and unnatural highlights. The flash on cameras is especially bad for taking food pictures. It can cause light to reflect off your food, making it look more greasy than moist. Try taking your next shot with the sun shining through a window on your food and notice the difference soft light makes.
Every food picture you take should resonate with your audience and tell a story. People tend to be attracted to pictures they can find a story in, and adding props to your picture can do this for you. By adding a pitcher of milk in the background of the above picture, the photographer instantly called to mind lazy mornings in the childhood spent dunking chocolate chip cookies into glasses of milk in the minds of his viewers. This invokes nostalgia and happiness.
Do not be Afraid of Cropping
You do not need to include the background details of your table every time you take a photo of your plate. Zoom in and crop edges off the plate to keep the focus of the viewer solely on the food instead of letting them get distracted by everything happening in the background.
Play Around With Angles
Not every food item looks good from every angle. For example, when taking a picture of a rainbow cake, taking the shot from above will not show the beauty of the cake in its entirety as the layers on the cake will not be fully visible. Taking the shot from the front will allow you to better tell your story in this case.
Don’t Make the Shot Look Too Clean
Shots too clean, with no imperfections offer little personality and just end up looking staged. Embrace the imperfections of food, with all its spills, and drips. Artfully arranged messes give your food photography that air of nonchalant naturalness.
The newest, most expensive camera is not going to do anything for your photographs if you do not know the correct angles and light to shoot in. Practice ultimately makes you more capable of knowing just which angle to use in which shot. So, don’t be afraid to experiment and make sure to practice every chance you get and in no time at all, you too will be taking pictures worthy of that aesthetically pleasing Insta-feed.
The author is an expert in photography with over five years of experience in food photography. Along with taking the most delicious shots to make mouths water for days, she also helps aspiring photographers improve their photography skills at IYPO, a website that offers online photography courses for amateur photographers.