Tips on photographing food


When photographing food, there is a lot that goes on, including lighting, composing the shot. This makes food shooting  quite a production in itself. If therefore, you are shooting for a small cookbook or a big publishing client, there is a need to bring your best game to get the best images. According to Marcus Nilsson, a renowned food photographer, the following hints might be helpful.

Use only one lighting source

With food photography, less is more. When photographing other things like cars and architecture, you can add more light till you get the perfect shot. However, with food, it’s advisable that you select a single large and diffused source of light. Before using any external source of light, first check your window lighting as this often gives the best most natural results. Back or side light highlights the food and creates dimension. If the light isn’t sufficient, you can add a fill light so as to soften the background lighting and to create separation. The use of window lighting may result in occurrence of shadows. To soften these shadows, you can use a reflector.

Vary the angle of the camera

Just like humans, food can be photographed from flattering angles. The concept in your head might not result in the best photo, hence there is a need to try shooting from different angles. In order to get good photos take some time recomposing then take other shots from different angles. Clients like variety and it’s great to offer them a range of alternatives so that they can choose what’s best for them. Shooting photos of ingredients from different angles will give more choices for the client and demonstrate initiative on your part.

Take shots of the ingredients too

They are the different ingredients that will give food its great look, though a delicious dish does not always mean a beautiful dish. Some food might just look awful when photographed. In such cases, consider taking shots of the ingredients. Fill the frame, for instance, when shooting shots of coffee beans, a zoomed image will show a higher level of texture and detail. By looking at the photo, a person will be able feel the texture of the coffee bean even without touching.

The clean plate club

Have you ever seen how a food stylist handles food? A stylist will use tweezers to put food on the plate! They are very meticulous and careful. This is because even a small misplaced food crumb can divert the attention of the viewer on the plate. You should therefore not think of assuming such details thinking that you will use photoshop to clear such clutter. Remember to take the best and perfect shots with your camera. Use white clean plates as they photograph really well.

Do not touch the food!!!

Do not learn this one after messing up. Marcus Nilsson advises that once the food gets to the table, you should never dare touch it. You can turn the plate if need be, but if you want something removed or added, ask the stylist to do it. They know how to do that without resulting in damages since they are specialists in their area, just like you.