Years ago, the only people who took photos of food were usually those who were working on assignments or for magazines. However, these days there are quite a few photographers who are taking some tasty shots of colorful dishes. Also, many people who are on vacation are now in the habit of taking images of their restaurant delights to show how people in other nations and cultures prepare and enjoy their local cuisine.
But while your food may be flavorful and delicious, many food images end up looking pretty tasteless and bland. An ideal food photo will make the viewer wish he or she was taking a bite out of the topic. To make the food look as good as it tastes, you’ll need to develop a good eye for detail and know how to utilize your lighting options.
While many photographers shoot the food the way it’s presented on the plate, others will rearrange the food until things look like they are all in the right place.
In a way, you can imagine the plate being an artist’s canvas and the food as the paintbrush. This allows you to create an artistic approach to your food photography that will catch the viewer’s eye and attention.
Since there are so many different types of food, you’ll be able to work with a wide variety of textures and colors. If you’re taking photos of food you order at a restaurant you’ll be limited to what shows up on the plate. However, if you’re creating your own images at home you’ll be able to use your imagination and creativity to get more vibrant images.
If you use a tripod when taking the shots you’ll be a bit limited, working without one will allow you to move around the food and experiment with a host of angles and camera positions. Of course, fresh-looking food is a lot more appealing. You’ll find that green vegetables can wilt and turn color pretty quickly and meat can soon dry out. A little dash of water can make the food look moist and if the food is steaming it can also be a good effect.
It’s also important to choose the right surfaces and props. You can try out special locations for your photos as well as coming up with staged environments. The right cutlery, glass, dish, and plate etc. will also go a long way in making the image more appealing. It’s a good idea to select a color scheme which will complement the character and/or color of the food. For example, black backgrounds often intensify a dish’s color and white backgrounds represent a clean mood.
The lighting that you use will enable you to set the mood for the images, such as mystery, drama, or excitement. Natural light often works well in food photography, but using artificial will allow you to take more control of the shot. Using backlight and fill flash can be effective and sidelight often highlights the depth and texture of the food. There are several lighting options and it’s always a good idea to experiment to see what you like the best.
There’s no right or wrong way to take photos of your favourite foods, but if you pay attention to the lighting, surfaces, props, setting, and the food itself, you are bound to get more pleasing results. If your images do turn out to look as appetizing, colorful, and fresh as the food itself, then you have definitely got the hang of it.