Tips on Getting Great Food Photos
by Tim Farmer
As we approach the holiday season everyone will be cooking and eating some magnificent meals and sharing them on social media. So, you are in the kitchen and you want to build some anticipation for the meal you are serving your guests or you’re at the table and you want to let the world know about this new hip eatery. How can you take a photo that shows off just how wonderful your meal is?
For the longest time, food photography was a science, but in the 90s things started to change from prepped food that looked great (but was actually inedible) to REAL FOOD.
Here are some simple tips you can use at a restaurant or in your home as you get ready for Thanksgivings Day Feast!
Photograph your plated food as soon as it is placed in front of you when it looks best. Any meat will still look shiny from just coming off the heat and the veggies will be the freshest. Desserts will also look great as things like powdered sugar will not have time to soak up moisture or the berries will pop.
Try to put your food near the strong light source with the light coming from behind your food. A second, less powerful light or simply a reflective surface opposite the main light source is a good idea. This will help you be careful and fill the shadows on the front so the food is not too dark. This will highlight the texture of the food and your food will shine and look very fresh.
Get close but also try to show a little bit of the surrounding environment. Whether shooting a nicely plated meal at the table or a fresh baked pie in the kitchen, including the surroundings adds a story to your food.
If you are shooting with a camera, you can control your f-stop, use a f/2.8-5.6 for a shallow depth of field. This will draw your viewer’s eyes to the subject while still being in a location.
I carry an Olympus Pen F with me where every I go. This small little camera is hip and takes great shots. Smartphones are good because they are usually with us and they do a good job, but if you want outstanding photos I would suggest finding a small but powerful camera.
When I’m baking at home, I often set up an LED light so I can control the light instead of just relying on the light that’s coming from the window or from the lights in the kitchen. If you want to try this I would recommend coming in and renting some lights and talking to a staff member about on how to get the most out of your equipment.
Happy shooting and bon apetite!