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Have you ever taken a photograph of food only to realize that the food looks completely unappetizing in your photo? Food blogs, shows, and magazines are all the rage as people look to these sources for recipes and inspiration. If the food doesn't look appetizing, then why would someone want to create the recipe? With food photography, it's all about getting mouths to water and cravings to reach their peak.
5 Tips for Better Food Photography
Food photography can be a difficult. However, if you apply these simple tips, you will be on your way to better food photographs.
1.) Use Natural Light
More often than not, if you use artificial light, then you might end up with food that looks a bit on the plastic side. Natural light is the way to go when photographing food. Not only does natural light make food look delectable, it also allows you to accurately play with shadows and tones. If you see the clouds rolling in, celebrate. Overcast days allow for better lighting situations when it comes to photography, especially food photography. So, scope out your house and find out where you get the best natural light and at what time of day. Then, prepare your recipe, setup your photography station, and shoot in natural light.
2.) Play With Angles
Since the camera is setup to naturally hold horizontally, that's normally what people do. Why not switch it up a bit and shoot your food while holding the camera vertically? When holding the camera on a verticle angle, you'll have a wide variety of ways to position the food and props. Also, don't be afraid to stand over the top of your food. Some recipes are better shot when looking at them from above instead of straight on through the lens.
3.) Collect Props
You don't need to drop a lot of money on food photography props. However, invest in a few timeless props that fit your food photography style. As you can see from the photos above, I prefer a rustic food photography style so I'm always picking up food props that have a rustic feel to them.
Props don't have to be costly either. I love shopping on Etsy for food photography props. You can find great products and deals on that site. Be sure to not buy props that you can only use once before they get boring. You might come across a really funky and unique fork. However, if you use it once in a photo, people won't forget it so it will be difficult to use it again without becoming predictable. Instead, invest in key pieces that you will be able to use over and over again. Actually, to be on the inexpensive side, if your recipe calls for fresh herbs, save a little bit of the fresh herbs to use as a food photography prop. The fresh ingredients not only add a certain amount of flavor to food photography, but they also allow viewers to know what's in the recipe.
4.) Capture Moments
I come across so many food photographs that are simply of the recipe, that's it. Why not add a mood or feeling to your recipe? If you're photographing a breakfast recipe, add a newspaper, book, and/or cup of coffee. If you're photographing a dinner recipe, add place settings, other side dishes, and/or bread to add a feeling of dinnertime to the post.
5.) Know Your Camera
"What kind of camera do you use? What type of lens do you have?" I get asked these questions a lot. They are usually followed up with, "I want to know so that I can take photos like your photos." That's quite a compliment. However, it's one of my biggest pet peeves. Why? Because no matter what equipment you have, you can achieve great foot photos. I have seen some really amazing food photographs taken using a phone's camera. In other words, the camera isn't everything. Work with what you have, your eye, and your style. Don't get me wrong, it's nice having control and lenses. However, when it comes to photography, technique is far more important than improving your gear. Also, be sure to read your manual. You really need to know your camera and become familiar with its capabilities in order to make a photo shoot less stressful and more enjoyable.
What are your favorite tips to use when photographing food?
Jen Tilley has an insatiable appetite for all things related to baking and cooking. She is the author, photographer and recipe developer on How To: Simplify, a blog that shares tips, tricks and recipes to simplify life in the kitchen. She enjoys sharing recipes that require very few ingredients and only a small amount of prep and cook time, all of which make time spent in the kitchen simple and enjoyable.
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