Following my recent presentation about food photography techniques at Chef’s Knowledge Exchange organised by Unilever in October, I decided it would be a good idea to upload some food photography techniques on our news blog for a wider audience.

Food photography is one of the most challenging types of photography. These days millions of food photographs are uploaded on the internet, some are great and some are not so good. Whether you are a chef, food stylist or a blogger, the following 8 tips will help you take better food photographs.

1- Use natural light - Make use of natural light, the light could be from a window or, weather permitting, shoot outdoors. If too much light is reflected on your subject, defuse it with a white sheet of paper or a sheet of white linen.  On the other hand if there is not enough light, use a tripod and take your shot with a slow shutter speed. You will be amazed how much light you can capture in low light.

Natural light is used for both images.

Natural light is used for both images.

2- Think about the angle of your shot - Position the camera at an angle that makes the food more enticing and interesting. Decide whether the food looks better from above, front or the side.

Shots taken from above

Shots taken from above

3- Pay attention to every detail of the shot -  Think carefully about the composition. Clear clutter, use fresh ingredients and choose your props carefully.

Every detail of this shot has been carefully considered.

Every detail of this shot has been carefully considered.

4- Take images with shallow depth of field - If appropriate, open up the aperture and put the hero of the shot in focus and the rest of the image out of focus. However, be careful how shallow you go. If you open up the aperture too much the composition you’ve work so hard to get right may became too blurred.

Shallow depth of field technique has been used for these shots

Shallow depth of field technique has been used for these shots

5- Do a dry run, before the final shot - Choose the location, place the props, i.e. plates, cutlery, crockery etc in position, choose your camera settings, take a shot to make sure you’re happy with lighting and composition. Then place the food in position for the actual shot. This way you're not shooting tired or dried out food.

6- Use leading lines- This technique is used to lead the eyes to parts of the image that you wish to draw attention to.

Leading lines here are used very graphically, but there are many ways of using leading lines.

Leading lines here are used very graphically, but there are many ways of using leading lines.

7- Provide height - Height fills the frame and makes the image fuller, prouder, and less apologetic. Sometimes if the food is too flat by its nature (i.e. fish), lifting the food would help it not to disappear in the background.

Left: By lifting the food, the image becomes more three dimensional

Left: By lifting the food, the image becomes more three dimensional

8- Post processing - A slight amount of sharpness and contrast increase will usually help to finalise the image.

Hopefully the above information will give you 'food for thought'. To commission us to take photographs of your food please contact us by email or call 028 9756 5681.

 

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