5 Holiday Food Photography Tips for Capturing Your Festive Cooking Creations
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5 Holiday Food Photography Tips for Capturing Your Festive Cooking Creations

Dec 26, 2016
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If there’s any food that really lends itself to being photographed, it’s holiday food. Christmas cookies and gingerbread houses, turkeys and cranberry sauce, pumpkin pies and warm apple cider – they’re all so pretty that they almost guarantee good pictures.

But good pictures can always get better. To make your holiday food photos really shine, follow these tips.

Pay attention to lighting.

Pro food photographers know that the difference between a delicious photo and a starkly unappetizing one often comes down just to lighting.

Natural light is almost always best, but unless you’re a pro who’s able to get all your dishes out of the oven at the exact same time, it’s not realistic to expect to use natural light for everything.

Luckily, food shots can look almost as good with artificial light – as long as it’s bright. Kitchen lights are, unfortunately, just about the worst lights available for food photography, but a bright reading lamp or table lamp that you can bring into your kitchen will do the trick.

If you’re really serious about food photography, it’s worth it to invest in a special photographic light.

Take photos as soon as it’s ready.

Food, especially savory food like meats, casseroles, and other cooked foods, look the best when they’re just out of the oven. This is true for a couple of reasons: first, because hot foods look the best when they’re still hot, and second, because you can bet that the food you serve won’t stay untouched for long after it’s hit the table (unless, of course, you’re making it solely for photographic purposes).

In order to make sure you get the shot you want at the right moment, try to set up your scene before the food is ready. If you’re using a tablecloth, make sure it’s laid and ready to go.

If you’re using any festive props, like sprigs of holly or a centerpiece, put it all in place. This will make the few seconds you spend getting the perfect shot much less stressful.

Take the photo as if you’re taking a portrait.

Holiday food, in particular, evokes certain feelings in all of us. It makes us think of celebration, family, warmth, joy, indulgence – the list goes on.

When you take your food photos, try to think of the image as a portrait. Food can’t pose, of course, but you can certainly bring out its emotional qualities through your choice of background, props, camera angle, and more.

Christmas cookies, for example, remind many of us of the magic of our childhood Christmas seasons. Get that feeling in your picture by including your Christmas tree in the background, or placing the cookies on a bright holiday plate next to a vibrant centerpiece.

Spend time on your plating.

That stray crumb may not catch your notice when you’re just looking at your food, but it’ll stand out like a sore thumb in your photograph.

Borrow a tip from the pros and use Q-tips to pick up crumbs and stray food particles, and make sure to wipe up any splatters – even ones that you don’t think will show up – with paper towels.

Use low angles as well as more conventional ones.

Much food photography is taken from straight overhead, and for good reason. This angle creates great pictures – but it’s far from the only one you should be using.

Try placing your camera directly on the table and shooting a “fork’s eye view,” as it’s called. Other options are shooting from above with the food at a tilt, shooting your food straight on and centered in the frame, or zoomed way in. All will give you interesting images that go beyond the typical ones you often see.

And don’t forget to show off your food photography by adding it to your holiday playlist on your Nixplay WiFi Cloud Digital Frame! For more ideas on creating great holiday photos, read our post “4 Tips for Making Your Holiday Photos Even Better.”