5 Food Photography Tips And Tricks
By: Federico Alegria
These days, it’s not enough for food to taste good. To be on the radar of the most discriminating gourmands, your dish has to be photogenic as well—a feast not just for the palate, but also for the eyes.
It is hard to know exactly when food photography became so popular, but we have a theory that social media had a lot to do with it. It doesn’t matter if you are shooting with a phone, a point and shoot camera or a DSLR (even an analog film camera can work), what really matters is composition and lighting conditions. You don’t need to be a food stylist—anyone can make real food look good by following these simple tricks. Don’t forget to display your shots on your Nixplay Frame!
1. Mind the colors
The best thing you can do to achieve great food photos is to compose your shots with colors in mind. Colors are the biggest asset of food imagery, and can do wonders in making your dish look mouthwatering (or unappetizing). We suggest that you do some homework on color psychology, and you’ll see how important it is to use colors correctly.
2. Rustic and organic never fails
After news leaked about food styling and high makeup inclusions in food photography (especially on advertisements), there was a huge wave of food photographs depicting natural looks. Many dishes these days are plated to look good, so all you need to do is take out your camera and find a good angle. The best way to achieve a rustic look is to use fresh ingredients against a neutral backdrop.
Pro Tip: Need to get inspired? Keeping up with photography trends has never been easier with Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and many other platforms. Magazines and culinary shows like Chef’s Table are likewise great resources for inspiration.
3. Use a tripod whenever you can
A tripod is a photographer’s best friend. It allows you to shoot in ways that are technically impossible to do handheld, giving you a wider range of angles to find the best shot. If you can’t work with a tripod, you can always figure out some solutions to keep your camera or phone stable and secure (bean bags are great for this).
4. The 90-degree approach
Never underestimate the power of the direct 90 degrees approach, also known as the overhead or top shot. This works fantastically for making dishes look tasty and beautiful.
Pro Tip: Use a macro lens whenever you can to better capture the details of your food—that lovely bokeh effect is awesome for food photographs. If you don’t have a lens-interchangeable camera, you can always use the macro mode on your point and shoot, or you can use selective focus (or even a converter) on your phone.
5. Keep it simple
Less is more in pretty much every creative discipline, and food photography is not an exception. Back in the old days of still-life paintings, food was depicted as a symbol of abundance and prosperity. Nowadays, the minimalist approach does the trick, keeping the focus solely on the dish.
We hope you find these bite-sized tips and tricks useful for making your meals drool-worthy in your photos. And remember: #FoodPorn shots are great, but eating your meal while it’s still hot is way better. Dig in and enjoy, folks!
Federico is a documentary photographer, writer and educator based in El Salvador. Check out his photography portfolio.