Food photography is definitely one of the most challenging types of photography. Just like a painting, a photographer has to start with a blank canvas and build up slowly on the image, layer by layer. The photograph of the food has to be carefully constructed until it reaches the right balance of art and reality.
Every piece in the photograph has to be perfectly placed by the photographer. It is like a story. Whether you plan to shoot an after-party cocktail or a roasted chicken made at the farm, you are telling a story to your audience. Though this might seem complicated, it is really not. Here are 5 easy tips you can use to improve your skills at food photography and to tell your audiences better stories.
Select the right angle
Although there are only a few camera angles in food photography, you still need to pick the right one, by making a conscious decision. The type of story you wish to tell will be directly affected from where you place the camera. Take a moment to think about the food you are going to shoot. Think about its shape, size, height and speciality. Keeping this in mind, place the camera where you think will best highlight the qualities of the food. For instance, some dishes would look great when you shoot from right in the front, while others would appeal to your audience better when you shoot them from directly above the table. The angle really matters. If you were to shoot an image of a tray of cupcakes, your audience can really see the delicate toppings and frosting when shot from the front. However, if you shoot from above, they cannot see the size or the shape. On the other hand, if you were going to shoot a picture about tacos, it would be better to shoot from above, so that all the ingredients are visible, along with the beautiful shape of the tacos.
Enhance the background and foreground
If you are shooting from the front of the food, make sure to maintain a great background and foreground to play with. Use up the empty spaces to tell more of the story. Surround the main dish with props or ingredients that relate to the dish. Anything like herbs, oils, sauces or cooking utensils can indicate how the dish was prepared. Adding jars, tins, glasses, linens or fabrics can speak about the origin of the dish or the season when it is prepared. Taking the effort to place a few of these things in background or foreground can elevate your story and give it definition.
Modify natural light
Acquiring some tools to help you control natural lighting can take your food photography to the next level. Poor light can ruin your story and can even turn off your viewers. Making sure the lighting is just right will help your food photographs to a great extent. First up is to place a diffusor between the table and the window. When you work with direct sunlight, using a diffusor or even a thin white bed sheet will enhance the quality of light to a great extent. The diffusor will help to soften the dark and hard shadows caused by the direct sunlight. The next things you can use are white and black cards. While the white cards can be used to bounce light into the areas caused by the shadow, the blacks cards can make the shadows stronger and create a contrast. The black cards can also be used to block light from areas that compete with the central subject. You can also create darker and low-key styled images using these black cards.
Use lines and layers
How do you get your audience to focus on the subject will all those ingredients and props? The answer lies in using lines and layers. The props and ingredients themselves can be used to create lines and a layered effect in your images. This can lead your audience to the central image. For instance, you can use a spoon to create a line that directly leads the viewer to the bowl of ice cream and peaches. Shooting from above is also a great way to create lines. While you could use literal things like cutlery to create lines you can also use abstract details like seeds to create lines and frame the main subject.
Go for neutral tones
Be careful when choosing your props, as props that are colorful can upstage your food and take away all the attention from the main subject. Select props with neutral tones. Use something that can makes the food pop against it. Using a neutral background like a black metal tray or a simple baking paper can amplify a red strawberry cake, making the cake the winner.
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Do you love to photograph food? Did you find the above tips helpful? Do you have any additional tips that you would like to share with us? Please add your comments in the box below. We, at Outsource2india love to hear from you!
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