Food Photography Tips for Capturing What’s on Your Plate

Did you know studies have shown that taking a picture of food before you eat it can help you enjoy it more? Viewing pictures of healthy food can get you excited about heating healthy food yourself, and it can even make you enjoy eating healthy food that you would normally turn your nose up at.

Not to mention, taking pictures of beautiful, tasty food is just a lot of fun!

No matter what your reason for whipping out your camera and taking a snap of your meal before it’s consumed, the artistic quality behind your photos is important. Especially if you want people to like and share your photo on social media. Here are a few tips that will help you capture what’s on your plate before your plate is cleared.

Use the Right Camera

Restaurants and cafés are full of people taking pictures of the food on their plates with their cell phones. There’s no denying it’s convenient. You’ve already got a phone in your pocket, eliminating the need to carry around a camera.

However, if you want to take stunning pictures of your meal, the camera you use matters.

Use a travel camera when taking pictures of your food. They are compact and lightweight, so it won’t be a burden to carry one in your bag or around your neck, but you’ll get all the benefits of better shots that come with a traditional camera.

Skip the Flash

Natural lighting is the gold standard in photography. When done correctly, it can illuminate and enhance any subject, from the living to the inanimate. The challenge is knowing how to use natural sunlight indoors to your advantage.

Minimize shadows in your photos by finding a place that gets natural sunlight from at least two angles, or use a reflector. Even a simple piece of white paper can help.

You should also skip direct sunlight, which can wash out your images. Choose filtered or indirect light for the best results.

Don’t be afraid to head outside if you’re having a hard time getting the lighting just right! An outdoor table that is guarded from the sun by an umbrella is a great place to take food photos.

Set the Scene

Food photography is all about the food in the shot. Well, not exactly.

If you want an intriguing photo, you need to capture more than just the food. That means capturing the bowl, utensils, and other items, which means setting the scene.

Get the scene right by getting creative with ideas that include:

  • Letting your food shine by using simple bowls and plates
  • Using decorative cutlery
  • Sprinkling the ingredients on the table around the plate
  • Including unexpected details, like tea towels and flowers
  • Including your hand in the image

Pick the Right Angle

There are a lot of creative camera angles to choose from when taking pictures, but when it comes to food photography, nothing beats the bird’s eye view. It’s the best way to capture food that is in a bowl or on a plate.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a little creative, depending on what you’re eating.

If the food you’re trying to capture has some height, or it is being displayed in a creative way, you might want to play around with the angle a bit. An eye level shot would be great for a cake being displayed on a cake stand, while a low angle can enhance the appearance of a donut wall.

Make the Food Part of a Larger Story

The very best photos tell a story. One great image taken in just the right way can communicate an entire narrative about what is happening in that moment.

Dynamic subjects, like people and animals, make it easy to tell a story. Unfortunately, telling a story of a bowl of spaghetti is a little more difficult. It requires more creatively.

Telling the story can easily be done when you think carefully about what you place near the food in the shot. If enjoying an upscale experience, place a glass of wine next to that bowl of spaghetti and keep the lighting low. If you’re enjoying a smoothie at home, include the book you’re reading in the shot. A special celebration might be best captured with a closeup of everyone clinking glasses that contain a stunning cocktail.

Just like any hobby, practice makes perfect. When you’re first getting started, follow these tips, and take multiple snaps of your food to ensure you get the perfect shot.

 

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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