Are you struggling with your Instagram account? You want to grow your following, attract new followers but don’t know how to do it. Food photography is a great way to gain more traction on Instagram. Often on Instagram, your shots are taken from an overhead angle or a high distance. This makes your food and drinks look very small and usually not appetizing to the viewer.
In every social media marketing company, the photos of food are perhaps the most liked kind of image. People spend a lot of time on Instagram to follow their favorite chefs and collect ideas for cooking. If you’re promoting your restaurant, food shop, or any eatery, you need to take Instagram seriously.
The most popular accounts on Instagram tend to be food-related, from restaurants to bloggers and even chefs. Food photography is an art form in itself and requires skill with a camera and knowledge of lighting.
Food is one of the most popular topics to post about when it comes to Instagram. Whether you’re a cafe or restaurant sharing shots of your dishes and customers, or a home cook documenting your latest creations, food photography can be rewarding and hugely gratifying.
The platform has become a destination for amateur and professional photographers alike, seeking validation through likes, comments, and follows on their delicious-looking photos. And while you might think it’s not a big deal to snap a photo of your meal in dim lighting, that’s not going to translate well as an Instagram post. The network is all about bright, crisp images that look photo-shoot ready.
The only problem is that beautiful-looking food isn’t always easy to capture on camera. Great food photos require excellent lighting, the right angle, and a bit of artistic flair to do the dish justice.
Food bloggers know how difficult it is to take good pictures of your food. It’s crucial that you do, though. You want people to imagine what your food looks like, and food photography helps you achieve this goal. The key is taking high-quality photos without the need for a commercial-grade camera.
Food photography is one of the most popular genres of Instagram photography. It’s also one of the most difficult to master. Admittedly, making a plate of scrambled eggs look good can be pretty hard. But it’s probably not as complicated as you think.
You can have the most beautiful dish globally with photography, but nobody will be impressed if it’s not shot correctly. Are you among them or just someone who wants to beautify the photos they take? Check out these five pro tips to make your food image look amazing.
1. Choose the best angle
If you are running a restaurant or have a food-related business, it’s essential to know how to take photos of your delectable creations. Food photography is an art that takes time and practice to master. But with the proper knowledge, you can use your smartphone to create eye-catching pictures of your dishes.
If you’re photographing a restaurant, you should also choose the right time of day to shoot. The best time for interior photography is during the “golden hour” (the hour before sunset or after sunrise). The light will be softer and less contrasty, ideal for indoor work. During midday, use a fill flash to reduce harsh shadows if you must shoot.
Food photographers can use different types of gear to capture the perfect shot. The essential equipment is a camera that allows total control over aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. This can be a DSLR or interchangeable lens mirrorless camera.
But in food photography, it’s unnecessary to spend a lot of money on a camera body as long as it has good low-light performance. You don’t need fancy equipment or professional lighting gear to take great food photos. It all starts with great food, good lighting, and the right attitude.
There’s no single correct way to photograph food. After all, you can photograph your dish from the chef’s vantage point or the consumer. Many photographers prefer the overhead angle since it allows more room for objects in the foreground to show off the texture. It’s a stunning perspective that results in images with a 3D look, but it’s not the only one available to you. Chefs generally design plating for the diner’s perspective, so it’s good to photograph the dish from an angle similar to what you see when seated at a restaurant.
The overhead angle is also more pleasant to the eye than other perspectives. At least in certain circumstances, it is. Although the overhead perspective is popular, it is not the only choice. Chefs usually plate from the diner’s perspective, so photographing the meal from an angle comparable to what you’d see at a restaurant is a good idea. Of course, you can take many photographs of each word to discover which one works best.
If you need more convincing, consider how many online reviews are written in the first person to create an experience that readers can connect with. It’s only natural that your images should also reflect this point of view.
2. Surround your object with design
Designing the environment around the food is a crucial aspect of compelling food photography. A solitary item amid an empty dish is just as uninteresting as a plate in the middle of an open table, which can be distractingly austere. Chefs frequently use garnishes, side dishes, sauces, and drizzles to add a level of artistry to their cuisine, and you can do the same with your photographs.
It’s important not to go overboard with this. Don’t surround a steak with so many vegetables. They obscure it entirely. Or don’t place it on such a large plate that its size is dwarfed by the platter surrounding it. Sometimes less can be more, so make sure your garnishes draw attention to your main dish rather than away from it.
The best prop tips are to stay simple while still making it noticeable. Consider adding a tablecloth or napkin with a subtle pattern if you want to add texture. If you wish to color, pick a colorful garnish or side dish that complements the food on your plate. Think about how color and shape work together — burgers are often served on wooden cutting boards, while sushi might be performed on a rectangular dish with simple lines. The most important part is to ensure that your prop doesn’t take away from your main subject — the food!
Make your dish look more appetizing by using garnishes to fill space or add color. Adding a colorful vegetable or two can bring a flat plate to life.
Use texture. Texture can make a photo enjoyable when color is lacking. For example, if you’re photographing a bowl of white soup with nothing else on the plate, adding croutons or crackers on top adds visual interest and makes it look more filling. You can also place items on napkins or clothes to add texture to your image.
A common mistake in food photography is expecting the food to speak for itself. It can, but it doesn’t necessarily have to. If a chef is serving an entrée with a side of mashed potatoes and greens, there’s no reason not to include them in the photograph. Side dishes add color, texture and help put the main container into perspective.
Food photographers often use the same techniques as chefs when styling their work. Sauces, drizzles, and other garnishes are used to accentuate the features of the dish or add visual interest. A dish might be turned upside down to expose a different angle; a piece of meat might have its juices drawn out with a squeeze of lemon or a sprinkle of salt.
A good food photographer knows that everything you see in the photo is essential — not just the subject matter but also what’s going on. A plate sitting on an empty table looks flat and lifeless because there’s nothing to draw your eye from one place to another. The plate doesn’t just need garnishes — it needs context.
3. Use Photographic Props That Are Fun
Props can genuinely bring a food photograph to another level. You’ll only have a single food dish on a table without any props, which doesn’t sound particularly enjoyable, visually appealing, or texture-rich.
Props can quickly transform an amateur food photo into a professional one. It can be anything and everything: utensils, napkins, extra ingredients, flowers, blankets, spices, chopping boards – you name it. You could also have an entirely different dish in the background to give more context/story to your image.
Props help add layers to your composition. If you have a large bowl of soup in the foreground of your image with a small spoon in the front right corner of the bowl, there’s an implied story that someone is about to eat that soup with that spoon. It creates visual interest for the viewer and adds a story/context to your photograph.
The first rule of using props is never distracted from the main subject of your photograph, which is the food. You want your props to help enhance the image and not take away from it.
You want people looking at the whole picture and not just zeroing in on one particular object. By adding props to your food photos, you can add a lot of visual interest to your image. Props come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and textures. These elements will help bring your photos to life and make them much more appealing to the naked eye.
You’ll want to start by picking props that are neutral in color, so they don’t take away from the beauty of the food. You also want to make sure that the props don’t clash with the colors or texture of the food itself.
Props can also be used to set a mood for the shot. Adding something like a glass of wine or an aged bowl sets a stand for the reader and lets them know what kind of story you’re trying to tell with your food photo.
No matter what props you choose to use in your photo, make sure they complement your food by choosing colors and textures that work together. For example, if you’re taking a picture of lasagna and you want to use a fork as a prop, choose one that has a wooden handle. It will go better with the photo than one with plastic handles.
4. Create the ideal lighting
Lighting is tricky to master, especially if you’re a beginner photographer. To give you a sense of what’s out there, We will break down some of the most common lighting props and what they aid within your photography.
Let’s start with the basics: natural light. This can be any form of light that isn’t artificial. Natural light is usually just sunlight. If you want to take photos outside, this is what you’ll rely on. Natural light is often challenging to work with because it changes throughout the day. You don’t control how bright it is or how harsh the shadows are. You also can’t stop its movement; that’s up to the Earth itself.
All you can do is find a location with good lighting conditions and shoot at those times of day when the sunlight is most even and flattering for your subject and scene. Getting the right quality of natural light often means working out of doors at sunrise or sunset, when the sun is low in the sky and casts long, soft shadows rather than harsh overhead ones.
Reflectors are great for adding fill light and cutting down on shadows. They come in different sizes and shapes but are usually round or rectangular. People prefer round reflectors because they can be used for more than just lighting. Try using one as a background by placing it behind your subject.
Diffusers are great for softening harsh light from a flash or even daylight. It can take your images from “Wow, that looks terrible” to “Not bad!”. You can make this yourself by simply taping wax paper over your flash and cutting out a hole for the moment itself. However, if you want something more professional-looking, plenty of options out there will do the job nicely.
The next step up is umbrellas. They work similarly to reflectors, but they are also used to diffuse light. You will also need a light source such as a flash or strobe to go with your umbrella. Umbrellas come in two different types: shoot-through and reflective. Shoot-through umbrellas allow you to shoot through the umbrella when placed between the light and the subject (see example below). Reflective umbrellas will enable you to bounce the light off the umbrella and into your issue (see example below).
5. Utilize a natural backdrop
When photographing food, you want to fill the frame with your subject. Most of the time, you’ll want to crop out any extraneous objects, such as a table beneath your dish. This means you need to find a background that isn’t distracting when it’s blown up larger than life.
You have to decide whether you want the background to be a part of the image or if you want it to blend in. When it comes to products, most customers appreciate seeing the entire product and its packaging, but a simple white background often works best for food.
Place your food on a clean white plate or bowl and set it against an all-white countertop or table. Try to find some natural light coming into your kitchen through windows or skylights, and position your food setup near the light source so that you don’t get any shadows in the image.
The best time of day to take pictures with natural light is at dawn or dusk when the sun is lower in the sky and less harsh. Alternatively, you can turn on all of the lights in your kitchen and use them as your primary light source. This can work well for nighttime shooting, but make sure there are no other lights on in the room that might cast unwanted shadows.
Using a natural background for your food photography can be as important as lighting or composition. A good background will complement the color and textures of your dish. A bad one will distract the viewer or compete with it.
The best way to use a backdrop is to keep it simple and avoid competing with your subject. You may want to set up an area in your kitchen with a simple neutral backdrop — maybe a countertop, table, or tablecloth. Avoid complex patterns or distracting colors like reds, oranges, and yellows.
Consider photographing your dish on an outside table in a natural location for a unique environmental twist on food photography. Courtyards, backyards, and picnics are all fantastic places to photograph food because they create a fascinating ambiance and allow you to tell a story.
If you’re a blogger and need something for more permanent use, It is recommended to buy a piece of foam board from an art supply store. It’s simple, neutral, and easy to store.
A natural background is easy to achieve. You can use a wood chopping board, for example. Wood gives a warm feeling and works well with most food.
You can also use a piece of paper towel, a white napkin, or a paper bag as your backdrop. Paper products are cheap and easy to use but won’t work for all foods – especially the wet ones! However, the paper makes an excellent choice for dry food like baking ingredients or pretzels.
You can also use nature as your background. If you’re shooting outside, you can use leaves or grass to frame your shot or make it appear that the food is sitting on the ground.
Use a broader aperture to generate a shallower depth of field if your natural background is too distracting. Without becoming buried in the minutiae, viewers will acquire a sense of the location.
6. Do not use too much saturation
Food photography is perhaps the most challenging type of photography. It’s a complex process that requires understanding light, composition, and food styling. A great way to learn this type of photography is by studying the work of other photographers. There are many different styles and approaches to food photography, but they all share some common themes or characteristics.
Food photography is all about color. It is a difficult genre that requires a lot of patience and practice. Whether it’s a simple plate of pasta or a steak dinner with all the trimmings, people eat with their eyes first, and your photos need to entice them.
Depending on what you’re shooting, it can be easy to get carried away with the process and add too much saturation in post-production. When food images are over-saturated, they often look artificial and unappetizing.
If you’re editing food photos, there are a few rules to keep in mind to ensure that your images don’t look like something from a comic book cover.
Food will look more appetizing if photographed with a good depth of field. The depth of field is the area in focus in a photograph. If you focus on the front of the food, you can still get most of the image sharp with careful f-stop selection. A decent macro lens will also help with this (they are often good at maintaining a depth of field at higher f-stops).
The proper lighting is crucial for food photography. You want to shoot during the day when you have natural light to work with, but sometimes this isn’t possible, so plan and bring your lighting whenever necessary.
When it comes to post-processing, we suggest keeping things simple.
The best way to make your food look appetizing is to use color. But don’t go overboard. Saturation — the intensity of colors in an image — should be used sparingly and deliberately.
A saturated image has a lot of color to it. An image with a lot of colors will be more vibrant and jump out at the viewer. This makes it eye-catching but also can make it appear artificial.
Saturation is an adjustment that brightens or darkens the color of an image based on its original intensity. The more intense a color, the less saturation it receives.
For example, a red stop sign is quite saturated because it is a bold and vivid color. If you reduce saturation in Lightroom, the stop sign will become pinker and less bold.
Food photography is one area where you will want to watch your saturation levels. Increasing saturation can make food look fake and unnatural because food is already so colorful. It’s good to keep your food photos as natural-looking as possible.
If you consider how food looks naturally, it is often not intensely saturated. Most foods are naturally muted in the way they appear to the eye.
As a result, if your images are more saturated than the way food appears in nature, they will look unnatural and fake, detracting from your photography’s overall quality.
7. Add a story to the photo
Professional food photography is all about making a scene. It’s not just about placing the food in front of the camera and shooting it. But also, about the creative process that goes into the background, the props, and the styling.
A photo of food may be beautiful enough to stand on its own, but often you can add a story or depth to it by including more elements in the scene. For example, if you’re shooting a bowl of pasta, why not add some breadsticks to it? Or perhaps some flowers? It’s great if you can have a little fun when creating these shots; for instance, try taking photos of your food in unexpected places.
Food photography is a form of still life photography, usually emphasizing food or drink as the subject. A common way to present food photographs is to lay out the food on a dinner table in a restaurant. Other types of food photography include images of meals in restaurants, pictures of kitchen setups, and shots of ingredients being prepared.
When you think of photography, you don’t think of food. After all, why would anyone want to take pictures of the food they eat? Well, believe it or not, many photographers do just that. They take pictures for magazines, brochures, menus, and even websites.
If you’re looking to add a story or depth to the photo with food photography, it’s essential to have a few things in mind before taking any pictures. First of all, make sure your lighting is good and that your subject is in focus. You don’t want to waste time fixing an out-of-focus photo later on when you can quickly get great results right away by using some basic techniques.
Also, try not to use a flash when taking your food photos. A flash will make everything appear brighter than it is, which can cause problems later on when you’re editing the photos. Instead, use natural light as much as possible and only use the flash if you have to. Also, if possible, shoot outside during the day rather than inside. This is to get better results with the sun shining from above instead.
The best food photography is that which tells a story. This can be as simple as telling the story of the food, for example, how it’s prepared, or it can tell a story about the people who eat the food and how they enjoy it. Either way, good food photography makes you want to taste what you see in the picture.
Here are some tips on how to tell a story with your food photography:
Include people eating: Including people in your food photos does two things: It gives a sense of scale to the dish and shows the enjoyment of eating (or cooking).
Show the entire process: Showing the preparation process can be an effective way to give context to your photo. For example, if you’re photographing a salad with ingredients that need to be chopped. Show all of those ingredients being chopped. If you’re photographing a dish that includes several steps in its preparation, photograph each step along the way.
Use props: Props like knives and forks give context to your photo by showing how the food is eaten or prepared. For example, if you have an image of pasta and you include a fork in the picture, you’re telling viewers that this is something they should eat with a spoon.
8. Use negative space with food photography
When it comes to food photography, it’s easy to get carried away with the detail. However, in many cases, negative space can be used to your advantage. The best way to do this is by focusing on shapes. Negative space is a great way to help food photographers capture the essence of an ingredient or recipe.
By focusing on the negative space, you can create a simple image that is clean and memorable. The viewer’s eye will instantly find the focal point and remain there.
Negative space will change the composition of your images and make them more attractive. It’s a fundamental principle in photography. If you are new to photography, you should start using it. The negative space is a part of the image that surrounds the subject. This area can be left empty or filled with a single color (usually white or black).
Negative space around your subject makes it look more attractive, less distracting and improves the overall composition. Learning to use negative space correctly can help you create more robust, more compelling photos.
It can be used in all types of photography, but food photos are particularly suitable for this technique. Food photos are often not very visually appealing, and they can significantly benefit from negative space.
In food photography, you can use negative space to highlight your recipe or product by making it stand out from the background. You can also use negative space to emphasize the shape of your product. This is particularly useful when trying to capture the texture of a dish.
Using negative space in food photography will help you create a more stylized image that will attract attention and induce people to try your recipe or buy your products.
The white space in a photo can create a sense of tranquility, emptiness, and calmness. It can also remove distractions from the photograph and make it very simple.
In food photography, negative space is often used to add text to the photograph. But it can also be used with simple images of food.
When adding text over the top of a food photograph, you need to think about how that text will look when laid over the top of the image. The reader needs to remain legible and easy to read. It also needs to be relevant and not too detailed or distracting.
Similarly, if you are planning on having a lot of negative space in your photograph, you might want to think about whether it will add anything else or take away from the main subject.
Negative space is also a key element in minimalism – a style of photography characterized by clean, simple compositions with plenty of space.
Here are some tips on how to exploit negative space in your food photography:
1. Study your scene carefully and ask yourself where the “dead” spots are. These areas add nothing to your photo or even make it worse.
2. Make sure the background is not distracting. Avoid placing your subject against complex patterns or textures because they will compete for attention with the main subject and distract your viewer.
3. Avoid borders in horizontal compositions because they tend to cut through the frame, creating tension between the two sides of an image.
4. Be careful when using horizontal lines as these can be particularly distracting – they usually draw attention towards them, which means away from your subject!
9. Think Layers and Textures
Food photography is inherently complex, and it’s easy to get bogged down in the details. If you’re ready to take the next step, consider adopting a style that emphasizes texture. As with any professional style, you can embrace it gradually or jump right in — make sure you don’t go too far from your usual approach.
Food photography is so much more than a pretty picture. It’s about taking pictures that will inspire the viewer to want to eat the food in question.
There’s a reason why food photographers often have salt and pepper shakers, spices and condiments on hand, and food preparation tools like spatulas, cake pans, and spoons. These tools are called “layers,” and they’re used to create images that are appealing to the eye and mouth-watering. It’s not just a matter of using the right setting; it’s what you choose to use that matters.
The trend of food photography that’s taken hold in recent years is called “layering.” It’s also sometimes referred to as “texture,” which refers more to how the image appears than how it was created.
Layering means arranging food on top of each other, then shooting from all different angles and at different exposures. The result is an image with layers of light and dark that create a three-dimensional feel.
To capture this effect:
- Start by arranging food items on a plate or platter for one shot.
- Take a second shot from another angle with the same exposure and lighting conditions.
- Take the third exposure using completely different exposure settings and lighting conditions.
This final photo is what will add depth to your image — think of it as a black-and-white photo where each part of the original has been tinted differently.
The best food photography is layered, textured, and colorful. It’s not only visually stunning, but it’s also textural. This means that the food in the photo looks authentic and tastes great.
These are the essential elements for good photos:
Lighting. Lights are essential to creating the right mood, so avoid flat lighting that makes food look like a plastic toy. Instead, use as many variations of light as you can to create a sense of depth in your photos. The same goes for shadows — they should be dark enough to show texture but not so dark that they obscure or distract from the photo’s subject.
Texture. The texture is as much about how foods look as it is about how they taste — textural qualities such as seeds and grains make food more believable, making them more likely to satisfy hungry customers.
Color. Colors in food photos should be bright, vibrant, and beautiful — the closer you keep your palette to nature, the better. Use vivid colors that pop against dark backgrounds to ensure your images have an impact. Also, consider adding a pop of color with flowers or other garnishes to make sure everything looks perfect.
The time has come to accept that food photography is an art form and will continue to evolve with new techniques and trends. People are now going beyond the gimmicky, oversaturated images on Instagram and seeing a food photog’s work as one of skill and technique.
Photojournalism is also seeing massive improvement with social media; using Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter has made it easier for people to communicate their cooking techniques in a style that compliments them. These new masters of culinary arts will be able to show off their skills by sharing their portfolios on sites like Flickr and DeviantArt but will also be able to get work from more prominent publications such as Vogue and Esquire.
The importance of a beautiful photo cannot be understated when selling the product. It doesn’t matter how good the recipe sounds or how delicious the dish looks if the picture gives the impression that it is something else entirely. Aesthetically pleasing, high-quality photos sell food. Customers eat with their eyes! Food bloggers and home cooks alike need to up their photography game and consider adding food styling tutorials to their skillsets.
Food photography is a complex art to master, and in the process of trying, it can be tempting to compromise on high-quality ingredients or styling. However, everything matters in this craft. We believe that capturing food is all about telling a story, and if you’re not showing off the best of each ingredient, then it’s got nothing to disclose.
The best ones can maximize a photo’s chances of going viral by implementing aesthetically pleasing and well-planned physical shots. Some of these photographers are listed below, along with their areas of expertise.
While many food photographers choose to use natural light over artificial light, both have pros and cons. As you can see, this comparison is very subjective based on how you want your pictures to look. Some will do better with one or the other, but with practice and some outside help, you may figure out which method works best for you. The most important thing is to experiment and learn from each lighting technique. Now that you know the basics of artificial light and natural light food photography, it’s time to put it into practice.
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