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Foodie Photography Tips

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

I decided to go to a food photography meetup workshop at 7 pm, mostly for photography inspiration that I can use for my blogs. Photographer Steve Anderson provided some artistic tips as well as some do-it-yourself tools. When photographing food as your main models, you need to focus on the details as well as relationship. Notice colors, texture, shape, and shine, and which is best for a particular food, situation, or concept. It is all about storytelling while creating art.

  • Consider the background. Like any photograph, there is some kind of background scene to help tell a story about the model. Consider an infinite background that goes on forever, displaying an above and beyond horizon. This could be the background scene of the ocean and the sky coming together in an endless blue background or a road that becomes narrower as it moves farther away and disappears into the sky and horizon.

  • White on white might include a white plate on a white table and a white screen in the background. Colorful food with bold colors as well as interesting textures and shapes will stand out against the white background.

  • Use the biggest light to expose the subject, maybe to bring out highlights.
  • Like people, each food has personality, whether sweet, savory, salty, bitter, tangy, juicy, soft, rock hard, creamy, mushy, spiky, rough, porous, smooth, and the list is endless. Focus on the ingredients in the dish. What stands out the most? Bring out the food’s positive and alluring features, while camouflaging its negative features. Make it look tasty to the eye by bringing out the texture and color.
  • Tell a story about the dish. If your food dish could talk, what would it say? Eat Me!
  • Let inspiration guide you by browsing through magazines, watching videos, or browsing inside an art gallery.

  • Use natural lighting.
  • Use different lens for different effects. A 50 macro lens is good for getting close-ups on small items. Anderson prefers using 24-105 lenses.

  • A food photo shoot should include a portrait of someone, food dish, background location and story in an editorial fashion. Rearrange items to make everything work together coherently.
  • Bring out certain details, such as bubbles, crema, foam, steam and rich color, to make the food dish look appetizing.

  • Shoot a food dish in many ways, such as shooting straight down on the food dish, taking angle shots, cropping a dish and getting a part of something else nearby. Just make sure that everything in the scene works well together, whether complementing each other, telling a story, and/or enhancing the subject. Everything in the picture should provide a bigger picture.

  • Use forceps to handle individual food items.
  • Use eyedropper to add or take out liquids. It is much neater than pouring liquids into bowl or cup.
  • Some useful photographer’s tools include wall poster putty, brick covered with black tape, wooden skewer, heat gun, fake ice cups, and straws, which are used for adjusting props and subjects in order to help you create art, illusions, and appetizing food dishes.

  • Pay attention to size and proportions in order to make sure that everything fits right together.
  • Use cards in different color for reflectors.
  • Black aluminum foil and old wire hanger can be used to create shadows and shade.
  • A misting bottle to spray water on food items helps create effects.
  • Like in any photo shoot job, it is important to prepare needed items beforehand. Alcohol can be used to clean plates and items. Oil can be used to add glisten and shine.

  • Use different placemat to bring out certain food dishes. Some might have pretty colors and design, while others might have an interesting texture to bring out a particular theme or create a mood.

  • Use a slate or tile piece as a placemat for your food subject. Just make sure it doesn’t look like you are shooting the food on the floor. Create an abstract foundation with color and/or texture. Add certain props that brings out the subject more.

  • Work fast with salad because it can go flat fast. Use saran underneath the salad to keep the salad fluffy for a longer period of time.

I added some snapshots of my food from the past. I made most of these food dishes myself, but some of these pictures were taken at a public place.

What do you think?

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Written by Fifi Leigh

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