October 15, 2018
The Photographer Interviews – Sean Chee
Food is an intimate part of everyone's daily life. Food photography seeks to capture the details of such an integral component to survival and discover beauty, inspiration, and the satisfaction of a delicious meal. Which certainly isn’t easy.
Whether you’re a professional photographer or an aspiring one, remembering the following tips will help your photos stand out so you become the ultimate food photographer.
There are only so many angles to choose from when photographing your dish. Think about the shape, the height, and the primary allure of your dish when selecting the right angle.
Overhead shots are a popular standard, for good reason. An overhead angle is a great way to showcase the entirety of the food you are photographing while suggesting the point of view of someone about to dig in. If your food has some height, however, an overhead angle will make it fall flat. Instead, you can shoot from the side and maintain the dimension of your subject.
Also, consider what is the most tantalizing element of your food and ensure that your photos highlight it.
Although it may go unnoticed, the backgrounds and props in food photography are important elements to curate. The setting, utensils, or ingredients surrounding the food all add to the aura of the photograph. It’s imperative to create a cohesive look.
Think about what style of photography you are going for when styling your food. Minimal and high-end? Rustic and cozy? Also, consider the feeling behind the food you are taking photos of. Filet mignon has a much different association than a hearty stew.
Understanding these subconscious assumptions about your food subject and the style you want to capture will dictate all choices surrounding the styling. Down to the last serving bowl.
Adequate lighting is crucial for all types of photography. You must find the perfect amount of light that allows for clarity and depth in your photos. Otherwise, your photographs will turn out overexposed, flat, washed out, or too dark to see anything at all.
A shaded area on a sunny day is ideal but a thin white sheet placed over direct sunlight is a helpful tool in softening those shadows and diffusing direct sunlight in a pinch. Black cards can also be used to block light from your props and create darker-styled images. After, if you realize you didn’t catch the perfect lighting while taking your photos you can always modify the lighting during the editing process.
With the food being styled, lighting ready, and your angle selected, another essential factor is the composition of your photograph. Effective composition will ensure that the attention is drawn to the dish you are photographing and not getting lost elsewhere.
Once you have set up everything, take a moment to check the composition. Are your props overpowering the dish? Is your frame too cluttered or empty? Is your angle highlighting the food correctly? Reviewing and adjusting the composition is important so that all of the elements in your photo feel balanced and aesthetically pleasing.
Not everyone has an expensive camera with which they can take photographs but, you can still capture great food photography shots with your iPhone. If you are using your phone, here are some targeted tips to capture a great photo of your dish:
Keep all of these tips in mind and capture the beauty of food within your photographs.