Some items like a burger will look best when shot at eye level
Make use of white cutlery which enables the food colors to stand out
Photo Credit: IStock Do you wonder how some people always manage to ace their food pictures and the ones you click, in contrast, look all dull and boring? Social media platforms are now overloaded with pictures of food that are beautiful, tasteful, enticing and sometime just plain gorgeous. Food photography is a skill that can be developed over a course time with the right knowledge and know-how. Because, if you are not tempted while looking at your own food pictures, then something must be wrong, right?
It is essential to note that some of the most appetizing photographs of food across social media haven't been captured using a high-tech, expensive camera equipment. Thus, while DSLR cameras may give you a slight edge over others, getting an aesthetic food photograph needs more than just hi-end gadgetry. You humble smartphone can deliver good pictures too if you follow a few important points. To begin with, a well-captured food photograph possesses the capability to reflect the inherent taste of the food item that is clicked. That is how powerful the photograph must be.
6 simple, and important, things to keep in mind to get the best food photographs.
1. Light will guide you: For any photograph, whether it's a portrait of a person, a landscape view or a food picture, adequate light is the most important aspect that must be taken into consideration. Natural light beats any other source of artificial lighting. It helps capture the nitty-gritties of the dish thus making it more appealing. Light must always come from the front or the side and make sure never to shoot in excess light as it defeats the purpose of the photograph. Avoid using the flash mode while clicking pictures of food, as the flash tends to create reflections giving the food a different orientation.
2. Angle: Depending on the food item, the most suitable angle helps enhance the photograph. While certain items will look best when shot directly from top, others will stand out when shot from the side, for instance, a multi-layered cake. Some items like a burger will look best when shot at eye level. The angle is a subjective yet an essential characteristic in food photography. Try framing the shot using a few different angles before you zero-in on your preferred choice.
3. Pick a point of focus: Here, we mean the 'hero' of the shot and the part you want people to pay attention to most.This is especially helpful when shooting in crowded or cluttered spaces. You should be able to pick the dish/platter and make that the hero of your photo. If one is shooting on a dining table, for example, make sure you include only the essential items on the table in the photograph. Otherwise, the attention is diverted away from the dish. Decide what is significant for the composition of the picture and what is not. Focus on what will make the photo look complete and avoid over crowding the shot.
4. Close up or not? How 'close' do you want to see the food in your picture? A lot of people like taking only close-up shots of food and ingredients, and in most cases this works. Plated dishes, with a play of colours could look good in a wider view too. Try a few and see what does justice to the dish you are taking pictures of.
5. Interaction is the key: Food photographs look a hundred times more appealing by adding a human element. It increases the level of engagement for the viewer, making it appear more real. Thus, while shooting, make it a point to hold the item in your hand, for instance. Compose the picture in a manner that incorporates some human element.
6. Props make all the difference: Even the most palatable dish can look unappealing if not presented well. Thus, props make all the difference. It is of paramount importance that the correct cutlery, utensils, mats etc be used in food photography. Use clean plates and try and make use of white cutlery, which enables the food colors to stand out.
Ansel Adams once said, "You don't take a photograph, you make it.", and with the essential steps mentioned above, you are sure to make the best photograph possible. Happy clicking!
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