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3 Food Photography Hacks

By Michelle Ecker on May 01, 2018

3 Food Photography Hacks

Many photographers roll their eyes at the food photography trend but in truth, quality plating and meal presentation is an art form for many chefs, and it can be fun to nicely document their work with great images.

Not only that, countless photography hobbyists simply enjoy the art of documentation- taking pictures of where they’ve traveled, things they did and interesting sights along the way. Food can be a big part of that journey. Say you’re traveling abroad to a country you’ve never visited before. In photo documenting your adventures, including some food shots is a great way to capture a fuller picture of the culture you experienced.

To help you get started with quality cuisine pictures, here are some tricks to keep in mind:

Lighting Is Key

Perfect lighting is probably one of the trickiest things to master when it comes to food photography. Restaurant interiors can be super-dark, candlelit, bright, or maybe even outdoor depending on where you dine. Unlike other genres of photography, it’s hard to know what to expect when it comes to available light for food photography. Your best bet here is to plan ahead with supplementary lighting- pack a speedlight just in case.

Maintain Focus

Remember that food photography is almost like a product shot for an ad- the dish is really the main focus. While some background or foreground elements can be interesting, don’t let your shot get cluttered with dishware, napkins, glassware- anything that doesn’t add visual interest or relevance to the dish.

3 Food Photography Hacks

That being said, it can be fun to play with your backdrop just a bit as a way to capture the ambiance of where you’re dining. Are you photographing a burger you grabbed in an all American diner somewhere in the Midwest? Including those characteristic retro countertops in a bit of your background adds some perspective. Just remember to be minimalistic- the burger is the subject, and you don’t want other elements to distract.

3 Food Photography Hacks Angles Are Everything

The dish you’re photographing really dictates your decision making when it comes to smart angles. For example, are you taking a picture of a perfectly topped pizza pie? Overhead is probably best here. But if you’re snapping some shots of a slice of three-layer strawberry shortcake, a lower angle from the side will capture those pretty layers, which is really the visually compelling aspect of that particular dish. Before you pick an angle, think about what makes the food nice to look at, then go with your gut.