If you’re a restaurant owner, foodie blogger, or just posting pictures of your midweek dinner, an ugly photo can make any delicious meal look like a hot mess.
Then again, if you’re taking beautiful photos of ugly food then that’s an entirely different story. More power to you.
There are a lot of tricks behind taking gorgeous pictures and a lot of small details you need to pay attention to.
If you’ve been looking for the best food photography tips to boost your foodie picture game, then look no further.
Food Photography Tips For Deliciousness
Before you can really dive into our tips for food photography you need to understand what makes a good photo a good photo in the first place.
Good photos are about more than just picking up your iPhone, opening the camera app, pointing, and shooting.
Good photos tell a story or convey a feeling or idea. Look up any famous photographs and you’ll see there’s a lot of subtle details hidden in the corners.
Whether it’s the way a person is slowly reaching out to a loved one, or the distinct presence of someone in the background, great photography shows a bigger picture than what’s right in front of you.
Through photographing food, you want to convey the deliciousness of that food.
Blurry snapshots and bad angles just aren’t going to cut it here. So, let’s take a look at some specific tips for food photography now.
#1. Use Your Best Stuff
This one seems a little bit obvious, but you want to use the best ingredients with the best meals.
In this case, the food is your subject and you want a good subject to work with.
Unless you’re making art out of something gross or ugly, you want to use beautiful meals and fresh ingredients.
The fresher and better the ingredients are, the more the colors of those ingredients will pop in the photo.
#2. Lights, Cameras, Angles!
This is something that’s important to any type of photography.
It’s all about the lighting and angles. Lighting is, in fact, very important, but you don’t necessarily need to buy hundreds of dollars worth of lighting equipment.
Some people can get away with beautiful photography even with just a $20 lamp!
Since most average people don’t have lighting stands, modifiers, lamps, and everything laying around, keep in mind that natural light is your best friend.
Simply catching that morning sun on your plate of Greek avocado toast will make a world of difference. Most indoor lighting is not bright enough and will only make your pictures look fuzzy and unappealing.
Using backlighting is a great tip as well. Backlighting will make your pictures look crisp and colorful and filled with contrast rather than too washed out and bright.
If you’re going to use direct sunlight, consider using a diffuser.
Something like a white bedsheet or a large piece of white paper can make a world of difference.
You can also use tools like foam boards to direct the sunrays. Maybe there’s a particular spot on the photo that you need to highlight. Use foam boards to bounce and direct the sunlight on what you want it to shine.
This will keep the image from being busy and distracting to the viewer.
Angles also make a world of difference.
Food photography usually has pretty steep side angle shots or top-down views of the food.
You need to really consider what the food is–it’s size, shape, etc.–to really determine what angle you should be using.
Do you want to accentuate the food’s height? Do you want to draw attention to the detail on top of it? Use angles to your advantage and vary them up as you go.
#3. Use Props
If you’re looking for good food photography ideas, simply consider adding something else into the mix.
Are you photographing some sweet potato pie? Use some pine cones, autumn leaves, or a cup of coffee as well. After all, it is a very fall-based dessert.
Make good use of the foreground and background to add details to surround the main subject of your photos.
Now, you don’t want to make it too busy. Keep it simple, and certainly don’t focus on the prop, but it’s best to give your food a few friends in the picture.
#4. Give it Some Action
Add a human element to your food photography tricks by including your hand or that of a friend. If you’re making a stew have your hand stirring it or maybe it’s in a bowl and ready to eat as you hold the spoon and are about to dig in.
This gives a little bit of action to the images and lets people know that the food is being enjoyed like it should.
#5. Make Sure the Plate’s Clean
This is about more than just the plate actually.
You certainly want to make sure that any plate or bowl carrying your food is clean.
You also want to pay attention to the counter, table, or whatever else is surrounding the subject of the photo. A mess from your cooking is going to distract the deliciousness of the food.
Then again, maybe you’re trying to create a story by showing the mess and aftermath and struggle that went into cooking that meal. It’s not a bad idea to give your photo some action in that way, but it’s a conscious decision you need to make. Otherwise, make sure your dishes are sparkling.
#6. Play with Color
Color (or the lack thereof) is very important to any kind of photography.
Color is simply significant in general, even to businesses!
In photographing food, you now have a great chance to play around with them.
If you want your viewers to feel warm, cozy, and at home, use warm colors and earthy tones. It will put people at ease.
Maybe your food is exciting, though. You can use bright and contrasting colors to convey a sense of joy and intensity.
You can use contrasting colors in the food itself, between the food and its dish (plate, bowl, cup, mug, etc.) or between the subject (food) and the background.
Have fun with this one. There’s not always a right or wrong here.
Continuing Your Food Photography Journey
Photographing food is a lot of fun.
Whether you’re doing it for your own benefit, to share with friends, or to share with strangers on the Internet, good food photography tips can tell a great story through meals!
It’s about more than just pointing and shooting, though. Taking the picture is only part of the battle. Fine tuning the picture is a skill all in and of itself, so if you’d like to learn about photo editing tricks to take you from amateur to professional, check it out here!