How to Take Photos of Food
Everyone wants to take food photos nowadays. Food can tell a story, like what time of day it is, where you are or who you are with. Food can also portray a general mood or experience. It seems we all want to use photos of food to remember our experiences at home and while traveling!
1. Use natural light and natural light only
You might have noticed that people tend to look best in natural light, and in the same way, food looks its best when the light comes from the sky or is muted by a window. It’s helpful to keep in mind that a regular camera flash will give food lots of unnatural shadows and won’t make it so appealing. For this reason, we always look for a table near a window, if we are inside, or usable outdoor light. By ‘usable,’ we mean that bright sunlight on a picnic table without any shade is not always the best. It is often helpful to use half shadows (called penumbra), which will avoid the food being too bright.
2. Include a human element
While food on its own can be beautiful, a photo of food can be made complete by adding a human element. To the viewer, and also for you, when you look at your photos in years to come, this will give the photo some context. Some favorite examples of ours are holding our coffees with our hands, reaching for a dish in the middle of a table or placing a hand on the side of a plate. You’ll see that you’re giving much more personality to the photo.
3. Angles are everything
Nowadays, the ‘flat lay’ photo style is trending for everything from accessories to food to books. Flat lay photos mean that the camera is placed directly over a flat surface to give all objects involved an equal perspective. In all honesty, sometimes we have to do this a few times to get it right. If your camera is tilted even the smallest bit, you’ll first notice it in teacups and glasses with liquid. Flat lay photos also help with giving more context to a photo, such as the tablecloth, your shoes, if they are included below the surface, or the place settings.
4. Take photos of food while plates are full
While this sometimes means waiting for other plates on the table to arrive or holding off digging into your meal for a minute, it’s worth it to take photos of food before altering how it’s plated or before you get a lipstick stain on a cup.