When it comes to photographing food there is soooooo much to be said. Everything from lighting and shutter speed to staging and composition. Some photographers devote their entire work to food, like Michael Ray or Lou Manna. (*beware…you WILL be hungry by the time you finish looking at their photos!)
But I like to take an easy, natural approach to food. If there is one thing you need to know about me it’s that I like to keep things simple. If something takes too much time, set up or clean-up, I tend to stay away. Could this be a form of laziness? Perhaps…but because I’m not a fan of elaborate set-up I’ve found quick, easy and stunning ways to do things.
So let’s start.
Food Photography Tip #1 The way to get natural looking pictures is to only use natural light. So turn off all of your overhead lights and only use what is coming in from the windows.
With that said let me show you my set-up for most of my pictures in this post:
I was taking pictures around 8:30 in the morning when the sun shines right smack dab on the table at this time of day. I didn’t want to completely shut the blinds because I needed the light but I also didn’t want to see the sun rays in my pictures. So to remedy the situation I put up sheets of tissue paper to still allow the sun to shine through but to soften the direct rays.
Here’s a shot from this set-up:
Food Photography Tip #2: Take care to notice the details.
I don’t know about you but I’m someone who notices when there is something a little off in a picture. For example, an article accidentally left in a picture, a smudge on a plate, or in this case a wrinkly tablecloth. After my first few shots I noticed this:
…a very wrinkled tablecloth.
So then I had to do this:
Food Photography Tip #3:
If you are having a hard time getting enough light from your windows OR if you find that the background looks too cluttered and distracting, try using a large piece of white foam board.
Take this shot, for example:
I used the foam board for the background as shown below because I didn’t want to distract from the subject.
Food Photography Tip #4:
Capture your subject from many different angles.
Don’t just get a head on shot and call it good. Take pictures from above, the side, up close, far away, and even from behind. Also try many different styles of groupings and ways to display your subject. That way when you are editing and looking for the best picture to portray that certain something you will have lots of options to choose from. Often times I end up choosing the very last shot of a sequence of 40 frames because it turned out to be my favorite ones which makes me glad I didn’t stop at #10 and call it good.
Here are some examples of taking pictures from many angles and groupings:
And there you have it! Easy peasy food photography. If there is anything I can do to support you, please let me know. Keep capturing your memories!