Wednesday, February 4, 2015

5 Tips for Great Food Photography

Taking pictures of food can be a great exercise for any photographer. The subjects are still, you shoot in a controlled environment, and you usually have all the time in the world to take the shots. You can experiment with many types of food, backgrounds and focus points. In this post today, I want to go over a couple of tips for shooting food, and give you some examples from my own catalog of food photography.



click on the images for a bigger view


1. Use a Natural Light Source


This is the most common tip you will come across when someone talks about taking images of food. But it's crucial, so I will have to repeat it again here. Using a strong light source (like a window) from one side of the subject is only the first step. I actually like to bounce off that light to the other side where the light is not coming from. You don't need any special equipment for that. Use a big sheet of white paper and bounce the light that comes from the windows and reflect it on the opposite side of the food. For example: in this shot above the natural light source comes from the left side, the white paper is on the right side of the frame, bouncing the light back to the tomatoes on the right side.


2. Try Shooting From Above


Mostly you will shoot the food straight ahead. One other option I like to use is shooting form above. For round objects (like pans or plates) I usually have them on one side of the shot, and let the round shape come in from one side and curve out on another one, like in the shot above. You can also arrange different foods and shoot from up above, play with table clothes, cutlery, candles and other objects that you find on the table.


3. Shoot the Progress

Taking a shot of the finished product is great, but having some in-betweens can also be exciting. I love shooting the process of making the food, and you can arrange it into a collage, or simply, take some shots of dough being kneaded, creams being stirred or liquids being poured. It creates some dynamic in an otherwise still world of food photography.


4. Watch your Backgrounds


So this is really important. You usually shoot at a low f-stop number on your camera like 1.8 (Tipp: The inexpensive Canon 50mm 1.8 lens is great for food photography). This creates a nice blurred background. But the blurry background has to be in tone with the part that is in focus. Try to match the tones of the background with the colors in the foreground. For example: In the shot above I used brown glass vases to echo the beige colors of the chocolate cheesecake. Don't shoot busy or crowded backgrounds, since that will distract from the food.


5. Try Shooting Wide


When shooting food you will usually go for a close-up. That is all good and the way it has to be usually. But mixing it up can be interesting as well. Showing the food from a wider angle shows the world in which the food sits in. Of course the food still has to be in focus of the shot and the main player.



If you have any further questions, let me know in the comments below.



You can also find the recipes from the images under these links:
Creamy Pasta with Homemade Marinara Sauce
The Sunny Morning Cocktail
Three Layer Chocolate Cheesecake
Chocolate Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting
or click here to view all Recipe posts.



36 comments:

  1. It is amazing how many ways there are to shoot food! I always find it interesting to see other photographers taking on this subject. I find there are often different and ever changing trends in food photography, depending from which continent the magazines, books or blogs originate.
    Thank you for sharing and all the best,
    Merisi

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    1. I forgot that I was logged in at my "blogroll site" - sorry!

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    2. Thanks Merisi. Yes, there are a lot of different ways of approaching food photography. Some really great styles and so on. I love watching food images and getting inspired.

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  2. Thanks for the tips;some I knew intuitively, but I you helped me with others that had not occurred to me before.

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  3. I agree with almost all you have said but a multiple strobe set up gives more control. Nothing wrong with using natural light but I prefer strobes and soft boxes. The mini ones are fine. I don't shoot food often but do shoot lots of macro. The principle is much the same. A printed background can help.

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    1. Yes one can use strobes and flash with a soft box. I personally don't like that look so much. But of course when there is no white light available that you have to use some kind of side light/flash.

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  4. Thanks, these are all great tips and your food photos are always perfect.. I love those glass bottles with the full view of the cake and that photo also.

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  5. now you've made me hungry.

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  6. Ich habe es gelesen, da es mich sehr interessiert, habe den größten Teil auch verstehen. :-)
    Gut, daß du solche Beschreibungen auch machst.
    LG

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  7. I think I have to try shooting wide....never did it, don´t know why. Good, that you remind me to do ;-)!

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  8. Ah, I'm definitely ready for my breakfast now!! Delicious looking captures!! Thanks, as always, Mersad, for sharing the great tips!! Hope your week is going well!!

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  9. Thanks a lot for sharing such useful tips. I think at some point all of us want to click our food and it never ever turns out looking as delicious as it actually is. There's a lot to food photography that we don't know. Your tips are valuable.

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    1. It's an art form in itself. I hope these tips will be of use to you.

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  10. Your food shots could easily be in a high end magazine as they are gorgeous. Your photography tips are always helpful and I so appreciate that you are willing to share your vast knowledge with us...

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    1. Thanks so much Nancy for your lovely comment. I'm happy to share what I know.

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  11. Good tips. I do some food shots for my blog. - Margy

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  12. Bas su mi trebali ovi savjeti - hvala!

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  13. Hello Mersad, great tips and delicious looking food! Thanks for sharing, enjoy the rest of your week!

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  14. Great shots, and wonderful advice. Food photography can be quite challenging for me, so I appreciate the tutorial.
    Thanks for sharing at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2015/02/signs-and-signposts.html

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  15. I enjoy reading your tutorials. Food is not something that I often photograph, but when I do, the idea of using natural light bounced off a white sheet is an excellent one, and it makes good sense to pay attention to the background. Well done.

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  16. Thanks for the tips, my food shots usually look awful.

    Diana

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  17. Never really shot food before although with your great tips I may now try. Many thanks

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  18. Excellent food shots and thanks for the useful information,
    Judging by the comments,
    I see it was well received by many keen photographers.
    I sometime post pictures of food that I've prepared,
    so I shall have another read through of your helpful tips.
    Thank you for sharing,
    Best wishes,
    Di,
    ABCW team,

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  19. So that's why my foodie pictures taken in restaurants don't look as good as the real thing. Thank you for all the tips. I promise to try them out.

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  20. Informative post and great shots! thanks ^_^

    Happy Weekend to you,
    artmusedog and carol

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  21. Great tips! I love #3 and the idea of a collage.

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  22. I love the image of the tomatoes. I struggle with food photos - getting the depth of field I want - enough but not too much.

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  23. Fine filming food suggestions. THANKS!

    ROG, ABCW

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  24. Great tips! Birds-eye is my favorite way to shoot food.

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  25. *chuckles* about Kim's comment. ;)

    Good ideas, Mersad, I just have to shoot pictures of food quickly before someone reaches for it - including me!

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  26. Send me a piece of that chocolate cake :) Nice photos and tutorial, Mersad!!

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  27. Great tips, thanks for sharing your knowledge, and your accompanying photos compliment your advice perfectly!

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  28. I really liked this part of the article, with a nice and interesting topics have helped a lot of people who do not challenge things people should know. you need more publicize this so many people who know about it are rare for people to know this.success for you !!!

    ReplyDelete

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