In fancy restaurants, or in the comfort of your own kitchen, food photography is always a mouth-watering visionary treat. Follow these tips and discover what accessories, camera settings and angles are sure to capture the essence of all your recipes.
What do you need?
- A camera: to take gorgeous shots of food, you’ll need a camera that allows you to manually adjust white balance, aperture and speed.
- A tripod: to give your photos that professional feel, you should invest in a tripod. A tripod will allow you to play around with exposure times and zoom in without causing your photos to blur.
- Accessories: colourful tablecloths and plates will allow you to play up contrasts between food and accessories. For example, a yellow tablecloth will make green veggies really stand out. And don’t forget the utensils (forks, spoons, etc.) when setting up your shot—you could wrap a copious amount of prosciutto around a fork, for example, and casually place it on a plate filled with melon.
Three key ingredients
- Light: always opt for natural lighting. A camera’s flash can alter the appearance of food. If you need to use light in your shot, try using indirect light or a reflector.
- Backdrop: keep your décor simple and uncluttered, that way your audience’s eyes won’t wander, but rather zoom in on your subject.
- Balance: kitchens are filled with white—white plates, white place mats, white meringues. It is essential that you find the perfect white balance in order to avoid ending up with tarnished looking photos.
The rules of photography apply even in the kitchen!
- Make sure you apply the rule of thirds when positioning your subject.
- Don’t stand too close to your subject or you might end up squeezing too much into one frame. For professional-looking photos, step back and use your zoom to get close to your subject.
- To throw the background out of focus, choose a wide aperture and fast shutter speed, and zoom in on your subject.
- Test out different angles—try shooting from above your subject, horizontally or even at a 45° angle.
Tips from the pros!
There are many secrets to taking good culinary photos: ice cream can be replaced by mashed potatoes, most of the time meat is varnished . . . pretty much anything goes when it comes to beautifying your photos! No need to turn your food into inedible subjects though, simply follow these tips and learn how to make them look as good as they taste:
- Make your vegetables shine by spraying a bit of vegetable oil on them.
- Give poultry and piecrusts a nice golden colour by brushing them with lightly whisked egg yolks.
- A splash of cold water will revive salads and fresh herbs.
- Add a handful of fresh herbs (like rosemary and cilantro) to those monochromatic stews.