15 Easy Tips to Master Food Photography

Written by Backdrop Express Photography Team on . Posted in Food & Product Photography

 pancakes on red backdrop

Have you ever taken a photo of a meal that looked absolutely delicious… only to find that it looks mushy and unappetizing on camera? Much more time and preparation is put into professional food photography than you’d think. Read these 15 tips to enhance your food photos and avoid this problem!

1. Keep the Background Simple

Make sure that your backdrop is simple. While white vinyl is a common choice for tabletop food photography, we’ve seen some awesome food photos utilizing a brightly colored backdrop. Try a red paper backdrop to see your photo really pop.

2. Adjust the White Balance

You need to make sure that the white is balanced based on what you are shooting. Always shoot meat with warm tones that have a blue fade to them so that they look bright.

3. Utilize Natural Soft Light

Natural light helps you, the photographer, to avoid shadows that can ruin an image. In addition, using a flash can cause distortion in an image, making the food look unnatural. If you can’t rely on the sun, consider the use of reflectors to bounce light from a piece of white cloth onto the food.

cinnamon apple cider on red backdropPhoto Credit: VadimDaniel via Flickr

4. Use a Tripod

Since most of the shoots you are going to do are going to be indoors, use a tripod so that you can keep the shot as still as possible. This will help you set the food up and get the photo backdrop positioned how you’d like.

5. Small Details Make a Big Difference

Make sure that you aren’t disregarding the small stuff. Every tiny detail will be seen. Use nice, clean cutlery and a simply decorated white plate.

donut on white backdrop

6. Get Up Close

Fill up the plate full with your food. Focus on macro shots. If you get close to your subject you will see that the textures are going to really show through and will make the product far more interesting.

7. Cut It, Slice It and Dice It

Chances are, a sushi roll or Ceasar salad has already been shot by other photographers before. What are you going to bring to the table that’s new? Be creative in your angles and movement.

8. Take Photos from Different Angles

Don’t just take a photo from the top, try different options. Move the food around to find different shots that are going to stand out.

9. Use Props

Take photos with props and jazz up the area where you are shooting. Simple props can be cutlery, glassware and napkins, to more lavish props like big platters or baskets.

piece of chocolate with fork on white backdropPhoto Credit: VadimDaniel via Flickr

10. Cheat If You Have To

Since most people aren’t planning on eating the food after they shoot it, you can enhance it with some tricks. Make food glisten with vegetable oil. Create steam by placing cotton balls that have been soaked in water behind the food.

11. Eliminate Distractions

Any images for food photography should, understandably, emphasize food. Anything other than food can serve as a distraction and can diminish the impact of the image. In some cases, cropping out distractions can recenter the emphasis and the eye on the food in an image. If you choose to use props in an image, be sure they enhance, not distract.

pomegranatePhoto Credit: TheVoyageOfTheScarletQueen via Flickr

12. Change the Angle of the Shot

Using a lower angle when taking a picture of food can make a world of difference from taking the shot at a high angle. Lower yourself and your camera down to the level of the food to make the image you produce more interesting and more detailed. The only exception to taking a lower angle shot is when you are photographing something like soup. Too low of an angle will cause the soup to disappear from view.

13. Choose a Lens Carefully

A good lens can make or break a shot. One of the primary lenses used to get great images of food is the macro. If you don’t have a macro lens, do consider investing.

14. Emphasize Details

A great image of food should make the person looking at the image want to sit down and eat. Emphasize textures and colors and be sure to get a range of them in every shot. You can also emphasize the beauty of food by taking a close-up shot or using a shallow depth of field. Blurring the photo background intentionally can emphasize the food in the foreground.

desert platterPhoto Credit: VadimDaniel via Flickr

15. Use Oil

An old trick used by photographers is lightly brushing your food with vegetable oil. This action makes food more appealing by creating the illusion of heat or moisture. Too much oil, however, can make food look too greasy and unappealing.

Have you ever shot food for a restaurant before?

-Backdrop Express Photography Team

Interested in learning more about food photography? Check out Food and Drink Photography Tricks!

Trackback from your site.

Leave a comment

Prove you are human to submit your comment! * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.