Food Photography Part II – Tips to Begin With

Hoping to have given you some tips in Part I, I’m making my next attempt through Food Photography Part II of explaining some more tips for you to become even better at this trade of food photography.

There is definitely a lot more than what I can list in the blog below, but the list is going to cover some more of the most important factors. I’ll try to explain in the best possible way. Make sure that you pay attention to these things in your next Food Photography endeavor and I assure that you would witness huge improvement in your food photographs.

Color of Food

We all know how important colors are when it comes to food. Colors are directly related to the flavor of the food.  A little change in color can mean change in flavor visually. Food Photography is completely visual depiction of food, what you show is what others perceive. Make sure that the colors in your photos are accurate and do not deviate from the original. There are some techniques to make sure that the colors remain true. Like discussed in PART I, use natural light to avoid any unwanted color casts. I’ll not go in details on this here.

Secondly, use White Balance, a setting in your camera. This setting can get you accurate color tones, just make sure that you learn its usage properly. The best way is to use Kelvin Scale to get accurate White Balance. But not all camera models support this setting.

Third, post processing. If you are shooting in RAW then editing / color correcting becomes very easy with software like Photoshop / Lightroom. The biggest mistake that I observe happening among professionals is that they rely on post processing too much, especially when it comes to colors. One thing to understand is you can get to real colors in processing but not every time. Thus, making the effort of shooting correct is the best possible way.

Multiple Shots

Each time you setup a table for your next food shot, it is ideal not to stop at just one best angle. Having an elaborate setup along with good lighting and then clicking only one photo that you pre-identified is not good enough. When it comes to creative photography, the best practice is to give yourself a lot of options to choose from.

These options can be in form of different lighting arrangements, changing the crockery, camera angles, zoomed in or wide shots, with or without cutlery and so on. Make sure, that you do not stick to one single place while clicking, move around the food plate or the entire setup to find out the interesting angle. Having clicked multiple photos, you now can choose the best suitable. My personal experience tells me that these experiments lead to something unique that we fail to imagine at the beginning.

Decorate the Frame

Now, isn’t that dirty to have lot of ingredients scattered around the frame? No, there is huge difference in messy and dirty photographs. If you maintain cleanliness, but only mess the arrangements of the elements in the background and blur them, it is going to add to the texture of the overall look and feel of your image. Clean plates will stand out even more against such backgrounds. Giving a heroic presence to your food item. Ingredients is one approach to decorate the platter. Using the right kind of crockery, utensils, table cloths, napkins, cutlery also adds to the mood and feel of the food. Choosing the right kind of background and base is extremely crucial, it also adds to the look and feel.

At the same time, over decorating the frame is not a good idea. Strike the perfect balance.

Pop the Subject Out

While photographing food items, one must not only consider the things to include in frame (composition) but also which subjects should be focused and which ones to be blurred.

A fast lens (a lens that allows wider aperture openings) adds to the photographers flexibility of having shallow or deep depth of field (DoF). Bigger aperture values result in deep DoF & smaller aperture values result in shallow DoF.

DoF plays very important part in food photography. Photographer can take away importance from the supporting items by keeping them blurred and at the same time retain focus on main subject making it stand out like a hero.

Do make a point of always maintaining your cameras focus points on your main subject, irrespective of shallow or deep DoF. This will ensue consistent focus on your subject & it will pop out in the frame even if there is background clutter.

Do not forget to hop onto the previous part of this blog – Part I where I have shared more tips for beginner food photographers.

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Angad Joshi

Angad Joshi

Angad Joshi is a freelance professional photographer. He runs photography studios by the brand name TimeFrame Studios in Pune and Dombivli. He indulges in Food, Fashion, Product and Wedding Photography and has a team of his own. He loves conducting indoor and outdoor photography training programs and photography tours of various genres across India.

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