I love to take food photos! It’s my personal way to combine two things I love: Food and art. However I’m really not an expert and never really “learned” how to take good food photos- I’m just self- taught. Anyway, I learned a lot about it during the last two years. In this blogpost I wrote down the (in my opinion) most important rules for good food pictures:
1. Preparation: The process of a good food photo starts earlier than you might guess! Think about the picture you want to take – How is it constructed? Could you, for example, keep some ingredients to take as decoration later? (like berries, nuts, seeds, …) If you’re a food blogger it’s also a good idea to take a pictures of all the ingredients you’re using and the process while preparing your food.
2. The cooking: Watch out that you don’t boil- over your food! The Spaghetti will look much better if they’re not all sticking together as a big yellow mass! 😉 The same applies for other dishes such as soups or stir- fried vegetables.
3. Backgrounds: As soon as you want to start taking a picture of your dish the question rises on which background you want to take it. There are SO many different possibilities and it completely depends on your personal taste! Ask yourself what you want to express with your photo. Should it look friendly? – You could use a light, for example white background. You want it to be a bit more mystical? – A dark background such as an old wooden board could be the right idea. Just look around in your home, often you will find many amazing backgrounds where you didn’t even expected them to be! 😉 (windowsills, floors, tables, …) You could also be creative on your own and paint a piece of cardboard or wood.
4. Props: Where would food bloggers be without all their beautiful props…The most important thing is the tableware. Think of which suits your dish most!- A wide range of different cups, plates, glasses and cutlery is never a bad idea! 😉 Here again you have to find your personal style. Plain tablewares are much more calm than patterned, it can easily distracts the viewer from the food.
5. Decoration: Many undervalue the importance of decoration. Some herbs or a few drops of pumpkin oil on your soup will make a huge difference on your picture! Also the used spoon, old baking paper, kitchen gloves or ingredients you used for your dish can help. Here we come back to the first point: You made a tomato soup? – You could place some tomatoes in the background. BUT: Less is more! If you decorate the whole dish and at worst also the background, the viewer looses the focus and therefore the picture its sense. It’s about the dish you created and that should be clear.
6. The right camera: Many of you probably think that you need a really good camera and maybe also expensive equipment. I’m using a reflex camera (Canon EOS 600D) and a 50mm lense since the beginning – but you can also take great pictures with a normal digital camera or even your phone! Camera equipment can be useful at times but I don’t use anything except a tripod.
7. Light: Much more important than the right camera is the light! If you’ve got the money you can buy a good light equipment. For all the other people: Daylight is the key to good food pictures! You’ll find the best light right next to a window or on a balcony. The most important rule: Never (NEVER!) take pictures with flash or the yellow light of your lamp. Never! Or maybe one time, just to understand what I’m talking about. 🙂 (Here’s a picture I took without natural light. Not really tasty, right!? ;))
8. Taking the picture: This point will be a bit longer. If you found a good background, the right light, suitable tableware and decorated your dish and the background it’s finally time to actually TAKE the picture (Yay). If you considered all the other points, that shouldn’t be too hard. At the beginning the automatic function of your camera is enough. If you want to take proper pictures and for example take a sharp photo of the powdered sugar you’re sprinkling on your brownies, you’ll probably have to buy a better camera and follow up with all its functions. However that would be enough content for another blogpost!
I’m always trying to take as many pictures out of different perspectives as possible. The most famous method to make your food look good on pictures is the frontal perspective from above. (That’s how I also started taking all my food pictures! :)) Meanwhile I also work with a side perspective to make sure that the viewer can see the structure of the dish. (Perfect if you’re working with layered breakfast jars,…) For this a certain blurriness of the background looks amazing! (That’s what I use my 50mm lense for!) Another great way to create different pictures of the same dish is to play with the zoom function of your camera!
Next to that it’s always nice if your picture tells a story. That’s easier than it sounds! The person looking at your picture should get the feeling that he’s looking right into the moment you took the picture. Here’s an example: You baked some cookies as a present? You could show the viewer your “workplace”. (Remains of the dough, the glasses you want to put the cookies in, the package of the nuts you just spread on your cookies, a …) But attention: Remember rule N°5: Decoration is great but let’s not exaggerate.
9. Post- Production: First of all I have to say that I only edited my pictures with the Instagram filters when I started! It’s true that there can be a huge difference between the picture you took with your camera and the one you get when you edited it. But even without your picture can be great. So if you don’t have the possibility to edit your photos with your computer you shouldn’t be too frustrated! 🙂
I myself edit all my pictures with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Frequently I’m just changing things like contrast, sharpness or warmth of my pictures. Sometimes only a few little things can change a lot! Tip: Youtube is a great way to learn programs like Photoshop or Lightroom! 😉
That’s it! I hope these 9 tips will help you to take your perfect food picture! 🙂 I’m really excited to see the results!! Just tag them with #majardln to make sure that I see your picture.