How to become a good food photographer

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Food has become more than a way to sustain life nowadays. It has become a way to show social status, being a part of an ethnic group or even cultural appropriation. Social media platforms like Instagram or Pinterest promoted the idea that food should not only be tasty, but also look beautiful. If you are an aspiring food photographer or just interested in the subject, there are a few tips and tricks you should follow in order to make your artwork more valuable.

1. Lighting plays a crucial role

You might be already aware about the importance of lighting in photography, but we are going to remind this to you. It is the most important part in taking the perfect picture. The best lighting is the natural one. When photographing food in natural light the colors of the ingredients appear more alive and they reproduce the image truthful. The light you are working with determines the mood you are trying to reproduce by your photographs. A natural light will expose a relaxed atmosphere and this is what you are going for with your pictures.

2. Pay attention to the background

When photographing food, its colors might get lost in the background is you are using a brightly coloured one. Try instead to use contrasting colours, like blacks or whites in order to enhance the products.  In addition, you have to tell a story with your backgrounds. A plain black one might help to enhance the product, but you should try to carefully place your food on a wooden plate some cutlery and a cotton towel. This creates a more intimate atmosphere. If it is possible, try to document the process from the ingredients to the final product.

3. Try to carefully choose the colours

If the final product is not so brightly coloured, try to enhance it with other ingredients. For example, a shallot could easily do the trick. Maybe place some coriander next to the place and some green garlic. Find the perfect combination of colours and play with it until you are pleased with the result. Group your items in order to tell a story once more and try to do a top shot. Try to make it look natural and not staged.  In the end, this is going to be a reflex habit and it will not require so much attention from you.

4. Choose an appropriate lens

Try to choose a lens that does not distort the image in order to reproduce the products better. Many have found that the 50 mm is the most appropriate when photographing food. You should try it.

Remember the fact that food is a universal language. If you are visiting a foreign country, you can find a lot about it by trying their traditional dishes even if you do not understand the language very well. Culture is also better transmitted by traditional dishes and you can tell a lot about a country’s or ethnic group traits and history by trying their food. Being able to reproduce it by pictures can be a pleasant way to turn your passion into a full-time job.

August 2022