Restaurants and recipe blogs have elevated food presentation to an art form, often creating gorgeous culinary delights. Where once it was not the norm to share pictures of food, photographers and foodies alike are eager to take photos of their dishes before taking their first bites. Sink your teeth into these food photography tips to start snapping your own mouthwatering photos.
Find the best lighting
Good lighting is essential for appetizing food photography. From sizzling fajitas to frosty
beverages, the best natural lighting is indirect sunlight — a shaded location on a sunny day gives
food a bright, even glow without tinting colors
the way indoor lighting does.
Lighting direction can have a big impact on appeal. Some food looks better lit from the top or side and most dishes benefit from supplemental backlighting. Illumination from behind enhances the appearance of steam over warm food and beverages, and it boosts the luminous shimmer on crisp salads, glazed meats and melting cheese.
Even if you lack ideal light, such as in restaurants, a camera with a fast lens will help you capture impressive images.
Control the white balance
You want the food in your photos to look as yummy as it does in real life. The color temperature
(white balance) of a scene can make your gourmet spread look like a dingy greasy spoon menu without
the proper white balance setting. Color
temperature varies in different lighting conditions. For example, many LED and fluorescent light
bulbs cast a green tint on food, while shady outdoor locations can make things look blue.
Whether you’re photographing inside or outdoors, your camera settings should be adjusted to neutralize the white balance and eliminate any unflattering warm or blue tints casted on your food. With Auto White Balance (AWB), the EOS Rebel T7 DSLR camera estimates the color temperature of the light in your scene and sets a custom white balance each time you press the shutter button.
Look for the right angles
Every food has its good side but finding and capturing it can be tricky. Some flat dishes, such as
pizza or pumpkin pie, may look better in a straight overhead shot. Three-dimensional foods like ice
cream sundaes or gingerbread houses
need a 45-degree camera angle to capture the sweet contours and textures. Foods like burgers and
cake slices benefit from eye-level camera angles that showcase their multilevel scrumptiousness. If
you’re photographing a full meal or table
spread, experiment with different levels and angles, and pull out individual dishes or food items to
Food photography often requires wide angles and close-ups that are best captured with compact lenses like the EF 50mm f/1.8 STM.
Play with your food
Good food photography is about highlighting the best qualities that makes the dish look as delicious
as it tastes and smells. Prepared dishes look best when they are ready to be served, when the
garnishes are fresh, the cheese is still
bubbling, and the glazed turkey is waiting to be carved. You’ll need to move fast to capture piping
hot dishes while they look the most appetizing — and before the guests gobble it all up.
When plating your food for photos, pay attention to small details. Imperfections like sauce dribbles or wilting garnishes can diminish the overall appearance of the dish. If your subjects lose their luster, brush vegetables and meat with a touch of olive oil or spritz salads with water to liven them up.
Some homemade dishes, however tasty, just never photograph well and need a little extra help. For photos of a home-cooked dinner, consider incorporating meal preparation into your photo shoot. Take photos of raw ingredients divided into glass bowls or displayed on a wooden cutting board. For soups or thick stews that may lose their vibrant colors and textures after fully cooking, take photos of ingredients being added to the pot in stages, and the dish simmering on the stovetop.
Shift your focus
Whether you’re capturing a lavish buffet spread or a single gooey strand of cheese stretching out from a pizza slice, you want your subject to be in focus. Use Aperture-priority (Av) mode on your camera to control your depth-of-field (or how much is actually in sharp focus from foreground to background). A low f-stop number will create a shallow depth-of-field, which is best for isolating small details on a plate or when working against a distracting background. Higher f-stop numbers will bring more of your scene into focus, so you can focus on small portions of food, a full plate or the entire table. Start with a setting of f/3.5 or f/5 and make adjustments higher or lower to suit your needs.
Share with Others
The best part of any tasty meal is sharing it with other people. Treat your foodie friends and family
to a visual smorgasbord
Whether you’re dining out, ordering in, or trying a new recipe, food photography is a great way to savor a fantastic feast long after the dishes have been cleared.