Well this article is combining two of my great passions, Photography and Food. My dear wife Hazel is probably the best cook in the world (as far as I’m concerned anyway) and my waist line can prove it. She is forever making great meals and photographing them to show her friends on Facebook. So I told her to improve her photography of food by following a few tips from our portrait business. I don’t photograph food in a professional capacity, but the basic ingredients of good photography apply to whatever you’re photographing whether that be people, pets, landscape or food.
- Good lighting – making the food look tasty is the aim of the game
- Good composition – making the photo look interesting
Avoid lighting your food under artificial lighting conditions, such as light bulbs or florescent lights, as these cause the food to look ugly due to their colour cast. Light bulbs will make the food look a yellowy colour and florescent lighting will make it look greenish (which is not particularly flattering if it happens to be meat).
You can, depending on your camera, set the colour balance to counteract these lighting effects if you have no other option, but it is much easier to photograph your food using natural light from a window. Not just because it takes away the colour balance problem, but also because the light will be coming from a more suitable direction, rather than coming from above (in the instance of artificial lighting from the middle of your ceiling) it will be coming from a side direction (assuming your windows are embedded in your walls).
Check out the examples below a see how the light is coming either from the side or from behind. Avoid lighting from your camera position as this provides a flat lighting effect. You want to add a sense of three dimension to your photos by adding light and shadow to your food, this makes it look more natural and interesting.
Make the food look interesting, have it in a real world situation, such as a table, not too distracting background, although something in the background can sometimes add to the interest, shallow depth of field, to blur the background so that the attention is directed to the food.
All the images below are taken by Hazel and all the food is cooked by her
There is a short but interesting article at fshoppers detailing how to use studio lighting to get a similar effect Food Photography