Over my time as a food and travel blogger, I’ve picked up many expert photo techniques. You may recall, that I’ve released a guide for taking orgasmic food photos but I would like to add to your repertoire of techniques. Without further ado, I give to you my 5 Expert Food Photo Techniques.
1. Rule of Thirds
This is one of the most important food photography tips. Actually, it’s one of the most important concepts in all photography. When you’re looking through your lens, imagine that it’s separated into nine equal boxes. This will create grid lines. You’ll notice that there will be a box in the center. The whole concept is making sure that your subject is lined up where the grid lines intersect. There are only four intersection points to consider. I generally stick to the top left or the top right for food photos.
2. Expert Editing Technique
There are tons of techniques for editing photos. However, once you find the correct composition, you’ll want to edit your photo to bring out the subject. Whether this is a piece of fried chicken or a bowl of Japanese Ramen, you’ll want to lighten the subject and darken the background. In photography terms, this is known as burning and dodging. Burning is obviously darkening and dodging is brightening. This will make your photos pop!
3. Shoot the Front
Whether you’ve thought about it or not, every single dish has a front side that you should be shooting. From my experience shooting thousands of food photos, I will always rotate the dish until I find the optimum angle. By finding this, you make the food look as attractive as possible. Generally, I like to put the main part of the dish on one of the intersection points for rules of thirds. The secondary items on the plate will be slightly out of focus due to the depth of field, giving your shot that magical look we are all going for!
4. Professional Lighting
In the last article, I warned about on-camera flashes, I avoid them at all costs. However, a new technique that I’ve picked up, is grabbing an off-camera light. This light can be a phone or a small pocket light. Use a flashlight for all I care! The technique here is to hold the light in one hand above the food and shoot from the side with the other.
5. Camera Placement and Angle
A lot of people try to take food photos but just never really get where the camera should be to create the most appealing look. I generally find that you should keep the camera about a hands length away from the food. This may sound quite close, but the biggest mistake I see, is when people are too far away. When you’re close, it creates a much more intimate feel. I try to get level with the food as well, not too high and not too low. This is also how I like to shoot portraiture. I don’t want to be much taller then the subject and I don’t want to be below the subject’s face because it makes people look fat.
Bonus Food Photography Tip: Overhead Technique
When I first started taking food photos, I was against overhead shots completely. Little did I know, when you execute these properly you can create some truly stunning images. The way that I insure a perfect overhead shot is by using multiple techniques. The first technique I use is using a camera that has a flip out screen. This way I can hold the camera way above my head, and angle it properly. It’s important to make sure the camera is directly above the food so that the edges of the table are straight. If it’s not perfect, it’s usually an easy fix in Adobe Lightroom.
Another huge part of the overhead shot, is the composition. Generally, I like to remove the place-mats and put the plate in the center of the shot. I will then surround the plate with beverages and cutlery as desired. Side dishes do wonderfully to add color and a better feel for the photo. Typically, breakfast shots work best for overhead photos.
As I continue down this luxury travel, food and lifestyle photography path, I keep learning more techniques! These are some of the most useful tips that I’ve learned thus far, and I really hope they can help you improve your food photography! In the coming days, weeks and months, your photos will be looking much better, I promise. Use these techniques wisely and enjoy!