7 Food Photography Techniques

If you are a beginning photographer, you should try your hand at food photography. Many lucrative photography positions are available in the advertisement and media industries related to food photography.

Step One - Start Out Small

The best items to start out with are cakes, cookies, tarts and whole vegetables or fruits. These items require less arrangement and preparation than pastas and soups, which can help beginners understand the basics of composition. Once you have mastered composing simple things, you can move on to more challenging items.

Step Two - Create a Story For Your Food

Our favorite foods always have a story or a memory attached to them. One of the best ways to capture the essence of a subject is to associate it with a relatable story reflecting the idea of the content of the book or website you are shooting for. Once you have created a story for your food your background, contrast and styling should all come together.

Step Three - Use Natural Light

Soft, natural light is one of the best and least expensive ways to showcase the features of your food. Always diffuse the light with a sheer, white curtain, and never use a flash. Exposing your food to direct sunlight will throw harsh shadows across the food, and using a flash can make it look greasy or give it an odd glow.

Extra lighting that can mimic natural light is good for when conditions are not ideal, but it can also be fairly expensive. If budget is a concern, try bouncing your flash off of a white wall or the ceiling to give the impression of natural light.

Step Four - Contrast Your Main Subjects With Simple Items

Visual contrast plays a huge role in an image's ability to make people hungry. For a bumpy stack of cookies, use a smooth and simple surface, subject companion (e.g., a glass of milk) or background. Simple "sidekicks" and backgrounds eliminate visual noise, which can distract the eye from the showcase item and defeat the purpose of a successful photograph.

Step Five - Use Depth of Field

Depth of field is the amount of distance and focus you place between the food you are shooting and all the things that surround it. The food you are shooting should be the focus of the picture, so arranging everything to accommodate to the depth of focus is essential. Once you have everything arranged, focus your lens so the only thing that is in focus is your featured food item, about 1/3 of the image.

Step Six - Mist Fruit, Vegetables and Glassware

Misting fruits, vegetables and glassware creates condensation and makes food look more appetizing. People want to look at food that looks fresh--they do not want to look at food that is dull and tired looking. Spraying a bit of water on your subjects can give it that "fresh from the garden" look.

Step Seven - Choose the Right Food


When you take pictures of produce, try to find the freshest, plumpest looking fruits and vegetables at your local grocery store. People are attracted to plump, fresh and young-looking food that reminds them of summer and good memories, so it is best to keep that in mind when choosing produce.
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