How To Take Great Food and Drink Stock Photos

Learning how to take great stock photos of food and drinks can be one of the most challenging things to master. It requires mastery of lighting concepts, angles and an understanding of food.

The goal of food photography is is to make the food look appealing, appetizing - even irresistible. Companies who will buy food and drink stock photos will likely be using them in one of three ways: advertising, product packaging or in a magazine. In each of these cases, the food is meant to be enticing and motivating. By keeping a few things in mind, you'll be well on your way toward taking great food and drink stock photos.

Step 1: Texture

When we think of food, most of us are enticed by the smells and tastes, right? Here's the problem, however: food photography can't rely on those two senses to compel customers to take notice. Instead, food photographers have to rely on things like the color and texture of the food to get viewers salivating. Is it the juicy interior of an orange you want your viewers to notice? Is it the nooks and crannies of a piece of freshly baked bread? Whatever it is, find the texture and focus on it.

Step 2: Color

Don't put a pile of green grapes on a pale green plate, for example. The grapes will never stand out that way. Similarly, if you are trying to highlight a tomato sauce, don't put it in a red bowl. Contrast is important, but so is harmony. The whole image has to be a harmonious whole. That doesn't mean you can't take risks and do something unconventional, but you have to make sure the finished product works.

Step 3: Lighting

Although lighting is certainly not a concern particular to food photography, it is perhaps even more important when photographing food. The goal of lighting in this situation is to make the images pop off the page. Playing with shadows and light can help you breathe three-dimensional life into your still-life subjects.

Step 4: Perspective

Another important consideration for food photographers is perspective. When deciding on the angle for your shot, consider the effect you are trying to achieve. If you want to make the item look taller, for example, shoot it from a low angle. If you are trying to create a feeling of grandeur and abundance, like a buffet spread for example, it may be a good idea to shoot the image from above.

Step 5: Styling

Food and drink stock photographers have to moonlight as food stylists, too. Even food "models" need accessories, in the form of garnishes and props. These props help to create a story around the food item. For example, a half-full wineglass with a lipstick mark on it tells more of a story than a regular wine glass. Similarly, simply adding a fork on a dessert plate bearing a half-eaten piece of pie will give the impression that the pie was irresistible. Fresh herbs, flowers, glassware or even a napkin can make all the difference.

The digital age of cameras has made taking food and drink stock photography easier than ever. You can instantaneously see whether you are getting the shots you imagine and can make on-the-spot adjustments. There is money to be made in food and drink stock photography; go out and make a mark for yourself.