Deal 9: Hacking Photography mega-deal
This is a guest post by Jules Clancy of Stonesoup.
While portrait photographers need to be skilled in the art of getting their subjects to relax in front of the camera to get a great shot, we food photographers have things a little easier. At least our subjects (mostly) can’t talk.
But that doesn’t mean you should forget to apply a little charm in the food styling department.
The more time spent making the food attractive as possible, the easier things are when it comes to taking the shot.
So here are 10 tips to help you improve your food styling, naturally.
While it may seem more generous to serve plates piled high with food, an over crowded plate can look less appealing than a minimalist spread. Think about how you can use the white space of the plate to frame your dish.
Lining plates with parchment or baking paper helps to add visual interest and soften the lines of your plates.
While there are times when all white on white can be visually striking, I find I get better shots if I go for contrast. So a pale coloured food and plate gets a dark background where as a vibrantly coloured dish tends to be best with a simple white background.
Getting a bit messy really helps to add movement and life to your photographs, rather than having everything confined to plates and bowls.
While highly decorative China and napery are beautiful on their own, they can detract from the visual impact of the food. Plain plates, especially classic white allow the food to be the star.
Try and think about what it is that makes a particular dish look delicious and then serve it in a way to flaunt it.
For example, I love the golden, cripsy skin of a well roasted chicken. Rather than carve the chook into individual slices with tiny slivers of skin visible, the whole bird tends to look best.
It can be easy to focus on getting the final plated-up food shot and miss out on some great opportunities along the way. Try taking a few shots during the preparation and cooking process.
Think about what makes your subject really delicious and then aim to highlight this characteristic in your shot. Ice cream is a great example. It’s all about smooth creaminess and licking drips from the sides of your cone or bowl.
Inspiration can strike from anywhere. When you’re eating out or even just flicking through your favourite food mag, take note of what looks appealing and what doesn’t.
Once you have a shot of the whole food that you love, eat or serve some out and then take another shot. Often a half finished plate is more appetizing than the original whole.
Also check out our Snapn Food Guide to food photography.
Jules Clancy is a qualified Food Scientist, and self-taught food photographer. She blogs about her commitment to cooking recipes with no more than 5 ingredients over at Stonesoup.
Become a Contributor: Check out Write for DPS page for details about how YOU can share your photography tips with the DPS community.
September 13, 2013 01:02 am
1. Use less food than you normally would
Great tip, also using oversized plates helps draw the eye to the food.
May 31, 2013 12:26 am
Certain fruits do not look attractive.they appeal only when they are arranged
May 9, 2013 05:45 am
Love the tips ! Thank you, it will help. Please look at my blog if you have a second .... any advice would be helpful ! Thanks....
May 3, 2013 09:29 pm
Great tip about using less food than normal.
Valerie, your photos are mouthwatering and very inspiring.
I love food photography. It is always a challenge to do justice to a dish
Here is my set of food on flickr :http://www.flickr.com/photos/emeraldwilliams/sets/72157623427595835/
April 27, 2013 05:32 am
I think this is nice post. Last days I'm into food photography and I think I have some great work, so if you have time, look:
March 9, 2013 01:57 am
Wow this is awesome! Food photography is not a part of my business, but I've always admired it and wanted to play around with it more on the side. Number 10 is a particularly great tip. ;)
February 5, 2013 05:25 pm
I'm so glad you liked the photos
February 5, 2013 12:13 am
Thanks for the helpful tips and I'll be sure to try out some of these. :) I'm a bit of a novice when it comes to food photography but the photos in this article are mouth-watering!
December 4, 2012 10:43 am
Thank you for sharing. Though food isn't what I normally photograph I'm working on a small project this week and looking for information that will help me get decent results.
Just a group photography group I belong to and Sunday's theme is BACON!!
If I'm going to do it I may as well try and do it right.
February 10, 2012 03:50 am
I love food photography. I wish I had more time for it. I'm going to have the opportunity to take some photos for a local BBQ restaurant for their website and your tips should come in handy. Thanks for sharing your expertise.
July 28, 2011 06:27 pm
Thanks for sharing your perspective.
I hope you find what you're looking for somewhere else.
July 24, 2011 10:56 pm
since this blog came up when googeling for helpful tips & tricks, I thought it has some useful content but instead I found information the author is unable to use himself. although the content may be right, there is a tremendous lack in the use of basic photografic principles in terms of light and composition in all pictures and the food does not at all look fresh, appealing or tasteful. please work on your self-reflection before spreading stuff like this on the internet! make way for people who really are able to contribute with professional advice and can convince by presenting the results. for everyone who is interested in professional information on photography, look out for the best people out there and try to find out where and how they share their knowledge, i.e. books, workshops, training-videos
May 25, 2011 01:24 am
Great article. I have made an adaptation (+ credit) of this article for the french photography website bokeh.fr.. You can see it here : http://bokeh.fr/blog/technique-photo/10-astuces-pour-ameliorer-vos-photos-culinaires/
May 13, 2011 05:33 pm
Good food and photography as well...
see my food photography - Food Photography
May 6, 2011 09:12 pm
Useful, although I don't shoot food on a day to day basis, there is always the wedding cake!!
May 4, 2011 10:45 pm
Great article! Very useful!
May 4, 2011 04:17 am
I agree with both Allen Furst and Raphel. Food spilling over the plate / dish is off putting and not for me.
May 2, 2011 09:04 am
thanks for sharing your opinion. I never was very good at colouring between the lines..
awesome that you've started your blog! and I like your approach of trying to make each picture a little bit better than the last. enjoy
May 2, 2011 02:06 am
Thanks for a great article. I've just recently started a food blog and am learning the ropes of food photography. Each picture seems to improve a little from the one prior, so I am hopeful. It is exciting learning these things! I appreciate the simple yet effective tips here. The examples really help, too!
May 1, 2011 04:30 am
The photos are unappealing similar to scribbling between the lines.There is an art and beauty in the presentation of food missing
April 30, 2011 05:53 am
Really great, short and to the point hints and tips, much appreciated. The photography is well-done, too, great example images, thanks!
April 30, 2011 05:34 am
i will try some of these soon!
April 30, 2011 01:44 am
#6, rather :)
April 30, 2011 01:43 am
Not that it looks bad, but #5 makes me think it's sitting on top of a pair of folded jeans--like someone set down the chicken on the laundry.
April 29, 2011 02:23 pm
Love this, and being married to a cook, I know I'll have chances to put some of these tips to work.
April 29, 2011 06:40 am
Correction: I meant basilicum not oregano!
April 29, 2011 06:36 am
I am sorry to say but i cannot believe this article! The food does not look appetizing at all! Spilling the food like in the pics up here makes it looks messy and yuk! What a mess! The one with the dirty pan with wayyyy too much oregano on the side, with the way too large bowl of tomato sauce with spilled tomato all over the saucer! Disgusting! The ice-cream one with cream that drips like sperm from the side! Yuk! And the last pic : it looks like the spoon has vomit on it! Perhaps this self taught "photographer" should get some lessons from a professional photographer AND a stylist!
April 29, 2011 06:06 am
TY for the tips! I enjoy taking photographs of food items and these tricks will help me out I know!!
^ Picture of my beer-can chicken on a crock skillet, Tip #5
April 29, 2011 12:50 am
Hard work went into this article. As for Tip #4 . . . for me, that and other diversionary images, has been a money-making tactic. Finished a complete menu project last year and, added human hands and flatware props to the photo and, lo and behold, that particular menu item increased in sales tenfold for the restaurant owner/operator. Most were skeptical of the idea but, asked them to kindly review the results. That project increased sales for me as well.
Thank you . . .
April 28, 2011 10:06 pm
yes! especially for things with fillings, exposing the goodness on the inside can make a bi difference. It can also bring things to life more... giving the impression of action.
allen & mei
well I guess it depends on your aesthetic... I like mess and prefer rusticity to perfection. but good point that it can be overdone.
April 28, 2011 12:02 pm
This info are really simple and easy to try. I believe all to be happy with this. I am a Bali Photographer say thank you for sharing with us the information
April 28, 2011 10:40 am
I love food photography too. As for tip#4, I believe it should not be over-done. Otherwise, the presentation tends to end up looking messy.
April 28, 2011 07:56 am
Very informative post again. Now that I read this, I'll buy more white plates. :) Thanks a lot for this very helpful tips.
April 28, 2011 04:39 am
I enjoyed reading this article but I want to say that I disagree with #4. Maybe I'm a clean freak, but to me stuff dribbling over the sides detracts from the presentation and elegance of a well-prepared dish.
April 28, 2011 03:14 am
I agree about the "eat some and re-shoot" idea. Depending on the food, taking a bite allows you to see more of the food's texture especially if it's something enclosed like a pie or a casserole.
I love food photography!
April 28, 2011 01:23 am
Great tips and advice on food photography. Setting up the lighting is key, often shot inside a large softbox. I tried something different with this shot of a slice of orange. I suspended it on glass over a black background and lit it from underneath. This makes the slice glow!
April 28, 2011 01:17 am
Great article and beautiful food images Jules! I mostly shoot on location in restaurants. A food stylist is rarely available and I often work directly with the chef. The trend is for a more organic and natural approach which your images reflect well.
You can see samples of my food images here: http://www.valeriejardinphotography.com/Food.html
A recent shoot I did for a pastry chef which let me be more creative is featured in this blog post:
April 28, 2011 12:48 am
Interesting article, and great photos to go with the advice. Food doesn't have to "relax" for the camera, but it can become stale looking if you wait to long.
I've taken several food photos, it is a fun but challenging subject:
Receive a FREE SAMPLE of our Portrait Photography Ebook
Receive a FREE SAMPLE of our Portrait Photography Ebook
Receive a FREE SAMPLE of our Portrait Photography Ebook
Sign up to the free DPS PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE
GET DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS Feed