Deal 7: How to make money through your photography
Choosing the best angle, when shooting food, comes from a good observation and an inner feeling. Before composing your image, try to enter into a visual meditation, move calmly around your subject and simply observe with your bare eyes. Just keep in mind that this meditation cannot be long-lasting, as you know that freshly prepared food will not continue to maintain that “fresh look” for more than a few minutes.
Food Photography is very similar to photographing people in a sense that each person has her best side. Considering the variety of food out there, diverse cooking and presentation styles, the final results are endless. This array of unique subjects creates an opportunity for infinite camera angle choices.
The camera is completely centered to the subject. This created a very clean contemporary look and feel. Tip: Keep the props to the minimum.
Camera is positioned directly above the subject and perfectly centered. This angle produces a very contemporary, graphic look.
Tips on overhead photography see Tips for Shooting Overhead.
For this shot, food was placed directly onto the white plexiglass surface, a soft box was positioned below the plexi. This created a seamless and shadow-less environment. When you do not have a point of reference (no horizon line, no plate, no sense of environment) you can shoot from most unusual angles and get away with it.
Camera is tilted right, so the subject tilts counterclockwise and the dish is welcoming you in, motivating the spectator to indulge in image.
Camera is tilted left, so the subject tilts clockwise, pulling away from you, engaging the viewer the desire to follow.
Don’t be afraid to get close to your subject. It won’t bite. Or will it? When you are shooting close ups, the point of reference loses its importance, so any camera angle will produce an appetizing image or not?
The camera is positioned above the front of the subjectd, then the camera is tilted up until the subject fills the frame. The photograph will maintain a graphic dynamic composition that will engaging the eye to scan the image from the foreground to the background.
Turn you camera so the subject starts in one corner and ends in the opposite corner, breaking the space diagonally.
When looking through the viewfinder align the edge of the frame to any line you see in your subject. In this case I chose to align three parallel lines (left and right edges of the slice). So I turned the camera until these 3 lines ware parallel to the vertical edge of the frame. This created a very monumental and unusual composition, granting unprecedented importance to this slice of a regular cheese cake.
The camera was tilted just slightly to the left. Why? Because the human brain likes to scan things by section. If the camera had been leveled, then the middle wedge would create a horizontal line that would divide the composition in two sections and forcing the eye to travel away from the center. But in this case, I wanted the eye to flow freely though the whole image while stopping only at the focal point. So “gentle tilt” solved the problem.
Try to forget about the rule of thirds and everything you just learned, just move around your subject and really try to see it and when you see it, draw the camera to your eye and start framing. Keep your mind clear, no thinking. When you start getting a warm fuzzy feeling entering through your stomach and spreading to your chest, just push the button.
Sasha Gitin is a New York based food and lifestyle photographer shooting for advertising and editorial industries. His commercial portfolio can be reviewed on sashagitin.com.
In addition, Sasha is a co-founder of an educational photography blog LearnMyShot.com where he shares photography tips and techniques.
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June 2, 2013 10:32 pm
Check some of my clicks here:
Drop a line if you want !!!
March 3, 2013 03:48 am
Great tips. I used them in these photos
December 13, 2012 03:21 am
great article, this is my shoot
August 29, 2012 06:08 pm
I have been searching the way to improve my food photographing skill. And found this is very helpful tips for me.
Now, it is time to get rid all those dim angle! Thank you!
August 9, 2012 02:16 pm
Thanks for your really useful tips.
I would like to shre with you guys my shot:
January 3, 2012 11:04 pm
This is indeed a good article
December 26, 2011 06:46 am
This guy has some really impressive photos. It's great to see all of the different angles broken down and explained. The most interesting part of this article to me is number 10, gentle tilt. It makes perfect sense that the human brain will naturally break things into sections and food photography is all about breaking away from that logical norm. Even a few degree tilt can be the difference between a regular old snapshot and a luscious, stomach grumble-inducing image of melted cheese.
December 1, 2011 10:40 am
October 15, 2011 01:05 am
Some good reminder photography tips there! I use diagonals quite a bit in my food photography and reading this has reminded me I should try a couple of the shots I don't normally do. However having not done food shots recently I'll have to wait a little while until I get to do it for a client.
October 5, 2011 03:24 pm
This article was amazing. You've inspired me with your photos. I see your inspiration in the submissions to this article. I don't have a worthy food photo, yet!
September 24, 2011 11:00 pm
How I wish there is an assignment and will post the photos.
July 29, 2011 11:40 pm
Really awesome shots and tips! I really like Head-on Zen and diagonal angle, the food looks quite tasty and nice this way. And the fish is scary man! :)
March 4, 2011 10:28 am
[eimg url='http://chellbellz.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/bread-pudding-032.jpg?w=490&h=326' title='bread-pudding-032.jpg?w=490&h=326']
I shot this from a tilted angle. I'm glad I found this article but i never thought about what i'm doing when taking food pictures for my blog even with my camera phone.
March 3, 2011 08:09 pm
Great images, it's very fantastic
December 20, 2010 02:15 am
[eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/vats50/5274443268/' title='34162_142310772446080_100000014745941_411248_114759_n' url='http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5082/5274443268_b411063096.jpg']
December 11, 2010 07:02 am
Thanks, I love shooting food and I found this article really useful! :)
Here is one example of shot I took:
[eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/milk_addict/4956790572/' title='Gnocchetti alle chele di granchio' url='http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4104/4956790572_96aa2de725.jpg']
there is more here in the set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/milk_addict/sets/72157607024498123/
December 8, 2010 12:49 am
Great tips! i particularly love the close up and personal...its my style of photography.
December 6, 2010 10:38 pm
Perfect! About to do food photography tomorrow. I'll try to remember those angles in mind. Here's my shots.
December 6, 2010 10:42 am
i love using the top and close up shots in food..
now I have more options to try..
umm, but how can you make the close up fish more appealing
and not a bit scary..
December 5, 2010 11:04 am
Great tips! Here's my close-up cherry tomato shot.
December 4, 2010 07:37 pm
Excelent!! makes me hungry. I'll concentrate my work for the week in foods.
December 4, 2010 04:50 am
Love all the shots here, both composition and lighting! Great angles. You inspired me to do some food photography. Is there any articles or guides on lighting. I really the lightings here, but don't know how to get that.
December 4, 2010 12:19 am
i was thinking about food photography till i got the news letter. im so hungry. well we have a lot of african dishes which have not been exhibited and im sure this has been able to drive my efforts to execute this project
December 3, 2010 09:43 pm
wonderful tips!!! thank you..
here is my shot.. enjoy:)
[eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/55155835@N04/5228894602/' title='tiramisu ' url='http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5047/5228894602_61b75c921e.jpg']
December 3, 2010 07:38 pm
My cupcake photo
December 3, 2010 06:09 pm
Nice piece on composition for food photography.
My shot: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaagspics/4038753083/
December 3, 2010 10:37 am
Thanks for all the tips! I really love to shoot food. mostly the main dish and dessert!
December 3, 2010 09:59 am
I love the emotion you allude to when shooting food. Isn't that what it's all about? Mmmmm.
December 3, 2010 08:40 am
It's not often ones entire body of work impresses me.... this guy is awesome....
December 3, 2010 08:35 am
One of my most popular shots - from way up above :)
[eimg url='http://www.mandiwhitten.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/IMG_2021_1.jpg' title='IMG_2021_1.jpg']
December 3, 2010 05:38 am
I really appreciate the article and loved the pictures. What I'd like to see in articles like this is not only the finished shot but, a stepped back photo of the full setup. This way, I could see the camera angles, location and also perhaps the lighting setup as well. Just a thought. Keep the articles coming. Be Blessed!!! --Big Steve
December 3, 2010 05:33 am
......just a piece http://www.flickr.com/photos/nasti29/5226609004/in/photostream/
December 3, 2010 05:32 am
December 3, 2010 05:30 am
[url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/nasti29/5226609004/][eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/nasti29/5226609004/' title='Simply..............Cheese cake' url='http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5206/5226609004_329211ea5e.jpg'][/url]
[url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/nasti29/5226609004/]Simply..............Cheese cake[/url] by [url=http://www.flickr.com/people/nasti29/]nasti29[/url], on Flickr
December 3, 2010 12:34 am
Do you photography food when you're hungry? It would probably be a good indicator of when youre shooting the right shot.
As far as angles, if you're shooting natural light, a lot of it will depend on how the light falls too. You want to choose an angle that will add dimension using the light.
December 2, 2010 05:06 am
Please, next time just post the tips but don't include the photos. I have to go to the kitchen several times before I finished reading this. (Just kidding!)
This is very timely since it is almost winter and I don't intend to go out much to take pictures. I am planning to spend my winter time taking pictures indoor. I will surely try these tips. My pictures might look good, I hope the food too will taste good! hahaha!
Thanx for the post. I love it!
December 2, 2010 12:45 am
I love the “Close up and personal” style, but find most restauranteurs prefer to see the whole plate in the “Above with perspective” style. I am right there with Sasha: keep moving around while looking through the viewfinder and see what looks the most appetizing. In the end though, I like to shoot desserts most!
[eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/forrest-tanaka/5043054879/' title='Chestnut Cake' url='http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4146/5043054879_e2ef7f72e9_z.jpg']
December 1, 2010 11:37 pm
December 1, 2010 11:08 pm
Outstanding post. I shoot a fair number of food shots. I plan on doing a lot more this winter when I'm traveling. This gives me lots of ideas.
December 1, 2010 10:49 pm
This is a terrific article! I haven't done much food photography, but I want to do more. Now I can approach it with confidence, with a handle on what to do. Thanks!
December 1, 2010 09:53 pm
Here is mine using Head-on!
[eimg url='http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_3en_dIEgQ8M/TMaoHgYvaFI/AAAAAAAASNg/GJer715fpI4/s1600/Ice+n+spice.jpg' title='Ice+n+spice.jpg']
December 1, 2010 09:45 pm
December 1, 2010 09:44 pm
[eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/mei_teng_photos/4995472939/' title='Pancakes' url='http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4128/4995472939_a90e34dc55_z.jpg']
December 1, 2010 09:41 pm
Great set of tips! :) I like the idea of lost in space and that up close and personal look of the fish face. Thanks for sharing.
December 1, 2010 06:52 pm
Food photography is not as easy as people think. Thanks for this great article.
December 1, 2010 04:30 pm
Great article and great photographs. Food photography is not easy.
December 1, 2010 03:45 pm
December 1, 2010 02:05 pm
December 1, 2010 11:23 am
I've probably shoot food with all the angles you mentioned except one: Lost in Space. The thing is I don't really think about the angles, or what I'd call them, all that much. I just put the subject in my viewfinder from whatever angle or position I can think of and adjust until I'm happy with my composition.
December 1, 2010 09:22 am
#10 (tilted sections) is a seriously brilliant lesson in composition. That opened up a whole new understanding for me!
December 1, 2010 08:04 am
@ gail - I use shallow DOF when I want the viewer to pay attention to a particular focal point of the yam factor. But when I feel that every element in composition deserves equal importance then I use deep DOF to keep everything sharp.
December 1, 2010 07:49 am
I love tips like this! Thank you!
December 1, 2010 07:49 am
These food pictures are making me hungry.
December 1, 2010 07:39 am
Good article but can you expand on the DOF. When to use shallow vs deep DOF.
December 1, 2010 07:38 am
My 3 different angles of a Romanesco Cauliflower -
December 1, 2010 07:05 am
One of the best steaks I've eaten at a nice little restaurant in Bruges.
December 1, 2010 05:57 am
Looks all very yummy!! Thanks for all the other angles, it's amazing how different angles give such a different feel to the photo!!
Heres a tilt towards style one i've done.
December 1, 2010 05:40 am
"When you start getting a warm fuzzy feeling entering through your stomach and spreading to your chest, just push the button." I like this idea! Great writeup.
December 1, 2010 04:44 am
I normally consider 4 angles. If I'm not going for the "Close Up and Personal" look I'll consider either the "Head-On Zen" or "From Above". Shots with a lot of garnishes/condiments/props tend to look best from above, while foods with interesting sides (like a slice of layer cake) often look good shot straight-on. If neither straight-on nor directly above are appropriate I'll find an in-between angle through trial and error-- I think the others you mentioned would fall into this catergory.
December 1, 2010 03:49 am
Awesome tips! Food is probably my most favorite thing to photograph. Thanks for sharing these tips!
I have a couple food photos on these blog post: http://www.wayfaringwanderer.com/2010/09/20-reasons-we-love-charleston-sc.html & http://www.wayfaringwanderer.com/2010/11/pigging-out-oak-st-po-boy-festival-new.html
December 1, 2010 03:42 am
OMG! This was awesome! I always wanted to learn more about Food Photography and these cool tips have definitely opened my eyes to look at the food in a different way when taking photos, thanks a ton man!
December 1, 2010 03:32 am
Sometimes it's good to give things plenty of space too: http://www.flickr.com/photos/auntiep/382843687/
December 1, 2010 03:10 am
Oh this is such a useful article!! Thanks so much for going through all these! I tend to do a lot of "head on" shots, but I don't think I can call mine "zen"
Here's one of Swiss Fondue
December 1, 2010 02:31 am
Beautiful food photography. I love the various tilts and respect to lines. I'll keep these in mind when photographing any food in the future. Great work.
December 1, 2010 02:13 am
I wouldn't say it's a different angle than what has been presented - it's pretty up close and personal - but it's one of my favorite food shots. Maybe because I like the Miss Swiss at the Burger Shack?[eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/alifeofjoy/4351494453/' title='Mushroom2' url='http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4049/4351494453_889733f39b.jpg']
December 1, 2010 01:33 am
most delicious post ever :D
December 1, 2010 01:13 am
Sorry double first wrong post :(
December 1, 2010 12:59 am
So hungry now...
December 1, 2010 12:16 am
November 30, 2010 11:56 pm
Great piece on composition thanks...I would love a companion article on lighting ...or am just being greedy! lol.
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