With more and more filters – and filtering apps – making their way onto our smart phones, it’s getting easier and more fun to take beautiful photos of food. Whether you like to shoot your own mouthwatering kitchen creations, raw ingredients at the farmer’s market, gorgeously plated meals in restaurants, or all of the above, here are some photo tips from a top food stylist that will take your photos from “eh” to “wow:”
Get the lighting right
We covered lighting extensively in a previous blog post, and many of those tips apply to food as well:
- Use natural light from a window when you can
- If possible, shut off bright overhead lights
- Low light? Because the flash on your phone will ruin the photo, skip it. Alternatively, ask a friend to turn on his flashlight app to illuminate the dish while you snap the photo.
Play with your food
For the best shot, it’s OK to re-arrange things. Look at balance and symmetry on a plate – the eye is drawn to those elements – and move the food, plate, setting, and/or yourself around til you find the right shot.
To keep the focus on the food, be mindful of distractions. A good rule of thumb: Don’t include garbage in the photo – used napkins, empty wrappers. However, you can add energy to a photo by including fellow diners’ hands and live flowers.
Shoot on a matte, non-shiny surface
Simple surfaces with a matte texture, like wood tables and marble countertops, will help your food stand out. A shiny surface, like a glass or lacquered table top, will distract from the food and compete for attention.
Frame your shot
Shooting food from above usually yields the best, and most focused, photos. If you’re using your iPhone, hold it higher for a crisper shot; you can edit the photo later for a tighter shot. Be sure to add some negative space, like the rim of a plate or the empty table next to the dish.
Take advantage of apps
There are many apps out there that can help with color corrections, light, and contrast. Instagram is one option, of course, but you can also try VSCO, Afterlight, and Snapseed.