How to get the best out of food photography…

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The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly…

Food photography is becoming increasingly popular as social media encourages more sharing of great pictures. And we certainly seem to have an appetite for beautiful photographs of food. With a great photo you can increase the chances of your creations being shared and appreciated. Whether you’re an amateur or a professional chef looking to create an online portfolio, food photography is an art that can be learnt and continually improved.Food is as much about creativity as it is about taste. But how much of food appreciation is in the actual visual presentation? This week at The Jobs Menu we’re looking into the art of food presentation; the good, the bad, and the plain ugly of photographing food.

Food Photography Top Tips

So whether you’re looking to complete a professional food portfolio, take pictures for your food blog, or simply learn how to take better photographs of food – here are our top tips.

Setting up

  • Remember when you’re choosing a dish to photograph your tastiest dish may not necessarily be your most photogenic. Consider how you want the end composition to look, think about the texture and colour combinations and how they will complement each other.
  • Attention to detail is everything in food photography, so ensure your arrangement is immaculate. Even if you do intend to edit your pictures later – careful planning now will make your editorial work much faster.
  • Consider the accessories that you will be including in your shot. The cutlery can make a dish look expensive, home made or trendy. Do you want a linen table cloth or a rustic wooden bench as the backdrop to your dishes? Be conscious of who you want to view your photographs and dress your photographs appropriately.

Photographing

  • Natural light is everything in photography and you’ll need more than you think. Photographing food at midday by a window or even staging a table outside could help your photograph.
  • A good marker for adequate lighting is to check your white balance. If you are photographing a white plate and the colour looks more like an off grey, then your overall colours are not going to be great. If you do have to take your pictures in artificial light then invest in a daylight bulb to get enhanced colour definition.
  • Another essential is keeping the camera inhumanly still – especially in lower light when your camera will be taking in light for longer. This will ensure a sharper photo. If you don’t wan to buy a tripod, it’s a good idea to lean onto something (whilst you hold your breath) or alternatively you can try to balance the camera on something solid.
  • Don’t use a flash. Just don’t.


Food photography top tips. Before and After photos of vegetable saladBEFORE                                                     AFTER

Get creative

  • Sometimes things are not all that they seem in the world of food photography. The immaculate photos of ice-cream you see are more often than not pictures of mashed potato in a cone, and HP sauce can (rather unfortunately) double up as chocolate fudge sauce.
  • Another trick of food photographers is the architectural use of cocktail sticks – they can really help a limp dish defy gravity – just ensure you can’t see any little bits of wood poking out through your food.
  • To resurrect your food, once it has been stood around going cold for twenty minutes whilst you try to sort out the lighting, consider spraying your food with oil to give it a freshly cooked appearance.

Cropping

  • Cropping is a powerful tool which can give an average photo impact. Use cropping to simplify a photograph and to eliminate anything that is not necessary. It may be simply the case of closing in on the subject to reveal more detail, or centring the subject in the frame.
  • Cropping to a perfect square is a popular trend but if you choose a rectangle ensure you carefully gauge your proportions so that they are pleasing to the eye. For photography the ‘rule of thirds’ is a good benchmark.

Editing

  • It’s easy to reveal evidence of editing, so aim for a subtle improvement rather than a radical overhaul of your image.
  • Prioritise the restoration of any warmth and vibrancy of colour lost in the photograph, as this is an important aspect for a dish to appear appetising.
  • Ask advice from friends and colleagues, sometimes a small amount of constructive criticism can stimulate a great creative idea and resolve any easily remedied issues.

Be picky

  • Be brutal when selecting your photographs. As your portfolio and skills grow, some photos will naturally bring down your collection so less is more.

Upload your portfolio online

  • If you don’t already have a blog or a website, consider setting one up so that you can showcase all you photographs in one place.
  • Consider linking your food blog/website/instagram to your LinkedIn profile. This will also provide potential employers with easy access to your creative output.

What’s next…

We’re going to be practising some food photography in the office this week. So we’ll let you know how we get on. No doubt there will be some ‘interesting’ pictures taken! If you have any additional tips or advice for us then please get in touch via Facebook or Twitter.

We hope you found these food photography tips helpful!

Hannah from The Jobs Menu team.

About us

The Jobs Menu specialises in hospitality and catering jobs in the UK, enabling you to directly apply for some of the most exciting career opportunities in the industry.

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