Note from the Editor: We’re back with part three (the final post!) of 10 great photography tips for making your food look irresistible, courtesy of our contributor Mama J. from A Little Bit Crunchy, A Little Bit Rock and Roll. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can read part 1 of 10 Great Photography Tips to Make Food Look Irresistible here or part 2 here.
There’s nothing quite like creating a dish or dessert that looks like this:
That’ll get their mouths watering! Have fun with this final post and we wish you all luck in your picture taking adventures.
10 Great Photography Tips to Make Food Look Irresistible part 3
By: Jenni Fleener
8. Composition is key.
Personally, I like to keep things simple by not working with a lot of props. Some food photographers do a beautiful job with props. I recommend you start off simple. Resist the urge to take a picture of a plate like you’re ready to sit down and eat at it. Focus on the food that you are writing the recipe for. If you take a photo of lasagna make that one slice of lasagna be your photo, not all the side dishes you’ll be eating with the lasagna. It will just crowd the photo and make it sloppy. Get creative with your shots. Try standing on a chair looking straight down over your food. (Tripods work great for this.) Some of my best photos have been taken while kneeling on the floor and looking directly at the food. Also avoid the temptation of getting too close or framing your photo too tight. As lovely as the frosting is melting into a cinnamon roll, cropping in too close will only leave people confused at what they are looking at.
Tomatoes and a sprig of fresh basil was all the props this photo of Tomato Almond Pesto needed.
9. Pay attention to visual noise.
As important as the food is, what is going on around the photo is equally as important. Are you seeing a chair in the background? Did you get a little bit of the window in the shot? Sometimes this can work, most times it doesn’t. As I mentioned earlier, foam core makes a great, inexpensive background. Find some beautiful old cutting boards to set your food on and a good set of simple dishes. Keep the plate clean and pay attention to the details. This seems logical enough. But let me tell you, there is nothing worse than taking 50 photos only to see a smudge of sauce on the plate that ended up in every single shot. Study the image carefully through the viewfinder and try to see the image as you would see the final photograph. Is there a stray crumb on the plate? Did a long strand of melted cheese get left hanging off the side? Is the food so hot that it is still steaming? All these things will end up ruining a shot.
10. Finally, take lots of shots and edit your photos.
Don’t trust your little LCD screen. I never truly know how my photos are going to look until I upload them onto my computer and take a closer look. Take more shots than you think is necessary and then take some more. I can take loads of shots and sometimes only get one that works. With each shot, play with the lighting; adjust the ISO and the f-stop. Learn what works and what doesn’t. My husband, an art director and artist himself, always says the best photographers don’t have to rely on computer software to adjust the exposure and color of a photo. Well, I’m not at that level yet and the editing tools on my computer can really come in handy, as long as I use them in moderation. Using the cropping feature can be very helpful too. Get rid of what is not necessary. Brighten up your photos by adjusting the light if they are slightly too dim. Be careful not to get carried away or you can blow out the highlights of the photo.
To sum everything up in three words: practice makes perfect. Be inspired by other photographers and learn from them. Great sites to look at beautiful food are Foodgawker, Pinterest and TasteSpotting. Look at the different ways people are photographing food and learn from them.
As your photography begins to improve, don’t forget to go back and re-photograph some of your old photos that are less-than-stellar. It’ll give you an excuse to make an old favorite recipe or indulge yourself!
Here are a few more great recipes and images from Jenni:
About the blogger:
Jenni Fleener is the creator, photographer and chef behind A Little Bit Crunchy A Little Bit Rock and Roll. She has had a passion for cooking since she was a child. Forget Saturday morning cartoons, Jenni was watching Julia Child. In high school, she would pour over Rolling Stone and cooking magazines. In college art school, she would come home from the design studio to prepare homemade bread â€¦read more about Jenni on her Featured Foodie profile on RecipeLion.