A beautiful image of a dish has the power to make whoever looking at it salivate and crave for it, so if you want the images of your food to have that power, here are a few tips and tricks to help you get there with just your phone camera!
Au naturel light source; your best friend
Whether you’re photographing your food for a new menu or your restaurant’s social media pages, the first (and arguably the most important) thing you need is LIGHT. No, we’re not talking about fancy LED softbox lights, we’re talking about good ol’ natural sunlight! All you need is a window, a sunny day and trust us, your food will be looking so good even you’d want to dig in right there and then!
If your light source is only coming from one direction, use a reflector or white boards to bounce the light from your light source back onto the other sides of your dish.
(Use white boards to reflect sunlight that is coming from one direction back onto your dish)
It’s all in the details; take your time with styling
Sure, you’ve plated your dish beautifully but whether your shot is able to evoke emotion boils down to the styling! Tell your food story by adding raw ingredients that make up the dish, textured backdrops and other kitchenware to add depth and dimension. You may not be able to get it right on your first try and that’s perfectly fine! Even professionals get the perfect shot through trial and error so be patient, experiment with different placements of things and most of all, have fun!
(Use raw ingredients, garnishes, cloths and kitchenware to tell your food story)
The trinity of angles; different angles, different results
When it comes to angles, it’s certainly not “one size fits all”. Not all types of food will look good from the same angle so consider what type of food you’re photographing. Here are the three main angles to consider:
1. Straight on – For food with height, layers and details on the side like burgers, sandwiches or a stack of pancakes.
(Go straight on (or even lower) to show the full height of your dish and what it’s made up of)
2. From above – Also known as a flatlay or bird’s eye view. Suitable for when the main focus of your dish the toppings, like a pizza or a beautifully decorated smoothie bowl. A carefully arranged tablescape looks good from the top too!
(Shoot from above to show the carefully arranged toppings)
3. 45-degrees (or anything in between ‘straight on’ and ‘from above’) – About the same perspective that people see when they eat food. A flexible and fluid angle commonly used for commercial food photography.
(45-degree allows you to add props to your shot to tell your story without taking the attention away from your main dish)
Bokehlicious; try Portrait mode
‘Bokeh’ is the soft out-of-focus effect you get in the background of your subject; this allows you to draw even more attention to the main star of your photo, your dish! Professionals use a lens with a wide aperture to achieve nice but the good news is you can now have a ‘bokehlicious’ photo of your dish using the portrait feature on your phone camera! Just switch to the ‘Portrait’ mode on your phone camera, tap to focus on your dish and let the camera work its magic!
You can also use mobile editing apps to blur our the background easily. You can use Instagram’s built-in features to do so.
(Use portrait mode to achieve a blur background draw all the attention to your subject)
Just like everything, photographing food requires patience and practice so pick up your phone or camera and start shooting!
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