Every one of us is drooling over a good photo of goodies. Some of the photos also evoke subconscious feelings or evoke distant memories. We remember, for example, our childhood, a visit to our grandmother, a table where she served us delicious homemade cookies or pastries … Well, in fact, the purpose of good (especially commercial) photography is to arouse in a person a whole set of positive feelings that have their own purpose – to identify with the image and ultimately buy the goods they offer us. Of course, this is done in a sophisticated way, and with a good photo of food, we can enjoy it just as we would actually eat it. Because the visual impact of food is so important, food photography has become an art that can compete with top-notch cooking. As with the latter, it is also with photography that it is necessary to know quite a few basic rules, and when we master them to the craft of perfection, we can dedicate ourselves to creativity. But I will write about this in some other post, here I would like to present just a few tips that do not require too much energy and which can improve your food photos without undue effort. In general, this can be divided into two areas, which in commercial photography often require two people. The first is the photographer, who has control over the lighting, shooting angle, etc. The other is the arranger, who prepares the food to look delicious and attractive, and makes sure that the scene is always the way the client wants it. The roles here are sometimes a bit mixed up, but in our case we are going to bring all these people together into one person – you. So what to do to improve your photos, whether you are a little more ambitious in photographing home-made delicacies or you would like to capture a tempting and delicious meal in a restaurant with your mobile phone.
1. Create a scene
Of course, when photographing food in a restaurant you are quite limited in this regard, but there is something you can still do, you can remove distracting elements you do not want in the picture, possibly arrange a plate, salt shaker, utensils in the composition you want, choose as photography. All of the above also applies to the home environment, but you probably have a little more options and time there, because you may not be harassed by friends who would rush after dinner, and you move things around the table. Include everything you need in the composition to make the scene look natural, pay attention to details such as lines of accessories, auxiliary objects such as napkins … above all, try to capture in the picture itself a sense of what the main object is and that the scene is subordinate to it. . Let’s use a light or dark scene, I’ll write about that a little below.
When photographing food, you can use the “from above” principle and capture the image completely from the top, there you don’t have to worry about selective sharpness, but you can focus more on the arrangement of the elements yourself. Another way of capturing or shooting angle is, of course, classic – that is, to stand somewhere 30-45 degrees from the plane. Here you have more options with SLR cameras, because they have shallow depth of field when the aperture is open, and in this way you can well isolate the main object from the auxiliary ones. More basic compacts or mobile cameras usually do not allow this to such an extent and are more suitable for shooting “from above”. But this is not the rule.
Get closer to the facility! Do not bother to narrow the field of view, nowhere does it say that the photo must be a whole plate or cup from edge to edge. This also avoids unwanted things in the background, and the closer the sharpness, the sharper the depth of field, making it easier to isolate and emphasize the main subject.
Daylight is great for food photography, especially if you have a work surface or table near a window. Strong and direct sunlight is of course too hard, so in such a case we cover the window with a curtain that lets in most of the light, but above all it softens it so that the shadows are not so sharp. If we want food to look tasty and attractive, we need to emphasize its structure. In practice, this means that the light mostly falls from behind. Once we have conquered this, we can opt for a dark or light scene. With the latter, we try to have the surroundings as light as possible and the background is also very bright, in fact in many cases quite white and too bright. The viewer’s attention here is on the difference between the object and its colors and the whiteness that surrounds it. In a dark scene, we want everything in darker tones, only the object is partially illuminated and the focus is on the illumination of this object. This lighting is more appropriate for a scene that has a more rustic principle.