Taking pictures of food can be a great exercise for any photographer. The subjects are still, you shoot in a controlled environment, and you usually have all the time in the world to take the shots. You can experiment with many types of food, backgrounds and focus points. In this post today, I want to go over a couple of tips for shooting food, and give you some examples from my own catalog of food photography.

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1. Use a Natural Light Source

This is the most common tip you will come across when someone talks about taking images of food. But it's crucial, so I will have to repeat it again here. Using a strong light source (like a window) from one side of the subject is only the first step. I actually like to bounce off that light to the other side where the light is not coming from. You don't need any special equipment for that. Use a big sheet of white paper and bounce the light that comes from the windows and reflect it on the opposite side of the food. For example: in this shot above the natural light source comes from the left side, the white paper is on the right side of the frame, bouncing the light back to the tomatoes on the right side.

2. Try Shooting From Above

Mostly you will shoot the food straight ahead. One other option I like to use is shooting form above. For round objects (like pans or plates) I usually have them on one side of the shot, and let the round shape come in from one side and curve out on another one, like in the shot above. You can also arrange different foods and shoot from up above, play with table clothes, cutlery, candles and other objects that you find on the table.

3. Shoot the Progress

Taking a shot of the finished product is great, but having some in-betweens can also be exciting. I love shooting the process of making the food, and you can arrange it into a collage, or simply, take some shots of dough being kneaded, creams being stirred or liquids being poured. It creates some dynamic in an otherwise still world of food photography.

4. Watch your Backgrounds

So this is really important. You usually shoot at a low f-stop number on your camera like 1.8 (Tipp: The inexpensive Canon 50mm 1.8 lens is great for food photography). This creates a nice blurred background. But the blurry background has to be in tone with the part that is in focus. Try to match the tones of the background with the colors in the foreground. For example: In the shot above I used brown glass vases to echo the beige colors of the chocolate cheesecake. Don't shoot busy or crowded backgrounds, since that will distract from the food.

5. Try Shooting Wide

When shooting food you will usually go for a close-up. That is all good and the way it has to be usually. But mixing it up can be interesting as well. Showing the food from a wider angle shows the world in which the food sits in. Of course the food still has to be in focus of the shot and the main player.

If you have any further questions, let me know in the comments below.

You can also find the recipes from the images under these links:
Creamy Pasta with Homemade Marinara Sauce
The Sunny Morning Cocktail
Three Layer Chocolate Cheesecake
Chocolate Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting
or click here to view all Recipe posts.


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