Just like us, many of you out there are lovers of the culinary art. Food, as we believe, is not just to satiate hunger pangs – right from choosing ingredients, to the process of making, the mixing of colours and the final arrangement on the table, food photography is the art that celebrates it all. We are all quite adept when it comes to food photography, but often, we end up wishing we could take even better photographs. With that in mind, we list out five key things that you can abide by, to ace your food photography ventures.
Keep your photographs bright
We often find dark tones as a good way to accentuate shadows and textures in our photographs. For food, though, keep it as bright as possible. The essence of food is best captured when you present it in a bright, jaunty way. Make sure the surroundings of your table is well lit, and tune your camera settings to wide aperture to shoot your food photographs. This will allow for maximum light in your photograph, which in turn makes the plate look bright and vibrant!
Nothing is as important as keeping your plate in sharp focus. If you are shooting with a dedicated camera, ensure that you shoot at the widest aperture possible. This will ensure that you get decently soft backgrounds to the food platter, that should remain sharply in focus. You should also ideally invest in a fast, wide angle lens with max aperture of f/2.8 or lesser, which aids in creating perfectly round bokehs on the background of your platter.
Do not clutter your frame
We often tend to include too many items in our frames. We say, don’t! Cluttering the frame of the picture-perfect platter means taking the attention away from the star attraction of the photograph – the food that you are shooting. Leave some breathing space around the subject of your photos, which allows the viewer to directly notice what’s on your table, and not glance over the multiple elements on it.
For vibrant colours
Food photography is a celebration of thousands of colour shades, and it is very important to retain colour shades in your photographs. While smartphone cameras do not allow extensive manual controls, try shooting in HDR mode to get an added tinge of saturation and contrast to the photograph. This should make the items on your plate really pop out, adding more to the irresistible charm of a well-laid-out platter. For DSLRs, set Picture Control to Flat, and post-process your photographs to adjust the colours to your preference. Add extra tinges of yellow, red and other warmer shades to make your photograph more endearing.
The rule of thirds
A rule that extends across all forms of photography, follow the rule of thirds to derive the best possible photographs. Use the grid on your camera’s viewfinder to divide your frame into nine sections, and use the interjecting points of the grid to frame your photographs. Ideally, leave the upper rectangles empty or with blurred backgrounds to give your photographs a sense of space. Bring your subject closer to the camera and place it around the bottom corners, and see how the symmetry spells out. Following the rule of thirds can be particularly beneficial when you somehow have to shoot in a cluttered environment, because nothing helps focus on the subject of your photograph than this.
You can also choose to place your platter at the dead centre of your frame, but try to ensure that you are shooting against a hard, contrasting background. For instance, if you have lots of red and yellow items arranged on a white platter, shoot it against a dark mahogany table with black inserts to make the most of your frame.
These surely sound simple, and you should use these too, to ace your food photographs. The next time when you go out and shoot, ensure that the photographs literally bring out the essence of that delectable platter, with these easy steps!