November 25, 2015

How To Take Better Food Photos: 5 Simple Secrets


As much as it flatters me when I get emails asking for advice about food photography, I rarely have a good response. I don’t think of myself as a real photographer, I never learned accepted techniques. If you like my photos, you’ll probably agree you can get far without this information, though I suspect you could get further with it.”  Taha Ahmed, Ace Instagrammer 

Do you take pictures of your food? Is it impossible for you to dig into meal without a photo or two? Do you drool over those gorgeous, splashy images that are all over Instagram? Ever wished you could take such mouthwatering shots? 

Me too!

For most of us, our photography skills are a perpetual work in progress and I, for one, am always looking for pointers to up my food photo game. This time, I stalked, ace Instgrammer, Taha Ahmed, and asked him for his top tip and tricks. 

BTW, even though he doesn’t exclusively photograph edibles, Taha’s images are so clean and beautifully composed, it’s easy to fangirl over his feed. In other words, in case you haven’t had a chance to check out his work, do it now!

Taha's Instagram feed is to die for and definitely worth following!
To demonstrate the difference his advice makes, I used my iPhone 6 to take before and after photos using each of his suggestions. The results speak for themselves. 

So, let’s get started!

#1 IT'S ALL ABOUT THE LIGHT

Lighting can dramatically effect how a photo turns out and I always recommend shooting in natural light. It usually results in a soft glow with just enough shadows and details to give an image depth. So, I’d encourage beginners to try and be aware of which direction the light is coming from, its intensity, and how it hits the food, and then learn to adjust according to those conditions. To avoid stark lines and harsh shadows, don’t place food in direct sunlight. Do NOT use the built-in flash on your camera. Ever!


#2 MOVE AROUND

Try taking photos from multiple angles. Depending on the food you’ll be photographing, some plates look better from above, others from the side,  some at a 45-degree angle, and others at eye level. Try moving around the plate and taking photos at different angles so you can pick your favorite later.


#3 COMPLICATED CAMERAS ARE OVERRATED

A pricey, complicated camera does not guarantee appealing food photos. The secret to striking photographs is the photographer’s vision. A camera isn’t a substitute for talent or creativity. It’s just another tool to help you capture and share your art with the world. In fact, if you use it well, it’s completely possible to get by with just the camera on your phone. People constantly ask me which camera I use. Surprise, it’s not a dSLR! I use my iPhone 4. 


#4 PLAY WITH PROPS

Including simple elements such a unique plates, beautiful cutlery, or even some of the raw ingredients featured in your recipe, adds visual interest and creates the mood of a photo. Having said that, steer clear of excessive, unnecessary  clutter.


#5 POLISH YOUR PHOTOS

Edit your images. In an ideal world, every image would turn out with perfect exposure, gorgeous colors, and zero imperfections. Since that’s not the case, I use Adobe Lightroom and the VSCO Cam app to edit and organize my photos. I don’t know what I would do without them! Photoshop is an option, but I prefer these programs because they keep my files sorted and easy to find, they provide exceptional control over exposure and other technical adjustments, and they’re significantly cheaper.



So there you have it. No fuss, no frills. Just 5 simple and effective steps for taking fabulous food photos. Definitely give them a shot and let me know how it turns out. 

Until next time, kittens, strike a pose!

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