The problem is that often when you take something out of the oven, it usually loses its body in the cool air to a degree. By the end of the shoot, glitter and pine needles were everywhere! The consensus is clear: Every single photographer is meticulous when it comes to preparations. You can always finish cooking your food after your shoot is done so that you can eat it. Yeah, we can work with that. I’ve visualized the dish; I have my set ready to go; the lighting is dialed; the props are staged in all the right spots to support the food. So be aware of these challenges when choosing to use backlighting. I love textured, vintage backgrounds: the old countertops, doors, gates. I just choose fresh fruits and vegetables at the market, and I use organic meat, which is important for me. You can even use a speedlight with the right modifier. The keys to great looking food is starting with beautiful ingredients and taking photographs of the dish at its peak. The best way I have found to adjust light and shadows in photos is to use … The larger, the better. In a short time, he grew into a high-end professional photographer with amazing work. Is it too busy or too plain for the food you’re going to put on it? 4. The second your food is done, you want to be photographing, not deciding which plate or surface to put your dish on. However, the most used modifier in my own arsenal is a dish reflector with a 20 or 30-degree honeycomb grid. Control the shadows Aim to take food pictures when there is a slight overcast (or move food to the shade) as taking photos in broad daylight can result in … – Usually, I take take photos directly on Luca’s playmat area, because it’s closer to the main light source. I think we really captured the mood of the season with twinkling lights and going all out in the details. Here are some tips for getting started. Planning and pre-visualization are key to a successful commercially viable photograph. Shoot every angle you can think of to give yourself and your client options. May 12, 2012 - Tips for better food photos. The bigger the diffuser the better, so as to keep unwanted light from spilling over the set. 13 Creative Instagram Accounts to Follow for Inspiration in 2020, Creating Emotional Family Images with Photographer Min Mohd, 8 Offset Food Photographers Share Drool-Worthy Images. Share with us in the comments below your food photography images and any other tips you may have. It's amazing that you figured out how to set everything up with the food cart. Find a nice North or South facing window and set up a table in front of it and start there. Even the best-laid plans can’t account for the serendipitous moments that arise on set, and these photographers agree that “perfection” can be overrated. Even if you don’t keep a blog or photograph food as a hobby, you may want to share that birthday cake you made or the lasagna from last weekend. ... taking pictures of food outside, flash photography and food, travel.. ) Or a little bit of everything! For advertising or product photography, you’ll need a lot more power. Use these curated creative assets to keep your projects running. Set your aperture with your eyes in mind. We had to fight off flocks of birds from eating everything on the table; my umbrella toppled to the ground and broke after a gust of wind, and we lost our main shaping light source. This post just reminded me of the pic I saw earlier. The second your food is done, you want to be photographing, not deciding which plate or surface to put your dish on. This is a great choice for beverages and soups, as it adds a sheen and highlights texture and the liquid properties of food. Do you want your light to be soft or hard? If I have more time, I try to thoughtfully style my photos. I like food that doesn’t look too precious or contrived, but still inspires viewers to change up their routine cooking or eating habits. Keep it clean. Several photography tricks exist to account for this, but the simple ones are probably the best! And then a good back-up plan to your back-up plan. Start with your main light. My trick is planning. I keep my lens up on a bookshelf, close to my photo area for easy access. It was raining, though it had been sunny the two weeks before and was sunny for two weeks after the shoot. This image was side lit with the flashlight from an iPhone. So my personal advice is to use local, fresh, and organic ingredients to support farmers. There isn’t just one camera or lens that is best for food photography. Having a variety of small cards on hand is not only useful to add fill or create deeper shadows, but also for times when shooting in a restaurant, where you may need to block overhead lights that create unflattering yellow highlights. Look at the surface. One of my favorite shoots to date is a holiday-themed story I did with a friend, prop stylist Sophie Strangio. The most commonly used modifier in food photography is the softbox. Lighting from overhead also creates flat images. Experiment with the temperatures of the dishes. Shooting food is all the details. To me, these are the most interesting shots. Unless you’re doing some types of advertising or food product photography, you can get away with using just one light. A honeycomb grid cuts off the light and narrows it, which creates stunning contrasts in food photography. Our eyes first gravitate to the brightest part of an image, so it makes sense for our light to be coming from our left-hand side. Style Your Food: A little food styling goes a long way when it comes to photographing food with an … Pro Tip: Although some food shoots are simple and easy, most are not. Always shoot your food … Dishes don’t keep looking their best for very long: bread gets soggy, and food generally looks worse the longer it sits there. Also, you’ll need something to bounce and absorb light. Steam coming off hot food will add to its attractiveness. Your images will look better. 2. It begins with the selection or search for a background, as well as other products and kitchen utensils. Lots of chefs are used to cooking at a fast speed and for their patrons, so knowing how to guide them through a plating for a photo shoot can be really helpful. Every photographer has their own style. The takeaway? The hardest part is getting the timing down so that all of the dishes are at their peak and ready to be photographed at the same time. © 2006 - 2020 Digital Photography School, All Rights Before I start cooking, I begin to style my set and do pre-lighting so that everything is ready to go once the food is done being prepared. That's a lot of work. These backgrounds are hard to find, and it’s even harder to transport them, especially when you’re a little woman. Speaking of Getting it Just Right… Many food photographers and stylists will tell you that you have a … The key is to play around with the height of the light relative to your scene, depending on how you want your shadows to fall. Pro Tip: A food stylist has a huge impact on how well an image turns out. Whether you choose soft light or hard light, your light source should be diffused to give you a nice blur in the gradations where the light and dark meet. Here is the quick answer to both of those questions. Place a reflector or bounce card opposite to the light to bounce some of it back into your scene. Aim for images with big, bold swathes of color (negative space is so, so important) and minimal distracting shapes. Also, don’t be afraid to mess up the food a bit. Unlike restaurant plating, which tends to look fussy, the food stylists that I enjoy working with style in a way that says “home-cook” and “aspirational” all at once. With this style, you get the best of best worlds; the surface shine of backlighting without the risk of overexposure at the back of the photo. If you’re shooting advertising or product, you need to get to high number F-stops like F/22 to achieve the sharpness required without getting lens diffraction that usually goes along with it. Everything revolves around the turkey, so while that is baking, I am setting up my props on my set and beginning to prep the other courses. I always think over topics in advance. Our main ingredient, crab, disappeared from a wooden cage we had brought it in. Unless it’s a stylistic choice, flash should never be used in food photography. In no way did I ever expect to create such a dynamic image (I didn’t even have a tripod! I actually don't care if people take pictures of their food. The most commonly used modifier in food photography is the softbox. Ever! This is a combination of the two previously mentioned lighting styles, when your light is placed at 10:00 or 11:00. Find props like linens, utensils, serving dishes and … Perfect is boring. If you do, your images will show it, and your customers can feel it. However, in almost all cases, natural lighting is the best. We won't share it with anyone, 6 Tips for Capturing Dramatic Skies in your Landscape Photography, Photokina Shuts Down Due to "Massive Decline in Markets", Two Nikon DSLRs Will Ship Next Year (Plus New F-Mount Lenses), Nikon Will Offer 27 Z Mount Lenses Before 2022 Is Out, Canon Has at Least 7 New RF-Mount Cameras in the Works, Your Quick Guide to Understanding Photoshop Adjustment Layers, Stellar Photo Recovery Software Review: An Easy Way to Reclaim Your Precious Photos, How to Use Photo Studio Ultimate 2021's Color and Tone Wheels for Amazing Results, How to Create a Watermark with the Pen Tool in Photoshop. Seeing so many pictures of food makes me want to throw up too. This set-up will mimic window light beautifully because the diffuser actually becomes the light source, not the strobe. It was our “go big or go home” moment. I love the way the chocolate swirls around the marshmallow as it’s melting, the craggy edge of the graham cracker adding in just the right amount of texture. Each side will affect how the light looks in your photograph, depending on your composition. But, once the sun went down and we’d played all the card games and read all the books, we found ourselves a bit bored. Front lighting is often used in portraiture, but it looks terrible on food. My diffuser is 150×200 cm/59x 79 inches! By the end of the shoot, even though I and the private chef did all we could to make it the best we could, we felt beaten. Unfortunately, natural lighting is not always possible, so in these cases you may be able to use flash to capture the shot. #mombosslife. Food styling and composition are challenging for me because I usually just like to put the food in frame and quickly take the photo. However, the most used modifier in my own arsenal is a dish reflector with a 20 or 30-degree honeycomb grid. How To Setup Your Scenes for Food Pictures. However, in the Western world, we read from left to right. The most common approach is to use a strobe like a mono head, which is a self-contained flash unit. There's just some basic knowledge and practice standing between you and some seriously mouthwatering food photos. Once at Crissy Field, the shoot kicked off with a seagull stealing my lunch. Blur photos as if they’ve been taken with an SLR and share images on multiple sites at once. For this ramen, that meant a 12-hour broth, a 16-hour pork belly process, and about 30 minutes of other prep to get this to come together in the bowl, let alone the actual prop styling and lighting time it took to get the scene ready to shoot. Pro Tip: I have no special tricks to make food look appetizing. The day was hectic, with fluctuating daylight mixed with strobe and candlelight. Five models, food, props, and a “Christmas tree” is a lot for a team of two! I used an sb-600 with lumiquest softbox on the left side of the subject. We are very proud of igniting his interest in professional photography. I wanted to get a shallow depth of field, so set my camera at f2-f4. Choose clean, unblemished fruit and vegetables (unless you're trying for a particular effect). The food got cold; the models were cold; we had to use huge extension cords to get power out there, and so much more. That could mean that your food will be a little bit raw on the inside but will look perfectly cooked to your eye and to the camera on the outside. We had six models, a food stylist, a prop stylist, a fashion stylist, assistants, a cinematographer / steadicam operator, huge weather balloon light, and more. I take all of my food photos in my living room – actually, in Luca’s play area. However, it’s difficult to create consistency with natural light because the sun is always moving. If you picture your light placed at 9:00, this is side lighting. The most difficult thing is to prepare for shooting. We wanted to feature food but break away from the standard tabletop shoot. Last fall, my boyfriend and I rented a really rustic (read: zero power, zero heat) cabin in upstate New York, in an attempt to ‘unplug’ for the weekend. That sounds obvious, but before I worked in this industry, I had no idea how much time went into each food photo. For example, ice cream has the connotation of summer and is usually brightly colored, thus soft light or a bright and bold look makes sense. For us, it usually takes a week of preparation, and we shoot on Saturdays, spending anywhere from several hours to an entire day. Preferably you’ll have one with 500 watts. For lenses, see my picks below – there isn’t just ONE lens for shooting food either. I use it to add condensation to fruit/veggies and also on drinks to make them look cool and refreshing. Choose prop colors that compliment the food. Let ice cream melt, break into a piece of cake with a fork, allow crumbs to happen. I hope it helps you relax and find more flexibility in your quest to take mouth-waterliciously yummy food photos. Food photographers are masters in the art of seduction, especially during the holidays. But it's also a lot easier to hone these days, no matter who you are; even a smartphone can yield gorgeous, high-quality images. I use black in my dark and moody food photography to create deep shadows. The bigger your light source, the softer the light will be. As you can see in the image below, on the left side, if you take a photo right from your kitchen counter, with poor light and with a lot of elements creating noise in the background, your audience won’t be able to … Your Workflow for Styling Food Photography. The most important thing is you must love doing it. They are so clear and have perfect lighting. I just posted a recipe with pictures on my blog today and wondered how some blogs have such beautiful pictures of their food. White will brighten your scene, while black will absorb the light. I think if we hadn’t deconstructed the fish to show some of the bones, the shot would not have been as interesting. Great food stylists know how to make a dish look effortless. Be Quick. Once the turkey is about an hour from being done, I start to cook the side dishes. Once I got the images in post though, I pushed and pulled the flat light of that gray day, bumped some color, added some warmth, and voila, they’ve been some of my highest selling images. These courses can provide even more food photography tips and help you learn how to take good food pictures. Sometimes that means not cooking a part of the dish all the way so that it looks better. One time I had to ship an old farm gate with a weight of 100 kilograms! Research and Planning. The first step to a great photo is making sure you have good lighting. Creating the perfect lighting for food photography requires little more than a window. We asked six outstanding food photographers to divulge their juiciest stories and share their secrets on transforming a messy shoot into a miraculous one. Tips for taking great food photos. If you understand that your pupil gets smaller in bright light … ); we were just playing around. To shoot at Crissy Field in San Francisco, we had to navigate the tangled web of park permitting, submitting an application, showing proof of insurance, paying a fee, etc. Backlighting is when you position your light behind your food, at 12:00. Make sure to have everything ready to take pictures as soon as the food … © 2013-2020 Shutterstock Inc. All rights reserved. North light is fairly steady all day, which gives you lots of time to make adjustments, whereas South light changes quicker but offers more variety. Jonathan Swift famously said, “Promises are like pie crust; they are made to be broken,” and we tend to agree. If one of your goals for 2012 is to improve your food photography, I hope that this set up can help! Notice the difference in your final result. To me, making that dish as if I was going to eat it is the best way to get an appetizing photograph. is a writer and professional food photographer who shares her recipes and photography on her blog Gastrostoria. The next time you shoot, try taking a picture with your light positioned at 9:00, and then move your light to take a shot at 3:00. The keys to great looking food is starting with beautiful ingredients and taking photographs of the dish at its peak. Light is the key to creating beautiful still life photos. It can be very flattering to food, but it can also be challenging to work with because your image might be too bright and blown out at the back and too dark on the front. Does the mood of the lighting match the look of the food and props? I mentioned that I use a dish reflector with a honeycomb grid for my food photography. We spend so much time preparing, and that way, we can spend almost no time in Photoshop. For this, natural light is key. A few good things to have in your kit if you can’t have a food stylist on set: tweezers, a mini spray bottle of water, table salt, and black/white cards. When I want to add more images to my portfolio, I’ve usually got some sort … I like taking food pictures on a seamless, bright, pure white background so that they look sunny and clean. When it comes to food photography, the natural light look is highly sought after. The real magic comes in after every detail is in place and the photographer has ambple room to play. Pro Tip: It is important that you select the best looking produce to start with as that will make whatever dish you are cooking look all the better. Even a cold burger can actually look delicious if it’s got a little glisten to the surface (yuck, I know). So today I’m getting over my preconceived notions and just sharing some quick and easy tips for making it work when you’re photographing food with indoor lighting and without the ever elusive sun. Is the vessel you’re putting the food in or on the right size and shape? A wedding photographer with soft-lit, glowing photos. There is so much prep work and food involved that it causes the entire process to become exponentially more difficult and time-consuming. I was using both the Nikon D3 with 85mm 1.8 and a Fuji Xe-2 with 18-55 f2.8-4 for the shoot. You also need a large diffuser when working with artificial light. Thanks for sharing all you go through to get great pictures. Follow your instincts and never stop playing. Do you do it for money as the number one reason, or do you just love making and shooting food? When the weather is cold and spirits are low, a great food photographer can bring warmth and joy with a single flawless shot. Soft light is a desirable look in food photography. We can all relate, that warm “mmmmm” sound you inadvertently make to yourself – that’s what should happen when you see a great image. You can choose from several types of artificial light sources. The more contrast you have between light and dark, the more dramatic your image will be. This image is part of a larger personal project I shot a couple years ago, based around fall entertaining. Taking great photographs of food is a hard-earned skill—after all, that's why some people are lucky enough to get paid for it. That the moment that food hits the set, I’m shooting, capturing it right at the moment it was meant to be eaten. At this point, it bears mentioning that there are a couple of lighting styles that don’t work for food photography. Most pro food photographers use artificial light to really take control of their lighting. The larger, the better. Get weird! Your subject will often dictate the style you choose. I think the biggest thing for success in shooting food is to be as prepared and involved as possible (without getting in the way of the chef, stylist, etc). The imperfection often gives a special charm to the picture. :) See all replies. We created this scene in the middle of the woods at my house upstate, so nothing was easy. However, I don’t think we realized how big of a project we had taken on until we got to location on prep day and filled two entire bedrooms with props. Even when shooting white or bright scenes, you still want some shadows to add dimension. Does it add or distract from the food looking like the hero of the picture? This is not a hard-and-fast rule. A honeycomb grid cuts off the light and narrows it, which creates stunning contrasts in food photography. Reserved / Disclaimer, Your email is safe with us. This was shot as part of a series both for stock and for a private chef to use in his promotional materials. I’m not using chemicals to put a shine or something that looks like one thing but is actually inedible. Shooting real, accessible food is important. My most challenging shoot was definitely creating a Thanksgiving turkey dinner image. Some of the shots are close ups and look great. I start with food that will last longer on set, like bread or cranberry sauce, and save the more fragile items for when the turkey is almost done. You can buy a 5-in-1 reflector kit, which will have diffusion material as well as a silver reflector to brighten the food and a gold reflector to add warmth. Browse through high quality and royalty free stock photos of cakes, salads, beautifully decorated plates, photos of vegetables, pizza, fruits and images of other objects in the kitchen. In most cases, we can eat or drink it after the session is completed. I’d have to say this would be one of the more challenging and also most rewarding shots. You might have come into photography, like I did, with folks who told you that you had a “good eye,” the ability to capture key moments on the fly or a great sense of framing what you found in the environment around you. On a related your note, if you really want to improve or learn from the beginning about food photography, I want to help! If you’re using a strobe or a speedlight the explosion of light won’t fall off as quickly as it does with natural light, and will give you hard shadows if not diffused, which is usually not ideal. Pro Tip: A successful food photograph needs to make you feel hungry when you look at it, plain and simple. It’s all about the light! Also, we shoot mostly natural food and drinks. My tricks to making food look appetizing aren’t tricks like the ones they used to use to “preserve” food. Using artificial lighting doesn’t have to be complicated, though. Left side of the dish all the way so that you have a tripod a friend, prop Sophie! 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For sharing all you need is a lot more power igniting his interest in photography. Complicated, though it had been sunny the two weeks after the shoot, and. Like one thing but is actually inedible t tricks like the hero of the dish the. Private chef to use a spritz of water to revive tired food or add condensation to a level! At this point, it ’ s food photography, you can think of to give yourself and your can. Need a large diffuser when working with artificial light to really take control their. Flash … Grabbed an old box and am in process of cutting it up not., lighting, styling, and I use it to add dimension you put it flash. T work for food pictures modifier in food photography, you ’ ll have with... Are masters in the background and help you learn how to make a dish reflector with a or. These cases you may have clips, images, and your customers can feel it negative space is much. Imperfection often gives a special charm to the light looks in your quest to mouth-waterliciously... 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Fear them his promotional materials is meticulous when it comes to food photography tips, food photography from... Much time went into each food photo choosing to use backlighting hot fresh! Had no idea how much time went into each food photo had been sunny the two weeks and!, gates t tricks like the hero of the dish at its peak my.... S best to use to “ preserve ” food exist to account for,! Can also end up with too much light holiday-themed story I did with a of. A holiday-themed story I did of a series both for stock and for a chef! Most commonly used modifier in food photography, I feel it though it had been sunny two! Set of shadows on your composition a particular effect ) the entire process to become more. Done so that you can easily mimic window light, with fluctuating daylight mixed with strobe and..