Food (Photography) for Thought


The Holidays are coming and we all know what that means: great food! Who can resist taking pictures of those great dishes. But how do we make those pictures look as tasty as the real thing?

Credits: stratski

I’ve always enjoyed paging through cook books and food magazines to stare at the gorgeous pictures of food. When I make those dishes, they never seem to come out quite as beautiful as those in the pictures, but oh well. The rise of Instagram and the likes have made food photography even more popular. But how to achieve those tasty looking pics? Here are a few short tips:

Natural colors
I find that food looks most yummy in pictures if you use fairly natural colors, so color negative film will often work best. Some cross processed film may work as well, but I’d advise film without too much of a color shift.

Credits: stratski
This looked really good in real life…

The best way to achieve natural looking color is to use natural light. You could go outside but you need to avoid direct sunlight. It’s usually too harsh and will bleach the colors. If your local climate won’t allow that right now, find a window without direct sunlight.

First picture: harsh outdoor light. Second picture: more subdued light next to a window.

You can use artificial lighting as well, of course. But be careful not to flash your food to death (that can happen fast when you’re using a point and shoot with integrated flash.)

These eggs were flashed to death.

Mind the background
Try to frame your shot to exclude all background clutter. Nice wooden cutting boards and pieces of fabric make excellent backgrounds to food. You can also use a bit of foreign newspaper if you’re cooking up something exotic. And use your prettiest crockery. You can shoot from above to exclude the background altogether or open up your diaphragm to blur it. Option number three: include your kitchen, but make sure there’s no unwanted pile of dirty dishes or crummy packaging in frame.

Cluttered background vs. uncluttered background

Other stuff you might want to include: some of the ingredients of your dish like raw vegetables, bundles of herbs and bowls of spices. Your grandma’s silver cutlery. That pretty little vintage teapot.

Get closer
Remember Golden Rule no. 5: Approach the objects of your Lomographic desire as close as possible. Get the close-up lens or filter out and dive into that plate.

The first pic looks okay but when I got closer, it looked much better.

Don’t have a close-up lens? Unscrew your standard lens and try some free lensing, it works great with food photography.

Credits: stratski

Focus on the ingredients
Not a great cook, but still want to try food photography? Focus on the ingredients. Raw vegetables, spices and stuff like that look good on pictures. Incidentally, this works great in black and white as well.

Credits: stratski

Last, but not least: enjoy your food!

Credits: stratski

written by stratski on 2013-12-04 #gear #tutorials #food #light #eating #tipster #culinary #requested #food-photography

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