Nowadays, everyone loves taking pictures of their food, whether it’s fiddling with filters to enhance images, or using special lenses for professional results - before actually digging in and enjoying a meal. But according to Foodpanda, there are several even simpler tips to ensure masterful food photos without having to buy professional gadgets!
Considered to be most important factor
It’s pretty difficult to pinpoint ‘the most important’ aspect to consider when taking photos of food, because a good photo depends on many factors, from lighting and technique to having an aesthetic eye, and of course the food itself. However, one of the most important things to consider is authenticity and to stay true to your individual style. Once you have your own style, you should stick to it, as it will serve as an expression of your personality.
All possible with smartphones
You can certainly achieve all of this with your smartphone! Having a professional camera has great benefits, but you are definitely not limited with a smartphone. If you know what factors to consider when taking pictures, you are guaranteed professional-looking images. You can also always edit pictures with the help of white balance settings or playing with one of the countless photography apps.
Use ingredients as props
It doesn’t cross most people’s minds, but the contents of the dish do play a role in photos. There are many dishes that don’t photograph well, so you need to consider adding fresh ingredients that would enhance the picture. The next time you order food that is not photogenic, consider using fresh ingredients with great colours available in your kitchen. Feel free to arrange them nicely and test the angle.
Don’t crowd the dish
Simplicity is key. The plate should be nicely arranged and not in an overwhelming way. To help you envision what that means, think about how you can keep the outer white space of the plate clear. I would suggest to just use a small portion of your meal to take the photo, and then later on enjoy it in its entirety!
Include a human element, like hands
Adding a human element to your pictures actually makes for a good picture, as it shows viewers that you are taking the picture from your own point of view and creates a sense of presence. You could take a picture holding cutlery, or you could simply lay your hand on the side. Holding ingredients in hand (rosemary, cranberry etc.) is a great idea. Just test the angles and you’re sure to take a perfect shot!
The best angles for the job
Angles are the visual language connecting you and your audience, and my two favourite are the top angle and the front angle. Of course, there a lot of different angles that work, but these are my personal favorite when taking food pictures.
If you’re not a professional photographer, it’s not necessary to invest in technical additions. Improvisation couldn’t be easier! Here are some super helpful tips:
A few solid rules
- Decorate - use a wooden board to place your food, white baking paper or paper bag as a background, even spread some baking powder around for that extra effect!
- Use a napkin to take out excess oil from some dishes - oily dishes don’t photograph well and it will taste just the same.
- Put your food close to a window. Natural lightning is key to the having best pictures.
- Don’t have a selfie stick to take pictures from a high angle? Stand on a chair!
- Use styrofoam as a substitute for reflectors, they work wonders!
- Set the focus point correctly on the main dish - simply click on the screen of your mobile phone.
It might seem obvious, but it needs to be said that you should always keep the plate clean, especially when shooting close-ups. If there are smudges or imperfections, it would make the food look unappealing. Another tip would be to set up your perfect shot before your meal arrives -- food comes last in the composition process. Lastly, arrangement is a golden rule, as it is the key to a successful picture.
Food photography ultimately amounts to your interaction with your meal. Specific arrangements, differing camera angles, the use of natural lighting, and the human element are just some of the things to consider. This process takes time and postpones the moment of eventually taking that very first bite of a delicious meal. But the anticipation makes this experience all the greater, so take out your camera and enjoy snapping some cool shots using the above tips. Just don’t let that meal get too cold!