Great food photos give life to any social feed. Whether you are a chef, food blogger, social media influencer, or just a photography hobbyist who finds joy at taking drool and tap-worthy food photos, elevating your food photography skills can help establish your social media presence. Learning to take top-notch food pictures isn’t difficult but it does require a lot of practice. Here are some top 12 food photography tips from pros to help you take Instagram-worthy snaps.
1. Experiment with your angles
The most common angle pros would use is to shoot at a top-down angle according to Alex Lau, a staff photographer from Bon Appétit magazine. While mastering the flatlay definitely has its benefits, the best angle to take your shot still depends on the size, shape, and distinct characteristic of your food. A pizza looks best from above but you can’t exactly shoot a burger the same way. Experiment with your angles so you’re showcasing the most important details of the subject.
2. Lighting is key
Good lighting is king when it comes to food photos. If you can’t always shoot under natural daylight, investing in high-quality food photography lighting equipment can help you take great professional-looking shots anytime and anywhere. Large LED ring lights that provide adequate diffused lighting work well for indoor shoots. You can explore our range here to see which size best fits your needs.
3. Play with focus
According to Expert Photography, focusing on the foreground or the front of the dish usually makes for attractive food photography. By focusing on the dish and creating a slightly blurred background, you direct all of the audience’s attention to the main course. Aside from just adjusting your aperture settings, make sure that your background is free from clutter. Play around with different depths of field and see how that changes the mood of your images.
4. Props are your friends
Props help you tell a story and improve the overall visual of your shots. Fabrics, cutting boards, nice plates, elegant utensils and glassware, and your raw ingredients – these are just some basic props that you can use to decorate your setup. Place them neatly around the subject while making sure that they don’t distract from the main focus. Experiment with different styling techniques so you can take your food photography to the next level.
5. Keep your background neutral
The essence of food photography is to highlight what’s on the plate and not the plate. It helps to keep your background neutral so it doesn’t upstage the main subject. This rule also applies to your table or table fabrics. Keep them plain and undistracting, and preferably in a nice contrasting colour as the food you’re shooting.
6. Avoid blur and grain
Blur and grain in photos are signs of amateur hour. You want your food snaps to stay looking sharp and crisp and adjusting to a faster shutter speed and a lower ISO should help you achieve this. These settings might be hard to work with under low light conditions which are where LED ring lights can come in handy. Finding the right combination of your camera and lighting setup will vastly upgrade your food photography game.
7. Work colour to your advantage
Medical experts agree that colour psychology is a real thing when it comes to food. Different colours evoke different moods and certain colours like red and yellow appeal to us as more appetising hues. Colours in your food photography can come alive when you use the correct white balance settings. Be mindful of the saturation and vibrance of your photos and work colour to your advantage.
8. Use repetition and pattern
A food photography tip that you would often hear is to incorporate repetition and pattern. You can repeat lines, shapes, or color to provide a nice visual impact. Think of a nice stack of pancakes or cute little chocolates geometrically lain out. These compositional techniques produce some interesting and exciting shots.
9. Adding human elements
Pouring a cup of coffee, hands lifting a burger, a pair of chopsticks reaching for sushi – a great photography tip is to add human elements to your photos. It evokes a sense of motion and realness and makes the audience feel like they’re part of the scene. Action shots make the photos feel more interesting and less staged.
10. Enhance with editing
Even the Food Network agrees not to underestimate the power of post-production. Correcting colors, tweaking out sharpness or saturation levels, and even cleaning up your backgrounds – there’s nothing wrong with using a little (or a lot of) Photoshop. A few little edits here and there can really help make your photo pop.
11. Be ready to snap
It’s not all the time that you would have your heavy DSLR with you. For social media influencers, being able to snap on the go is an important aspect of the job. The iPhone or latest Samsung camera can take some pretty decent snaps as long as you have a good light source. Owning a pocket selfie ring light like this one will make sure you’re never without good lighting.
12. Just shoot away
Take numerous photos and shoot as much as you can! Vary your angles, staging, focus, lighting, and composition and you can choose later on which shots to post on your socials. In creative pursuits, quantity often leads to quality. Just be ready with some extra memory storage space.
Nicely taken food photos are always double-tap worthy content. Sharp, vibrant, well-lit, and skillfully composed – remember these as your basic guide to improving your food photos and Instagram feed. Allow yourself to be creative and enjoy the artistic process! If you make it a habit to practice the tips above, your food photography skills will improve in no time.