Culinary styling is based on the sense of sight to get an interest in food. In the absence of taste and touch, professional food photographers use techniques that persuade you as an observer and leave you speechless. It is the aim of gastronomic photography, to be able to capture in a photo “the flavor” and texture of food, using light and the composition of the dish.
In this article I will give you some guidelines to get the photograph you are looking for. It is normally impossible to mount a lighting set in a restaurant, so I will mainly rely on tips that you can quickly apply anywhere. But if you need a perfect photos, getting help from a professional food photographer is recommended. If you live in London, food photographer London is a good option.
The art of photographing food
When you see those appetizing food photos, it must be borne in mind that on many occasions you are dealing with a professional job. Behind these photos are culinary stylists, chefs, and professional photographers, with technical equipment and tools to make your eyes bulge as they contemplate their creations. But taking a photo that leaves you wanting to run to the restaurant also encompasses the appropriate time, the perfect ingredients, the shapes and textures of the food, the organization of the table and many other factors.
Is it easy to take food photos?
Basically, the culinary stylist is responsible for beautifying food to make it more appealing to the eye. For his part, the photographer uses certain techniques that, when used well, will make anyone drool with the result. The culinary stylist is present in advertising campaigns for big brands like McDonalds, in this video you can see what a photoshoot looks like at this level (the hamburgers could already look something like the ones in the photos).
How to photograph food?
There is no doubt that the work of the cooks is essential, but the main responsibility for a 220-gram mini hamburger to invite you to devour it, falls especially on the photographer, who uses the frame and adequate lighting, among other elements, to favor the captured image.
Whether for pleasure or work, if you want your captures to convey a story, a feeling and incite others to taste what is seen in the image, be sure to put these aspects into practice.
Aspects to consider when photographing food dishes
Do not think that by having a latest generation phone, you will achieve a photo that will seduce the palate, although a good camera always helps.
- Observe those who know, get inspired by browsing profiles of gastronomic photographers and analyze why their photos work and how you could make them yourself. Most of the meals we see in professional photos are perfectly thought out and studied.
- Take the photo with the plate just served, it will have more shine, texture and will be much more organized.
- Be creative and learn about culinary topics and the aspects that people like the most.
- You can help yourself with neutral backgrounds to highlight the texture of the food in question and avoid distractions with the background.
- Take burst shots and don’t settle for the first photo you take, change the angle, depth of field, or white balance to get the photo you’re looking for.
- Try to tell a story and don’t be afraid to involve your hands. Hold the cutlery, the glass or simply place your hand next to the plate, your story is better complemented like this, go ahead.
- If you can avoid it do not use filters, the food should be presented as it is. Success depends more on aspects such as technique and composition.
- Clean the background before taking the photo. In this way, you will avoid elements that can be distracting such as stains, breadcrumbs or elements that do not have to be there.
- White dishes are ideal for serving brightly colored food.
How to take the perfect photo of a plate of food
Based on the fact that the best photos are those that present the most appetizing food possible, take note of these suggestions to achieve this:
- If you use your smartphone or a compact camera, keep in mind that image quality will be affected in low-light environments, as is the case in many restaurants. Watch the ISO sensitivity so that it does not increase too much and noise appears, use a diaphragm aperture as open as possible to gain light and a shutter speed fast enough not to lose sharpness.
- Hold the phone securely to decrease the risk of jitter or movement.
- If you are in a restaurant, choose to get close to a source of natural light, but avoid direct sunlight on the plate to be photographed.
How to take pictures of food dishes
- Forget about the rest of the diners, who may look at you strange when photographing your plate before eating it. Do not be afraid to move it and play with the angles for the photo (be careful not to get cold).
- If you do not have a good source of natural light, forget your photographic project this time and dedicate yourself to enjoying food. The flash does not usually help in this type of photography unless you have reflectors and light windows that soften it.
- When taking outdoor food photos, you should know that heat affects the freshness of a salad plate. For this, you can use an ice base that will keep it longer. Lemon will also help prevent rusting of vegetables and fruits, while getting a good angle.
- Learn how to use the photography options of your smartphone well. You can even take a quick course on editing and how to use natural light when taking food photos with your mobile.
Food photography experts say the eye must be trained to achieve the perfect photo. Start by looking at food photos and following recognized accounts on social media to learn from the experts.