Tips to improve your food photography

HOW TO DEAL WITH THE GAP BETWEEN THE BEAUTY OF YOUR FOOD AND THE IMAGES YOU TAKE


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If you own a restaurant or you are a food blogger you know how important it is to show great photos of your dishes. After all, it’s because of the images that people are drawn to your website/blog.
But how to achieve this on your own? Here are some tips to get you started.

The lighting

Forget about the idea of “the more light, the better”: lighting in photography is not about quantity, but quality. We don’t want to use the yellowish kind of artificial light you have in your home or in your restaurant, because in most cases it’s really unflattering and difficult to control. What we want is pure indirect daylight: set the table near a big window, where the sun doesn’t get directly, and turn off all the other lights.
Now take a photo and see the difference.

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Tell a story

To give more visual power to your food images you need to tell a story. For example, if you’re photographing a breakfast meal, include a beautiful cappuccino in your pic; if it’s a cake, include some utensils or egg shells. 
Garnishing your photo will also improve your image tremendously: add some raw ingredients, like a sliced lemon or some fresh herbs.

Find some interesting backdrops

Your dish might be looking great, but if you put the plate on a plastic table your food won’t look so incredible anymore. The best surfaces for food photography are wood, stone and monochromatic, depending on the mood you want to give to your images. 
Nobody says they need to be “real” wood or stone: instead of looking for expensive rustic tables, buy posters or scrapbook paper that look similar to wood or stone; you can also use cutting boards or pastry boards. 
Your food will look stunning.

Invest in a good camera/lens

To take a good photo you don’t need expensive gear, true. But it helps.
Without going into complicated technicalities, a good camera with a good lens will capture better light, will sharpen the photo and will make the colors pop. It’s an investment that can really make the difference in your food photography.

Mind the angle

What is it that you’re photographing? What’s important to highlight? Not all the food is the same, and neither is the camera angle you should use.
As a general rule, in food photography you want to place your camera between 25 and 75 degrees in relation to your subject. It’s a very versatile angle and it works most of the times. 
If you are taking photos of something flat, like a pizza, you might however take the photo from a 90 degree angle (the so-called “birds eye view”). The same goes with dishes where you want to show the layers or the height of the food, like burgers or cakes: in that case you want to place the camera at 0 degree, for a straight-on view.


Editing

To make your food look even better, learn how to use simple editing software. I personally use Adobe Lightroom, but anything will do: you just need some tools to enhance the photo, correct the lighting and adjust the contrast.


Have fun!

Personally, I believe that taking photos of food is incredibly fun. I love to play with the colors and the textures. If you don’t agree with me, then you should ask someone else to photograph your food: it takes passion to show passion.

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Photo reportage: the yoga master

I got to Varanasi by train, at night.
I was thrown into an ocean of chaos, dirt and humanity.
It’s not up to me to explain what Varanasi is: its complexity is so tremendous that it would be presumptuous of me to give you a comprehensive picture.

But I want to tell you another story, that has little if nothing to do with it.
One afternoon in Varanasi I decided to stay away from the temples and the ghats, to avoid the tourists, the beggars and the boatmen asking if I wanted a boat ride. I got lost in a labyrinth of narrow streets and small houses that look all alike.
Around sunset, as I was still wandering in the streets, I was lucky enough to step into a yard where some boys were training. With them there was who I believe being their guru.
None of them could speak any English, unfortunately, so communication was based on instinct and hand gestures. They tried to teach me some yoga positions that I couldn’t possibly repeat, and laughed at my clumsiness. Then I made clear that I wanted to take some pictures of them, and as soon as they saw the camera they all started posing and showing me what they were capable of. Their pride and skills were undeniable, their joy contagious. Then, as the sun set below the horizon, they all left me for the evening prayer ceremony by the ghat.
This is, by far, the best set of photographs I took during my journey in India.

January

These days everyone is talking about the cold, the snow, the storm and blablabla.
So I want to give my contribution with this photo taken a year ago, January 2016.
I had just started working with Nixonbui, a Copenhagen based menswear brand.
We were planning some fashion photographs for their website. So to reflect the brand’s philosophy, made of tribal traditions and urban attitude, we decided to simply take some clothes and go shoot outside.
In the nature. 
In the coldest days of the year.
We went to a park in Copenhagen, near Vestamager. The weather was perfect for the kind of vibe we were looking for: misty and foggy. The water was a sheet of ice and the colours were enhanced by the clouds. It was so cold though that after a while I couldn’t feel my fingers.
And yeah I got mocked all day ‘cause I was wearing sneakers in the frozen mud (I’m a city girl).
But the outcome was spectacular.

Photo reportange: Milan

I spent some beautiful days in Milan last week.
I didn’t know the city, as I hadn’t been there before, but I loved its coherence and its contradictions from the first moment: elegance, style and subtle religiousness, avant-garde and tradition, noise and silence. This is what Milan gave me.
I wanted to improve my street photography skills, and show things as I was experiencing them.
Here you can see some photos I took with my invisible compact camera.

The magic number

"Number is the ruler of forms and ideas, and the cause of gods and daemons"
Cit. Pythagoras.

I started studying art when I was very young.
I couldn’t even read, but I would spend a lot of time looking at images and making drawings out of them. One thing was very clear to me, since then: 3 is a crucial number in composition.
Years later, when I could read, I found out that 3 is an important number in every field of knowledge: it’s recurring in music, in history, in mythology, in psychology, in philosophy. 
It’s the first number that forms a geometrical figure, the triangle.
It’s the number of time (part, present and future; or beginning, middle and end). 
It’s a sacred number in many religions.
In visual arts, 2 elements can be together or opposite, but 3 elements give to the image a sense of balance and structure: 3 elements are pleasing to the eye, cause they bring harmony.
So next time you take a photo with 3 elements in the composition, be aware of the sense of balance and stability you’re giving to that photograph.

Making decisions

Yesterday I met a couple getting married next year, to talk about their wedding photos. It was our first meeting, so we talked a bit of what we do and what we like, and I explained them why I love shooting weddings: because it’s very challenging. 
During a wedding you have no control over the location, the weather, the light, the rain, the mood, the development of the event. You can’t decide where and when to take photos: if it’s outdoor and in bright sun, you’ll just have to adjust to that. You can’t waste time deciding what to do, or you’ll miss the moment, and the “moment” is the very core of wedding photography. 
It’s a matter of making decisions as fast as possible.
This picture I’m showing you was taken in very poor light conditions: there was no direct light on the couple and - stupid me - I didn’t have the time to go get my flash and put it on my camera. It was so dark that my camera had issues with the focus. Luckily for me, my camera can deal pretty well with high ISO, so the only option was: high ISO, combined with the largest aperture possible. 
There.

Old places, new eyes

Someone says traveling is that thing that leaves you speechless and then turns you into a storyteller. 

We think we know our own home land by heart: we believe that we know every place, that we’ve seen everything there’s to see. Sometimes, we think there isn’t much worth a visit.
So I wasn’t super excited today when I went with some friends to visit the Abbey of Santa Maria of Pulsano, a shrine on the mountain, founded in the 6th century.
I had promised myself not to take my camera with me, to take a real break, but I couldn’t help it, and put my Canon into my backpack.
And then something happened: I began seeing old places with new eyes.
Suddenly I noticed the astonishing view, the beautiful church built in a cave, the breathtaking paths to the caves used by the hermit monks. I was excited like a kid, as my friends in Copenhagen know: they got ALL THE PHOTOS on snapchat :)

Come home soon, love

“I do love secondhand books that open to the page some previous owner read oftenest” Helene Hanff

In photography like in every other field there’s always something new to learn, and if you want to be a skilled photographer you’ll have to study and read and keep yourself updated.
I read lots of magazines and books about photography or about art in general.
I buy books in secondhand stores, not just because it’s cheaper and good for the environment, but also because I love to find signs of other human beings: reading pages someone else has turned, finding notes in the margins and flyleaves forgotten inside the book, reading passages someone else has underlined.
So the other day I was walking in Copenhagen and found a bookstall. Saw a book called “Criticizing photographs”, by Terry Barrett, and brought it home, left it on a shelf and forgot about it. This morning, I saw it and started turning its pages when I found this lovely note: “Come home soon, love”

Dust, mud and concrete

Safety helmets, boots and high visibility vests must be worn at all times.

I have always wondered about the mechanism behind things. You know that kid that always dissembles toys and objects to find out about the inner working? That was me.
So when one of the companies responsible for the new metro in Copenhagen asked me to go and take some pictures of the work in progress I couldn’t help it and said yes immediately. 
So I got some safety shoes, a high visibility jacket, a huge helmet and a course about safety. I had the chance to visit the site of Marmokirken, the deepest of the whole metro system with its 40m below sea level, and the most challenging one with its tracks one above each other, and not on each side of the platform, like all the other stations.
It was a very nice experience: after all, it doesn’t happen every day to go underground and see tunnels, platforms and tracks in the making. 
Despite the dust, the mud and the concrete all over me.

Smile Viking, smile

Today I was having coffee in a cosy cafe in the middle of Copenhagen with a good friend of mine, talking about photography, when she suggested to start a blog, so that people could stay updated with my work.
I thought about it for a minute and decided to give it a shot.
So I wanna start by posting a portrait I took of her that I really love: and if you knew how difficult it is to make a tough viking-ish Norwegian smile, you'd love it too.