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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A day at the market

 

Since I left my hometown I have naturally absorbed the big city’s habits and made the urban routine mine. Even more so when I moved to Copenhagen: the cold modern hub in the north. One of these habits is buying food at the supermarket where everything is selected, packed and wrapped; you don’t even need to have any interaction with other people.
So when I had a walk at the daily market during my Christmas holidays in south of Italy, I felt a bit like a tourist. I had forgotten about all the different colours, noises and perfumes. The genuine feeling of buying fresh fish, still alive. The farmers offering you a taste of fruit. The smell of the cheese stalls. The sacks of local almonds. The boys yelling. How much per kilo. Counting your coins.
I returned back home with plenty of photos and a bag full of mussels and clams.
What a great meal we had.

I've become a foodie

“Don’t marry someone who doesn’t love food, they won’t understand the pleasures of life”
Cit. my grandma

I love good food.
Let me say that again: I love good food.
I really believe that a great meal is an absolute pleasure, as much as sex.
That’s why restaurant photography and food related events are a big part of my portfolio.
Going to restaurants as a photographer, I noticed that I was getting to know new people, and that I had the chance to taste new things and new flavours, from all over the world. Quite easy in a cosmopolitan city like Copenhagen.
But food is not just about food. 
We often forget that the food culture is such a big part of our daily life: without food we can’t survive, and we’ve managed to make it a true pleasure. Not only that: food involves traditions, habits, values; it can be a symbol of social status and religious belief, and it can tell a lot about a community.
It’s so interesting that I’m getting hungry again.

Oh, by the way, I had the best ramen soup ever last weekend, you can check it out here.