We’ve all drooled over beautiful food photography before, hoping to create that dish that looks just like the image that inspired us to host our next party with the featured dish we found most visually appealing on Pinterest and our favorite food blogs! Showcase and savor the memories of your best culinary creations with our tips for photographing your food at home.
Top food photographers prefer natural light, which can be tricky considering mealtimes are often taking place indoors with artificial light. Observe your kitchen but don’t just limit yourself to your countertops. The best light in my house is actually in my kids’ room around dinner time, which is fairly inconvenient for any food preparation photos I may want to snap! That being said, any natural, indirect light will give your images that hazy yet crisp look you have seen by your favorite bloggers. Consider going outside into the shade cast by your house with your delicious plate on a rustic cutting board and crop your photo accordingly.
Check out this pull back shot from CrunchyCreamySweet; they have set the scene with rustic boards and light from a window that will help to minimize shadows so that even if you are shooting with your smartphone the image will be well lit and crisp.
Are you taking a photo at your busy local farmers market? Or is it a social gathering with friends… Perhaps you are planning a romantic dinner at home for two. Consider the mood for the dish you are presenting. Plan your lighting accordingly – food photography is about evoking the emotions we attach to the food we eat.
The setting you want to portray is related to the mood of your photo. If you are at a hip and happening new restaurant and you want to Instagram your main meal, it might be a good idea to capture some of the action in your shot. People love photos where some of the preparation and tools are included, it makes it feel homemade and shows viewers part of the process.
Check out your local second hand shops and flea markets for rustic serving platters, aged pieces of wood and antique plates or silverware. Props are a big part of setting the mood for the food you want to share, and can portray your personality and design aesthetic for a cohesive look. Gourmand In the Kitchen shares some of her best sources for finding props that inspire her food photography here.
Set Up Tips
Whether you are shooting with your favorite smartphone photography app or a high falutin DSLR, your setup will help with the process a lot. Have your props set up or accessible ahead of time and if you need to maximise indirect window light, plan to make your presented dish at that time. Set up your tripod and have your camera settings lined up before you start cooking so that when you are ready to plate your dish you don’t have to mess around with your photography equipment on the fly. Here is some great inspiration for figuring out your ultimate setup!
Ok! So, go on ahead and find an inspiring recipe! Consider the lighting you have to work with. Plan the mood and setting you would like to portray, find some awesome props, get your technical setup sorted and you are well on your way to creating images of food everyone will want to eat up!