These days everyone is taking photos of their food. In fact, you almost can’t eat begin to dig into a yummy meal until after it’s been Instagrammed. (And, yes, I am guilty of this—probably more so that anyone else in my friend and family circle.) I mean, just look at me before our breakfast during my visit to General Mills HQ with Kath from Kath Eats Real Food, Caitlin from Healthy Tipping Point and Emelie from Baby Loving Mama. The cereal art was so dang cool that I just had to take a photo—that very second.
So if you’re also into taking photos of your eats for your social media sites, your blog, special events or even your very own memory of this-ish-is-so-good-I-gotta-document-it (been there!), these food photography tips are for you. During my aforementioned trip up to visit General Mills a couple months ago, I had the chance to tour their styling and photography areas—and get some wicked-good food photography tips. I wrote a little about my experience over on FBG, but here’s a closer look at what I learned and just had to share! Because, as you probably already know, taking a good pic of your food isn’t always easy…
7 Food Photography Tips
1. Change your camera’s settings. If you use a point-and-shoot camera, select the portrait or close-up setting to create that cool blurred-background look. If you have an SLR, go with a wide aperture (f 1.4-5.6) to let in more light and create a stronger focal point. And if that was just food photography gibberish to you, read your camera’s instructions.
2. Use natural light. Softer light from a window can create a gorgeous and dimensional look to your photo. Place your food so that the window light is behind or to the side. For direct sunlight through a window, consider taping up a sheer curtain or shower curtain to diffuse the light. In the photo below, they were shooting with only natural light and the end result was GORGEOUS.
3. Play around with your camera angle. Try a low camera angle, a 3/4 view or a straight-down shot. All of them are usually interesting and flattering, but find the angle that shows off your food’s best vantage point. Think about what you want people to focus on most.
4. Play with props, but keep it simple. You want your food to be the star of the shot. White dishes always make food look clean and beautiful, but trying adding a pop of complimentary color with a fun plate or bowl every now and again. Simple fabrics or wood with a subdued pattern make for a great backdrop—forks, glasses and napkins can give your food photos a “sense of place,” too. And, yeah, it’s okay if your food props aren’t quite as varied as General Mills’ selection was!
5. Keep your photo true to the recipe (if you’re the one making it). When shooting, don’t over promise on serving size or misrepresent how it was cooked. If you had to cook it in a glass dish, shoot it in that dish—and not another one just because it looks better.
6. Clean your food up before you shoot it. While you don’t want to misrepresent the food in your photo, that doesn’t mean that it can’t look its best! So use tweezers, Q-tips, brushes, paper towels—whatever you need to clean up crumbs, splatters and uneven texture when cutting. Oh, and a little glass cleaner on a paper towel does wonders to clean up thumbprints on plates and other dishes!
7. Consider a tripod. If you’re always shooting your food in restaurants with low light, consider packing a small travel tripod. These can fit in your purse and allow you to keep your camera still for a more focused shot. Oh, and if you want to take a selfie, they’re great for those, too—no arm-holding-out required!
Do you take photos of your food? What’s your favorite meal to shoot? Any food photography tips you’d add to our list? —Jenn