Whether you are a fellow food blogger or a fellow foodie, here are some tips on how to take better photos of your dishes.
Natural light. The best way to get a good photo of your meal is in natural light. (This is tough during winter months when it’s dark by dinner time). Natural light gives food its best look. Where as overhead or fluorescent lighting makes food have various color casts and shades on it. Not appetizing. You can use studio lighting etc. but I ain’t got time for that!
If you’ve ever been to an upscale restaurant they serve their food on a white plate. Why? Because a white plate feels pristine and clean. A white plate allows the colors of the food to be the boldest colors.
Add green. Green makes any dish more appealing. Lasagna? Not very pretty, add fresh parsley and it’s appetizing. Tacos? Throw on some cilantro and pickled onions. Sweet and sour chicken? Add chopped green onions on top, done.
Angles. Shoot from above. This is the easiest one to get right. I often place a plate on the ground and take photos. Feeling artsy? Shoot half of the plate. Have a cake with a piece cut out? Shoot from the side and show those layers.
Plating. Plating is art. I love cooking and baking. But I honestly love plating and decorating even more. Food should taste good. But I think food should also look good. My kids eat more healthy food if I serve it in a more creative and beautiful way. Your mind tells you that if it looks good, I should eat it! I know you’re exhausted by the time you just get dinner made but just taking a couple extra minutes to make the salad pretty, or adding a little green to that lasagna adds beauty and your family will appreciate it. (Unless your child is 2, then it will end up on the ground whether it’s pretty or not).
Editing. When it comes to editing food pics you want to make sure that white plate is white. This means you want to get some of the warmer tones out of there and lean towards cooler tones. I always sharpen food images more that I would an image of a person. And depending on the dish I might up the vibrancy or saturation just a touch. For editing on my phone I prefer AfterLight. Laptop Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop.
Add props. Sick of just a white plate with food? Time to add some props. Perhaps a cute tea towel. Or a photo from above of your whole table spread. Or hands holding your plate of food. If you made tortillas put that tortilla press in the photo. A wooden spoon, a vase of flowers etc. mix it up and add some more interest to your photos.
Step by step. Are you a food blogger? A lot of people like the step by step photos. Snap an image at each step of the recipe to show your followers how you do what you do.
Change it up
. Always just throw vegetables on a salad? Try lining them up in rows. Or try cutting vegetables in a different way than you usually would. I like to use a carrot peeler to make different shapes with vegetables. Instead of taking a photo of the whole dessert, take a photo of one slice or one portion.
Type on it. If you’re getting into food blogging, throw some text on it.
Practice makes perfect. Keep on cooking, baking, plating and taking photos.
I hope these tips help you to improve your food photography.
Find some of these dishes right here on my website.
All images © 2018 Jennifer Hopper Photography. Photos taken on iPhone, and Nikon D7000 with 50mm 1.4.