One of the things I struggle with about blogging is that I am not a photographer. Actually, saying “I’m not a photographer” is putting it mildly. I’m so bad at taking pictures, my friends all tell me I am the most terrible photographer they have ever met. What they don’t realise is that I take terrible pictures on purpose because I absolutely hate doing things. If I REALLY put my mind to it, I can take a half decent picture with my iPhone. I’m not exactly going to have an art exhibition of still life photos, but here are some tips on getting that perfect food shot with your smartphone.
Taking the perfect food shot – use natural light
Using artificial light for food shots can have the unfortunate tendency to give them a bit of a weird yellow or orange hue. Natural light is especially important if you are going to play around with filters at some point down the line to make your colours more vibrant. Natural light is a lot more neutral than artificial light so it will give you the opportunity to make certain aspects of the picture stand out without making it look overly filtered and weird. Needless to say, if there is TOO MUCH natural light it may make certain aspects of the picture fade into the background. The best natural light is natural daylight that isn’t too sunny.
Taking the perfect food shot – pick your background wisely
When you are choosing the background for your food shot, it is important to choose something neutral. The background you are going to use doesn’t have to be “boring”, but obviously, what should stand out in the photo is the food. There isn’t really a set colour that is the best to use for food shots, because it depends on what colours are in the actual food. You want to create contrast without too much attention being on a fussy background. Light background and dark backgrounds work really well because they make the food itself stand out. Even if you are taking the photo on specific backdrop or tablecloth – try and think about the way it works with the subject (the food).
Taking the perfect food shot – choose your angle wisely
For the longest time, it appeared like the world and his wife preferred a flat lay for any food pictures. If food is on a plate or bowl or you have a lot of different things to arrange, shooting the food from above is probably the best way to get everything in neatly. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that a flat lay is the ONLY way you should shoot food. There are a number of reasons you might choose to shoot food or drinks from the side. For example, if you are shooting a dessert that has many different layers or intricate details – it will probably be best to shoot from the side if you want to fit them all in. Shooting for above doesn’t tend to really show off the details of things like ice cream or drinks.
Taking the perfect food shot – make “space’ a thing
If you have a lot of delicious food you want to feature on your blog or social media, it can be tempting to arrange a few different items in one shot. The downside of this is that food pictures rarely look good when they are “cluttered”. Try and think about the space around your food as something that is as important as the food itself. You need to give the food breathing space to make sure the focus is on the right thing. Unnecessary items like cutlery can be moved if they are making the shot look too full.
Taking the perfect food shot – use props
This may sound counter-productive to the previous tip, but props are actually a really good addition to food shots. If you are worried about space you can use dry ingredients that take up very little space. Things like seeds and berries are great for this, as you can use them to enhance the colours in the scene, without taking away any attention from the food dish you are shooting. The great thing about dry ingredients like seeds is that they can be re-used and re-used.