How to Properly Photograph Food

It’s happened countless times. You’re scrolling through your Instagram feed and see all of these delicious and nicely organized dishes that make your mouth water. Next time you make an order at a restaurant or cook up something yourself, you think – why not take a picture too! Something is missing though, and for some reason, your picture doesn’t look as satisfying as the ones on your feed. In this article, you will read some tips how to make your food look tastier.
The first thing you need to ensure is that you have natural light. So when you set the table at home, open your curtains and let the sunlight through, whereas if you are going to a restaurant, look at a table near a window. Light, however, brings shadows with itself. Make sure that your own shadow is not visible in the photo and that shadows from objects on the table (bottles, glasses, menus) aren’t covering the plate you are photographing.

Another thing a lot of professional food photographers pay attention to is the background. It’s recommended to use a neutral background, that doesn’t take the attention away from your food or drink subject. If you have the option to choose between different tables and surfaces for your photo, you should remember that dark food looks better on top of a black surface, whereas bright and colorful food looks more accentuated on a lighter background. If you have only one type of surface to use, you can mix things up with a wooden chopping board, white or gray tablecloth or a tray. Adding a small, subtle flower or a vase adds spirit to the photo but doesn’t draw the focus away from the food.
The angle of your photo is another important aspect. It seems that nowadays, the most popular angle is from above. That allows you to organize the table easily and punctuate the objects on it according to your wishes, boasting the arrangement of the food in the dish itself and the decorative utensils and napkins. There are several other ways you can go about this though, and one of them is snapping the pic from one side. That is great if you are photographing drinks or food with multiple layers. However, you need to make sure that the background is a wall or a window and doesn’t have bystanders or waiters ruining the magic.

Finally, the last but not least step to take is editing. Today, almost every photo we see on social media has been previously edited or enhanced. What’s so special about food photography is that food comes in so many different colors and gives the photographer a lot to play with. You can download many apps, such as VSCO. Look through the filters and pick whichever one fits the mood. Bright colors and high contrast entice excitement, whereas muted colors tell a softer story.
Regardless if you are using a smartphone or a professional camera, these tips are guaranteed to make your food photography much more enjoyable.