Are you looking to take better food photos? I’ve got 7 easy tips to help you go from meh to amazing!
Hey yall! I’m sharing something a little different today – 7 tips for better food photos! I have been taking pictures for as long as I can remember. I still have undeveloped rolls of film hanging out in my night stand. It’s a challenge to get the perfect image and yet so rewarding when you do. If you are looking to up your food photo game (or any type of photography really!), here are some easy tips to follow.
- Practice, practice, practice! – If you take ONE thing away from these tips it is to practice your craft. No matter what type of camera you have, practice as often as possible. Take pictures of your dinner, or breakfast, or those homemade chocolate chip cookies you just baked. Read your manual, try different setups, stock up on memory cards and shoot as much as possible!
- Research – I separate my food photography research into two categories – visual and educational. Visual is easy. It’s any time you see an appetizing meal – study it. Figure out why it appeals to you, what props did they use? Do they have an eye catching background? Take elements that you like and work on incorporating them into your own photography.
For example – I love the close up overhead shots of drinks. It’s just fun and playful to me. I had seen them in magazines and Pinterest and started practicing more. Here is an example in my iced Thai latte post.
The second is to research technique. Search Pinterest for educational photography posts on things like aperture, ISO and shutter speed. Pick a topic to focus on and read a few articles on how that technique works. Take what you’ve learned and try and apply it the next time you photograph.
3. Upgrade – Some people think that to take beautiful photographs you need the BEST camera right NOW. And that’s simply not true. The best camera is the one you have right NOW. Once you have mastered your point and shoot or your old DSLR or even your phone, look into upgrading to a new model.
I used a point and shoot, then my phone and slowly upgraded to a Nikon D7000. The picture above is my Finnish pancake recipe and was taken with my old cell phone a few years ago. The image below is butternut squash pasta and was taken with my Nikon. Huge difference! But there are 3 years of practice between the photos.
4. Props – Oh, how I love props! Props can take your boring food photo and make it exciting! And there are so many options for food props. You can go basic with a fun plate, or napkin. I love to add silverware to suggest the food is going to be eaten immediately. You can use an extra serving of food as a prop or the casserole dish the serving came from or fresh herbs sprinkled about. Props are another way to get creative with your food.
Pinch of yum has a great post on using every day items to improve your photography. The old cookie sheets are always fun! Play around with props (my favorite places to shop for them are World Market and thrift stores) and find your style.
5. Using natural light – Natural light is one of the best (and easiest!) ways to improve your food photography. Look around your house and find the best natural light coming from a window. Put a coffee table with your props there. Natural light brings out the best colors in any type of photograph. Do not – I repeat DO NOT – rely on your kitchen or home lighting for photography.
Don’t have any good natural light? My food bloggy friend Julie shares how she uses artificial light to help her with her food photos.
6. Make food appetizing yet approachable – This was a new concept for me that I learned at Mixed conference from Susan with Ahalogy. Beautiful food photos are just that – beautiful. But you want to be able to take a beautiful food photo and make it approachable for the reader. If it looks too pretty or too complicated you may lose people’s interest. If the photo is pretty and looks like something they can whip up in there own kitchen – well that’s a winning shot!
7. Editing – One thing that can really set your food photography apart is using editing software. I have used Photoshop for a few years now and was able to review Lightroom recently. There are some amazing tutorials on how to use both editing programs (like these on Lightroom) but my best advice is to just practice, practice, practice! (Are you tired of hearing that yet??)
There you have it! Seven easy tips for better food photos. I hope you have fun practicing and if you have any other tips you’d like to share – leave them on my Facebook page! I am always looking for easy ways to up my photography game!
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Karen @ The Food Charlatan says
These are great ideas Kelley! I second the research part–I find that the more I research a subject before a shoot the better it goes, rather than going at it willy nilly. Great post!
Oh yes. A little prep before goes a long way. Thanks so much Karen!