As much of a photography nerd I can be at times, food photography has always been something I’ve wanted to improve – when you’re plating up a hot dish of enchiladas or bolognese, you don’t want to leave it too long getting various angles of food before it turns cold and lacklustre. The same goes with cold drinks, ice-cream, even tea – leave it too long and it’s state will change, not ideal.
You need to be snappy but still present everything perfectly so that it reflects the meaning and theme behind the image, so I was finally glad to get some inspiration and tips from the team at Pink Lady Apples and Aspire Photography on how to take amazing food photos to rival those in magazines.
The first part of the morning was spent sampling some delicious recipes and drinks made from the Pink Lady Apples (I think I’m converted to the Coldpress Apple Juice, it’s beyond delicious!) whilst we were told the secrets for the perfect composition to any food photography setup. As always, lighting is absolutely essential with natural the best to capture tones and colour present in the produce, and coming into play with both this and shooting settings is aperture; a minimum of f/3.5 and 1/100 are ideal camera settings to capture that ‘just falling out of focus but still crisp’ image we all drool over in Waitrose or Jamie Oliver’s magazines – we all do it, it’s okay.
As someone who always has to ‘plop’ their food in-front of the camera pretty pronto before it goes cold, I’d never thought about pre-staging my image or playing around with textures and props to make it feel a bit more exciting (I have a wooden board and that’s it – photography shame). The girls had set up four different stations with a handfuls of props to play around with in hopes of finding our photo style, experimenting and learning more about our cameras than when we first arrived. Personally, I found a new love for rough wooden boards, rustic fabrics and black card to enhance shadows for a more cosy kitchen feel, and anything that requires the addition of cinnamon is a winner for me…
So what are some key food photography tips to help you take your images to the next level?
1. Only use relevant props – you wouldn’t eat jelly with a fork, no matter how pretty that fork is, so find something that’s actually relevant. Whether it’s strawberries the reflect the flavour, a spoon or a piece of crockery that has flecks of the colour running through it, these all help to create an aesthetically pleasing image.
2. Textures and colours can help lift a dish – wooden boards, muslin, newspapers and even raw ingredients help accentuate the colours and complimentary flavours of the dish you’re photographing. Whether it relates to the produce origins or the season it’s grown in, the surrounding frame of your image is just as important as what’s inside it.
3. Natural light is always best – combine this with f/3.5 and 1/100 shooting settings, and you’ll be capturing those dreamy crisp yet softly edged photos in no time!
4. Change your angles – there are three classic ways to shoot food; bird’s eye (aka, the flatlay), the 3/4 shot and eye-level. All three of these create dynamic shots that tell different stories, allowing you to see the bigger picture or the up close insides of, say, some delicious cake or a pie. Now I want pie.
5. Think about food presentation – there’s nothing worse that dishing up some soup, adding a lovely arranged topping and then moving it to your set-up; cue the dreaded soup lines! Take time before serving the food to arrange your surroundings, place your dish or crockery in position and then plate up. Don’t settle for anything less than perfection (but don’t let your food get cold!).
6. Show off interesting personality within the produce – whether it’s natural cracks in the bread, shape or colours, make sure you get in close to capture those details!
7. Think about what you are shooting – is it a lifestyle aspect of food or produce itself? Play around with focus, what is the main subject? Whether it’s a chef or an apple, how you set up and decide to capture the image is what will take it from okay to OH HAY!
A big thank you to Pink Lady Apples and Aspire for giving new life to my food photos, and if you want to see more of the day there’s a snippet in this week’s vlog of what we did on the day!
Are you a food photography fan? What are your tips to capture life in produce? Have you ever got excited about cinnamon in photos like I have?
Lots of Love,
Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more.