Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know we’re in the middle of Oktoberfest. Events like this are perfect to boost your Instagram following and build buzz around your brand. But if you’re like many restaurants and cafes, your food photography could be better.
Here’s 3 quick tips from a professional food photographer to improve your images.
Food Photography Tip #1: What to Photograph, Composition and Intention
The first thing I would say is to be intentional when creating an image. I recommend you go online and get some inspiration first. Then use these ideas as a guide to create your own take on it.
When deciding on something to photograph, look for things that are aesthetically pleasing, surprising or are interesting in some way.
You’ll then want to create a story around it. Why are the items you’ve chosen there? Think about the background or location. What does it say? Add appropriate props e.g. for an Oktoberfest beer you might show the beer in a stein and with some pretzels or something else traditional. The props you chose must make sense to the viewer. Don’t add things in your photos just because you like them.
A photo is about creating emotion and taking the viewer somewhere. One way I do this is to add an element of movement in my shots. When you do this you’ll add interest and engage the viewer.
Here’s some ideas to add movement to your images: capture steaming food to show it’s fresh and hot out of the oven, show a drink or sauce being poured, capture bubbles in a drink, show condensation so we know it’s cold.
Food Photography Tip #3: Lighting – Turn Off Your Flash
Lighting is the key to pulling out the beauty in mundane or less than appealing food. And although I can’t condense thousands of hours of experience into one paragraph, these tips below will help you.
The biggest mistake made by many restaurants and cafes is using the on-board flash that is on their camera or phone. Using the flash results in harsh shadows and a normally a flat boring image.
As a food photographer I recommend non-professionals to go and find a window with natural light coming in. And turn off the room lights. Don’t want to mix daylight and artificial light.
Set things up in such a way that you’re facing the lens at the window or so the window is to one side. But don’t have the window to your back – it doesn’t make food look good.
Back and side light looks best and will add dimension and shimmer to your food. For drinks, backlight will let the light shine through the drink and give it an appealing glow.
If you follow these tips, you’ll certainly improve your photography results. Raise your stein to that!