Pro Tips for Beginning Bloggers – Food Photography 101

iced coffee

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Digital photography has become a bit of an obsession lately. According to Instagram, more than 6 million photographs are uploaded to the popular social media site each day. This incredible number grows by leaps and bounds each day as more people use their smartphones and digital cameras to upload and share the images they capture.

Food Blogs – The New Way To Share Favorite Recipes

From beauty and fashion, to homemade crafts, baking cakes and cooking, and everything in between, there’s a niche for everything on the internet.  Trends come and go, but if there’s one topic people love to discuss daily it’s food.  Trouble is, capturing a great photograph of food is tricky.  For a professional look in your food blog photos there are a few essential tips which will take your food photos from humdrum to yum-yum! You can even call upon some of these tricks with your smartphone when you’re  out at a restaurant with friends and you want to upload the experience to Yelp or Facebook.

Easy Ways to Make Your Food Photos Appetizing

  • Keep it Natural – Chances are, if you’re just starting out as a food blogger, you don’t have a professional grade digital camera with a slew of different lens and exposure options. That’s okay! Lighting is the number one secret to a great food photograph and there’s no better light source than the natural light provided by the sun.
  • When working with natural lighting you may want to consider the white balance of your camera because sometimes the soft, natural light of daylight can cast a bluish tint to white objects.  This is easily adjusted with the white balance of your camera, when focused upon something white such as a napkin or piece of paper.
  • Location, Location, Location – Place your delectable food near a sunny window, or go outside on the patio to take advantage of the late-afternoon rays. Get creative with setting up your shot when calling upon the soft, natural light of the sun.  Many professional cookbook images were captured without filters and light boxes, using only the natural light of the sun.  Your food will have that just-served-at-a-party feel to it that makes it look even more appetizing.
  • Less is More – Because your tasty dish is the central focal point of the image it’s important to keep the picture as uncluttered as possible.  This means using only a few dry ingredients as props in the shot, or just a single place setting to really frame the meal.
  • Tasty Angles – For a salad or appetizer that doesn’t really have a distinct point of focus, it’s advisable to shoot the plate from above to take in the entirety of the plate without drawing the eye to any one place in particular. Otherwise a good rule of thumb is to use an angle around 45 degrees, not straight on, and not straight above, but just about three-quarters in between. When working on the composition of the photo, try to keep it interesting and uncluttered.  Remember the focus is on the food and making it look as appetizing as possible.
  • Pretty, Neat – Keep several varieties of plates, bowls, saucers, and other serving options on hand, but don’t worry about buying matching sets for several guests.  The idea here is to have as many options as possible to keep your photographs looking interesting, elegant and professionally composed. White, or plain place settings work best for obtaining a professional look in your blog photos. Also, make sure to clean up any spills, smears, or sauce puddles before taking a picture of the meal to keep it looking tasty instead of hasty.
  • Timing Is Essential – Keeping meat and vegetables looking tasty and appetizing is difficult in food photography.  One of the secrets the pros use is to set up the shot early, setting up the camera on a tripod with the best angle of lighting.  Then, before the meat or veggies are fully cooked, the pictures are snapped while the food still looks most appealing.  Once the ideal shot has been captured the food is cooked the rest of the way through.
caesar salad

Image courtesy of KEKO64 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Have Fun With Your Food

There are some serious challenges to photographing food, especially meat and vegetables.  It takes a lot of creativity and close attention to things photos don’t normally address.  To keep your food looking as attractive as possible, don’t be afraid to call upon tools like a glaze of vegetable oil or a misting of water to give some texture and appeal to the image. Play with your angles, props, and accessories to get the most appetizing look to your food, and it’s always wise to have a tripod handy to keep the shot steady and sharp.