How to Take Mouthwatering Food Photography

How to take mouth watering food photography

How to take mouth watering food photography requires the right equipment and knowing how to use them.

Food photography is defined as still life photography of food.  Also, defined as a commercial photography specialization whose photos are used in cookbooks, menus, magazines, and advertisements.  

Professional food photography requires collaboration between a photographer, an art director, a prop stylist, and a food stylist. Food photography often exaggerates the size and attractiveness when used to advertise foods like fast food.

Cameras

Before explaining the best methods for taking awesome food photos, you need to know the best cameras for food photography.  One reviewer made these recommendations in July, 2016:

While Canon cameras are less expensive than Nikon, Canons are an excellent value.  The CANON EOS REBEL T5i DIGITAL SLR CAMERA (Price ranges $599 to $650) is very popular.  The little “i” in the T5i is important because it includes a touch screen with higher resolution and a flip out screen which is great for video.  It also has a sensor crop factor of 1.6 which means when you attach a 50mm lens it will be like an 80mm lens (50 x 1.6). If these features are not important for you then the T5 selling for $200 less will be perfect for your food photography.  The Rebel also has a pop-up flash which is great for people shots, but not adequate for food shots.  Beware of buying accessories online which may not work on the pro camera body.

The CANON EOS 70D came in second place for being more expensive (price ranges $680 to $999).  However, it is an upgrade from the Rebel brands due to its 19 focusing point feature compared to the Rebel’s 9.  More camera focusing points allow you to maintain better control of what you want to focus on.  This camera also has a sensor crop factor of 1.6 like the Rebel T5i.

The CANON EOS 80D came in third place due to its higher price (price ranges $900 to $1199).  The 80D has 45 focusing points and a sensor crop factor of 1.6.      

Setup

The food photography process begins with the purchase of the food and ingredients.  Select the most visually perfect foods with multiple backups.  The best looking one is called the “hero” for the featured photos.  However, card board stand-ins are used for the test shoots.  The actual photographing may occur in a studio using controlled lighting or using natural light.  Most food photographers prefer using natural lighting to make the food as attractive as possible without distraction.  In addition, the texture and color of the selected background will compliment the food.  

Styling   

Believe it or not, there is a career in being a food stylist.  Food styling is an art by arranging foods to make them look fresh and tasty.  The photos of foods you see in menus, magazines, cookbooks, and advertisements were styled.  In essence, a food stylist plans, prepares and stages foods for photographs.  

Food stylists use many techniques to make food look attractive, such as:

• Blanching green vegetables bringing out their bright colors instead of completely cooking them.   

• Spraying foods with water or mixing water with corn syrup to keep their fresh appearance.

• Using heavy cream instead of milk to prevent cereals from getting soggy in the bowl.

• Using artificial ice cubes in cold drinks so they don’t melt during the shoot.

• Using steam to create that just cooked image.  Tricks to create steam include soaking cotton balls in water and microwaving them and placing them behind the dish.

Equipment

Adequate lighting is essential in food photography.  However, artificial lighting tends to interfere with the natural food colors.  Photographing food near a window with ample natural daylight works best.  Sometimes, in order to cut out shadows, daylight is supported with flash bounced off a wall or ceiling to balance the lighting.   

Props display the food in proper context.  You may include a bowl or plate with table settings to appear as a more natural setting.  Only use one or two extra elements like a spoon, a glass, or napkin.  You do not want to have a full table setting cluttering the photo.  Many food photographers prefer having these elements either in the background or foreground so as not to distract the food in the shot.

Photo Tips

This food photography school provides valuable tips for taking better photos.

Work fast as food does not keep its appetizing look for long.  Photographers usually take enough test shots of a stand-in with the props so everything is ready for a quick shot when the “hero” food is put into position.   

Use style to display the food.  The manner food is placed on a plate is as important as the way you photograph it.  The balance of the food in a photo (shape, color, background, etc.) is also important.  Guide the viewer’s eye into the dish.  

Enhance the foods such as the food stylist tips above to make them glisten in your photos.

Get level with the food as too many beginners take shots looking down on a dish from above.  In most cases, shooting level with the dish or slightly above creates better shots.

Camera Angles

When shooting foods choosing the best angle is critical.  Just like photographing people where each person has his or her best side, the same principle applies for food.  

A shot completely centered on the subject is very effective.  A centered shot creates a clean contemporary feel and look.

Some foods look better with an overhead shot.  The camera must be directly above the food and centered perfectly.  An overhead angle produces a graphic, contemporary look.  However, overheads are two dimensional lacking in depth of field with no prominent perspective making them a challenge to perfect.

Close ups of appetizing images can be very appealing.

Final Tips

Great food photos makes you salivate with hunger desiring to take a bite or more.  Make your food photos seductive.  There are fantastic food photography websites known as food porn sites.  Foodgawker and Tastespotting are the two most popular ones containing mouth watering food photos and recipes for creating them.

Conclusion

How to take mouth watering food photography involves knowing the right cameras, setup, styling, equipment, and photo tips.  After reading about what it takes to create seductive food photos you might consider hiring a professional food photography company which can use a food stylist, quality cameras and equipment along with professional cameramen and props.

In 2015, Steven completed an Online Marketing 20 hour live seminars course which covered SEO, PPC, Affiliate Marketing, Social Media, Mobile Devices, Reputation Building, and Converting Visitors into Buyers techniques taught by the Shaw Academy in London, UK.

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