How to Up your Foodie Photography Game

Food is beautiful, so why not photograph it that way?

During the holidays we gather with family and dine on exquisitely prepared feasts in celebration of the season.

I’m a bit of a photography junkie. My love for exploring Instagram coupled with an art history Bachelor’s degree means I can help you improve your foodie photography game.

Next time you’re uploading food photographs to your social media feeds remember these simple tips and you’ll be on your way to becoming a foodie photography extraordinaire!

 

COMPOSITION

Capture a different vantage

Capture a different vantage

Composition is all about finding a unique perspective. Avoid placing the subject of your shot in the center of the frame or photographing the front label of the object. You can always include handles and hashtags to properly attribute (aka brag) about the cool new brew you’ve discovered in the post’s text.

Think about what you’re photographing and angle your camera to catch its unique characteristics. For example, champagne is served in flutes so the bubbles can travel upwards more easily. The unique perspective in this photograph shows the bubbles gathered at the top of the flute.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

BACKDROP

Backdrop

Yummy pie, but what’s that in the background?

It is tantalizing to take photograph your food the second it is removed form the oven, almost as if that shot can catch the aroma and warmth emanating from the dish. I know that moment all too well. In this photograph I was photographing an open-faced pie seconds out of the oven. I was so excited to post it on social media ASAP that I didn’t notice one of my guests in the background.

What I should have done is set up a small staging area with a better backdrop while the pie was in the oven. This way my guests wouldn’t be embarrassed and I would have a more neutral backdrop to showcase my dessert masterpiece. It’s important to take those small moments to marvel in your accomplishments, just remember you want your foodie photographs to impress the pants off your social media followers!

 
 
 
 

LIGHTING

Lighting (Bad)

Tasty, but what an awful color!

Every chapter of an art history textbook, from the cave paintings in Lascaux to the Glass Pyramid at the Louvre, will spell out for you the importance of lighting. There is no difference when it comes to photographing for social media.

I took this picture to highlight all of the bad lighting choices you can make. (Get the pun?!)

  1. Stark overhead lighting is never a good idea when you’re trying to take a bird’s eye view. You’ll have to pull gymnastic moves akin to Gabrielle Douglas in order to avoid casting your shadow over the shot.
  2. It is very difficult to take a photograph with only 2 colors; even black and white photographs have shades of gray.
  3. If you’re doing a close up of small objects try not to pile them so close together, this way they will not cast a shadow on each other and the entirety of the object is visible
 
 
 
 
 

PROVIDE CONTEXT

Context

What a quaint scene.

This tip is very easy to remember and sometimes really improves the meaning behind your photograph. Try to include some context behind what or why you’re choosing this specific recipe or including a particular ingredient.

I recently completed my Master’s Degree in Wales where, in the more rural parts of the country, milk orders are still delivered to your doorstep. While interning with the Hay Festival I saw this quaint scene and had to photograph it. Most of us consume milk on a regular basis but never really think about how it comes to us. This moment made me think about a simpler time when a member of the community, maybe even a friend, delivered a locally sourced ingredient right to your doorstep.

 
 
 
 
 

BE THEME-CENTRIC

Wales, land of tea and cakes - yum!

Wales, land of tea and cakes – yum!

Just like how it is important to provide context, it’s also important to keep in mind the central theme of your photograph. If a pie, a roast chicken, and a pile of raw vegetables are all center stage how will your followers determine the message you’re looking to get across? Keep your composition simple, make sure the central focus is easily ascertained.

This photograph is my homage to a year in Wales. Both the Welsh cakes and the tea are domestic products of Wales and remind me of one of the best years of my life. When I look at this photograph I think about the strong character of the Welsh people and the friends I made there.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

WHOOPS! MOMENTS

Whoops! moments are sometimes too cool to cry over.

Whoops! moments are sometimes too cool to cry over.

Some of my best photographs are not the ones showcasing my most beautiful culinary achievements; they’re often the documentation of my most flat out failures. No, we don’t want to admit that some days we’re the furthest thing from the next Julia Child – but, like Forrest Gump said, **it happens.

A broken jar of olives on the side of the road might just be something to step over, but this was the culmination of a very, very long day. Surprisingly, however, the SPLAT! sound was very satisfying.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

PS: AFTERMATH

AftermathSometimes the aftermath of a feast is more tantalizing than a table laden with delicacies. This type of shot is bound to have your followers commenting with questions about your latest culinary conquests.

PPS: Remember, Photoshop is always your friend. The software is very easy to learn and if you’re a student or a teacher they offer a great discount.

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