FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS


(Food photography Session at Souchefs Kitchen.)

Everyone loves to eat especially when food being served are, aside from being yummy and delicious, it's also presentably-artistically-inviting or tempting to our eyes. No question about it. 



Today, food aren't just food for our taste buds, but it also became food for our eyes and memories. Almost all, specifically the millenials take and make photos of what they eat and share it to the world on social media. We have the most powerful tool in our hands today, DSLR, Mirrorless, and even our mobile phone camera. Anyone can take and make great photos of almost anything.

Food photography is the same with other types of photography. It needs the basics of photography, the artistic skills of the person behind the lens including his/her team, and the end result of it is that, our photo must be inviting enough to our audience.


THINGS TO CONSIDER

1. KNOW THE TYPE OF SHOOT

If we are invited to do some photo sessions, ask the purpose of the shoot: if it is for flyers, magazine, tarpaulin, Sintra boards,  or for their web page. For this type of shoot, we must use proper gears to get better resolutions for prints and for artistically cropping the photos without compromising much the resolution of the photo for their webpage.

If it's for our own social media accounts such as Instagram or Twitter or Facebook, our mobile cam will do. Emphasizing on "will do." Am not saying mobile phones aren't that good but you will know the difference when you start to have your own clients. 

2. KNOW  YOUR GEAR


We must know our gear. How it works and how it should work or else our photos will never look good. There was an ancient saying "Know thy Self" by Socrates meaning if we know our strength and limits, we'll know how to deal with everything.

A tip here: Know how to focus. On Cameras, learn how to HALF-PRESS the shutter button before taking the shot. Most people doesn't know this. When we press the shutter button halfway, it allows our camera to find its focus. When it focuses, the camera will give us sign (usually a sound or a red light for DSLR cameras, but for compact cams and some mirrorless cams, a sound or a green light) so we can fully click the shutter. 


On Mobile phones, for mobile phones that don't have manual settings, don't just rely on its auto-focus method, TAP the monitor where to focus and it will not only focus but also measures the light.

3.  KNOW THE TIME & PLACE OF PHOTO SESSION

Know the time of the shoot if it is daylight or at night; if the place has some good light or low light; if the venue has a wide area or not so we can prepare our essential gears. It's not practical to bring our studio at the venue of the shoot. I hope you get what I mean. Bring only the essentials. 

BASIC FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS

1. UNDERSTAND LIGHT AND SHADOW


I am not against of using off camera flash to add light, I am also using off cam flashes, but I am not a fan of it. I prefer using natural lights during my shoots if it is available. So let's find the light. 

By the way, instead of a speed light, I used a LED light to brighten up my subject. 


"It is a must in photography to find the best light for our subject." Many photographers will say that but let's not also forget its opposite, let us also understand Shadows. It's like yin and yang. We can't make a good photograph if we can't understand shadows... or else our photos will be all white or too bright like this:



Notice the white colors? It's overexposed from light. I did not take notice of how much my subject was exposed to light during this click. It's overexposed and the picture doesn't tell anything about the food. Since most cameras today also mobile cams have preview monitor, I think it's also important to look at our shots if we're not that good in measuring lights and shadows. Am one of the many guys in this world that doesn't know how to measure light. LOL!

So, what I did, I moved my subject a li'l bit farther from the light where shadows will be visible to add contrast.



2. DO NOT OVERDO "BOKEH"

"In photography, bokeh (originally /ˈboʊkɛ/, /ˈboʊkeɪ/ BOH-kay — also sometimes pronounced as /ˈboʊkə/ BOH-kə, Japanese: [boke]) is the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens."  - from Wikipedia

Bokeh is awesome. Everyone loves seeing their photos with a blurred background but in product or food photography, overdoing is not flattering. Actually, everything that is more than enough is not good.

The photo I took below is not that attractive because almost everything in the picture is blurred. 
 

So checking our settings will resolve this issue.  Am not gonna do the math in Shooting in F1.4, 1.8, or 2.8 or even F22 here because this post is also about using mobile phones that don't have these feature so all I can say is, a minimal amount of blurry background will do or make it sharp to be safe.

Food being photographed must be clear to let the viewers experience its taste even just by looking at it. 

3. FRESH IS GREAT

Even in photography, using freshly cooked meals are better. Who would be inspired to eat wrinkled, scarred fruits and veggies or old meat? 

During photo sessions for food, some love to take photos of food when it is half cooked or not half cooked, they apply oil to make it look vibrant and stunning. In my part, I do the opposite. I prefer to take photos of food as what it is. This is what it looks like in reality so it should be photographed as what it is. The presentation, plating, and the designs? . . . I leave it to the chef. I give my trust and respect to the chef who does his art and it's my role to capture and present to everyone the chef's masterpiece.

4.USE PROPS

Props really do help to make our photo look impressive. Imagine the photo below without the onions, how will it look like? 



Though the photo is not yet enough but I am okay with it having the onions there to give more contrast and color. 

Side note: Actually, when the Siomai was served to us, onions weren't there. Only the Siomai and the white plate. Despite being so busy, the chef came to the rescue! I have to emphasize this one, he was really busy cooking for the Souchefs Kitchen's faithful clients.

Remember this, if you are invited to blog or do a photo session at a cafe or resto, be humble enough to understand that there are clients that need to be attended first. Never feel being a VIP just because you are blogging/photographing their products. Pay respect because we are also being respected with our thing.


 Use simple props, including raw ingredients to avoid flat photos and let the essential stand out, and what is that? - the food! 



5. MAKE IT SIMPLE

As simple as that, make it simple. Take away unnecessary elements that could ruin your photographs...


.... or should you include it, let the main subject be the focus of your photos.



6. UNUSUAL POINT OF VIEW

 Another common tip in photography is the Angle. We have to make our viewers see what is not commonly visible to their eyes. Vary our camera angles, zoom in or zoom out just to name a few. 




Honestly, am not a fan of flat lay shots because, first, I don't know how to arrange the subject and its props, second, it's beyond my style. But I do flat lay shots sometimes.



My style is more on close-up shots because it makes me feel that I am drawn to the food and I can taste how yummy it is. And I want to share that through my photos.


7. RESPECT THE CHEF'S STYLE
   
Let the chef do his/her thing with the food design or presentation.  Even if we are a chef, never re-design the food presentations. We can suggest but it's her/his decision that must be affirmed. It's called RESPECT... Unless the chef lets us decide. It's like if we are shooting portraits, the first rule of thumb, not to touch the model, also goes with toy photography - not to redesign the toys.


So that's all for now. More photography tips soon. If you have anything to say or something to share or add, please feel free to share them below (comment section). 

8. COMPOSITION

A good photograph is composed well. I think am not gonna discuss this in details because anyone can google it. LOL!

I usually used the rule of thirds, space, filling the frame, patterns, and breaking the rules.   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here are the boys, given the opportunity by Souchefs Kitchen to do food photography. Great Job guys :D




Our experience at Souchefs Kitchen was beyond expectations.We had so much fun for this opportunity not only because of the latter but because the owners were really kind, accommodating and hospitable and as well as their staffs. 

Visit the shop and enjoy their delicious meals. 




~THANK YOU~

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