Do you want grow your restaurant business? Then understanding the importance of food photography for your restaurant marketing campaign is must.
People find it difficult to arrange a proper setup and skills to capture gorgeous, high-quality food images for magazines and social media.
Capturing great food photographs is not difficult; you have to maintain certain fundamentals. Analyze the environment and adjust the composition, lighting, and stylings.
To make things simpler, we are here to provide you with basic food photography techniques to improve your food photography.
Food Photography Basics
Some important quick tips that you must include to enhance the effectiveness of your food photography. These photos truly reflect the story behind the food preparation with its best serving.
Camera and Its Angle Management
Food photography includes some precise photography techniques with proper adjustment of camera angles. Food photography is not for every individual as its demands precise skills to capture the real texture of the food.
So, you must be very much conscious in managing the perfect angle of the camera. The placement of the camera enhances the quality of your food. Decorate your food with the best tops to present its unique shape, size, and qualities.
For years I’m into food photography and with the experience, I noticed that every food requires a different shooting angle. You need to test precisely which angle serves the best detail of the food.
If you are willing to showcase the freshly prepared cupcakes, you just shot them from its front side as it helps the spiraled and delicate toppings stand out. But if you shot a photograph from the top, it will diminish the shape and size of the cupcake.
However, in salmon tacos, it is very difficult to see all the beautiful ingredients if shot from the front. So, it is always best to have a top shot at defining your delicious tacos.
Create a great background and foreground for your food
It is not always possible to achieve great shots even if you set your camera at a perfect angle. Well, to improve the photo of your food, you need to focus on its foreground and background to play the real story behind it.
When I started my photography career, I never gave importance to small items or objects around the main subject. But later in realized that odd or opposite-looking objects or items enrich the real feel of your focused subject.
From then I started collecting various stationery items like buttons, coins, spoons, antiques, and other uncommon things. These rare items help me in enhancing the background and foreground of my food photographs.
When you decorate the main dish with related ingredients and props, it enhances the feel and grace of the food. Some of the best props and ingredients you can use are cooking utensils, sauces, and oils.
You can use herbs, jars, fabrics, tins, linens, and glasses to precisely season your dish for decorating your serving. The addition of the above props and ingredients elevates the story of the dish and its true essence.
Light and Use of Natural Sunlight
As we all know that lighting is very important for achieving great photographs. Various tools contribute to offering a precisely controlled light for next-level food photography.
A poor light spoils the food photography and immediately destroys the audience’s base. So, always plan precisely with the best lighting to produce the best background story of your food.
I use cardboard and blackboard to optimize the sunlight’s intensity as per food’s color and appearance. I love to create unique shadow patterns with the help of sunlight. It enhances the story behind the food preparing and dressing perfections.
Not all light adjustments are indeed possible with reflectors or blockers. So, you need to work with your camera settings to give it a gorgeous look.
If you want to use natural sunlight for photography, we suggest adding a diffuser between the window and table. Highly intensive direct sunlight is not good for balanced food photography.
So, with a diffuser, you can improve the quality of light. It helps soften the dark and hard dark shadows and delivers the best highlighting ambiance to your food.
At times I faced lighting issues while photographing with direct sunlight. Direct natural sunlight brightens the background and props more than that of the subject. If you forget to place your subject at the brightest spot of the photograph, it spoils the whole story.
Hold the Best Color
A food photograph demands numerous tweaks and techniques to hunt the best photographs of your food. I prefer to add color themes that go best with the food, props, background, and tableware.
In the below photography you will notice how I decorated the background of the bowl of food with dark shade. The dark shade helps in popping out the red-colored food. It successfully generates a contrast between the food and surroundings.
So I suggest you work on your color combinations to improve your food photography skills.
If you want to add a unique look to your food decoration, try out adding your favorite colors. A colorful prop can substantiality enhances the appearance of the food and easily gain the audience’s attention.
When you add different types of props into your food photos, but make sure to maintain a neutral tone that helps the food pop out from the image. Selecting a dark background amplifies the bright food ingredients, which steal the attention.
A Perfect Striking Composition
Arranging the food with various items and props offers a great composed photograph. In a perfect food photograph, you can easily identify the primary subject on the plate. On the other hand, you need to have precise lighting to have a brilliant food photograph.
It is important to choose the main subject and highlight the specific part of the photograph. You should adjust the specific frame to capture the melting cheese rather than the whole cheese sandwich.
A flat fresh round pizza appears best if shot directly from the top. But if you want to capture a tall ice cream at an angle of 45 °. This angle helps in focusing on the three-dimensional contours of the scoop.
It is also a great idea to capture food photos clockwise or counterclockwise to achieve an interesting composition. It offers a view that resembles a beautiful plat looks like a flying saucer. However, try to keep your camera straight if your image holds strong lines.
Getting Creative with Props and Styling
When you want to experience something interesting, it is always best to implement creativity in decorating food with props. The use of styling items will help you to capture next-level food photographs.
These techniques and tricks are best in decorating unappetizing dishes, including chunky soups, messy sandwiches, and other sausages.
For best results, you must consider few things to click the best food photography for your restaurants:
- Always choose the plate wisely to decorate with a unique style
- Add new dimensions and improved personality with decorative items and accessories.
- Garish the dish with herbs, condiments, and toppings
- Enhance the dish decoration with props, a variety of cutlery, and dish styles
- Add creativity with some special backgrounds and foregrounds
- Always use clean accessories to decorate in a hygienic way
- Take shots that include hands holding a spoon or fork.
Equipment Needed to Food Photography
Now it’s the time to interact with some serious technical equipment. This equipment helps in capturing authentic food photographs.
It is very hard for a photographer to achieve great shots without sufficient intensity of light. So almost all photographers prefer to have studio lights in case enough natural light is not available. In most scenarios, artificial lighting serves as the best source of light with a truly natural appearance.
We prefer to have studio light in our office to shot our photographs even in daylight. The best advantage of inducing a softbox helps in better color control and shadow management.
Soft boxes are somehow expensive, so they minimize the cost, you can opt for hot shoe flashes on top of your DSLR. These lights are excellent in capturing the best food photographs.
Bounce Card or Reflector
A reflector or a Bounce Card is a white surface that can be placed opposite to the light source. It helps in bouncing back the light waves onto the subject by filling the dark areas or shadows.
Suppose you are not in a mood to invest in a reflector or bounce card. In that case, take a large white piece of poster board that will serve similar needs. It will cost you only $10 and is easily available in most office supplies stores.
It will also help you to eliminate some amount of light and create a moodier effect for the subject. But these can only be achieved with a blackboard that truly absorbs light.
Don’t you have the camera shakes in your photographs and footage? So, to eliminate the issue, you must have a good quality tripod. It helps in capturing critical shots with maximum details, crisp and clear.
Food photography is critical as a slight blur is highly noticeable in a perfectly decorated dish on the plate. Once you mount your DSLR on top of a tripod, then you don’t have to worry about unwanted movement causing blurs.
The main advantage of tripods is that it allows you to capture multiple shots without shifting the projection angle. That is why a tripod is one of the finest photography tools to best food photographs for restaurants.
There are expensive tripods that allow you to capture overhead images. Tripods come in variable sizes, shapes which makes them suitable for smartphones, DSLR, and heavy-duty professional rigs.
Camera Tweaks and Settings
There are multiple adjustments that your DSLR offers for producing extraordinary food photos. Most new DSLR users prefer to click images only in automatic mode. In this case, the camera senses the lighting condition and optimizes its focus and other technicality as per best results.
But professional food photographers prefer to adjust settings as per their need and photographic angle. Some of the technical features are:
It is the rate at which your camera’s shutter opens and closes, and it is expressed in fractions of seconds. You will find shutter speed mentioned on your camera and are only in whole numbers.
For example, if the shutter speed is 80, it will; be denoted as 1/80th of a second. More the number higher will be the camera’s shutter speed. If your camera’s shutter speed is very slow, then there is always a risk of capturing a blurry photo. A slow shutter speed camera suffers the most detecting motions.
For example, if your camera’s shutter speed is 1/40th of a second, then it is fine to capture all types of photos. But always try to have 1/80th of a second but something lower than 1/20th of a second, then it struggles in capturing clear shots without tripods.
It is the characteristic of the digital camera sensor. It is always better to have a camera with a higher ISO which helps the sensor register light faster. It also indicates that your camera’s shutter speed is also very fast.
If you want to have night food shots, this feature allows the camera lens to open a wider aperture. But if your shutter speed is not fast enough to capture a clear image.
Photographs captured with higher ISO will make your image grainer. However, it is best to capture small images, but you will notice quality loss issues in larger-sized images.
To maintain the best crisp and clear food photographs, you must keep your ISO close to 400 in daylight and never go higher than 1600.
An aperture is a centric hole that is manly formed with the help of rings of the blades. The blades help adjust the hole’s size to control and regulate the amount of light that enters into the camera and strikes the camera sensor.
The size of the hole is generally measured in f-stops. The term is very simple but understands the detailed concept behind it is far more confusing. The F-stops in measured in fractions of 1/x.
So, if the f-stop is 2, then the aperture is half-opened. However, if the f stop is 18, then the aperture is only 1/18th open. So, if the number of off-stops is less, the aperture opens wider, allowing more light to enter.
In general, most DSLR camera and lenses offers an aperture range of around 2.5 to 18. Wider the aperture allows more light to enter, and this eliminates blurry shots issues.
If your shutter speed and aperture are precisely balancing, there are still chances to capture poor and inaccurate colors. Most restaurants are filled with incandescent, candlelight, or other forms of yellowish light.
Your eyes can easily adjust the color tone, but the camera sensor struggles to capture the original color. Here comes the real need for white balance. It helps you to eliminates unwanted color and capture the real color of the food.
Nowadays, almost all cameras come with a custom white balance adjustment feature. The best and precise method to set the white balance is to capture a white or gray object and balance your camera’s white balance.
It is a software-based photo editing that allows you to modify your raw files withs some common and useful techniques.
- Fixing White balance
- Adjusting dark and bright levels
- Managing brightness, saturation, and contrast
Some of the popular photo editing software are photoshop, iPhoto, light room. These offer you various tweaks and techniques.
All basic and technical adjustments will help you to capture crisp, vivid food photographs. Never compromise with light as it limits the camera sensor to capture the details of the subject. For a restaurant, photography focuses on decorative items and maintains a contrast that makes your food pop out of the rest.