Colors, shapes, texture – a food photographer strives to capture the pure essence of food. Our goal is to make you want to reach right in and grab a bite. Hungry yet? Okay, our job is done. From a rustic loaf of bread to a slice of flourless chocolate cake, we’re recreating the experience of sitting in a French café or sharing a romantic dessert. The backdrop, plates, food – it all matters, and it’s all got to look incredible. If you’re feeling less than enthusiastic about your food photography, it might be time to step up your game. Check out the 7 things the best food photographers are doing that you aren’t, and make some changes now!
1. Shooting from a Tripod
From perfect composition to shutter speed flexibility, a tripod is non-negotiable. It stabilizes your camera for incredibly amazing shots – because who wants to see blurry food? A tripod allows you to rearrange little details like fork placement or garnishes, all-the-while keeping your camera exactly where you want it. And if you need an extra set of hands, a tripod allows you to use your own in the shot as it holds the camera. Brilliant! Okay, go buy a tripod!
2. And Tethering, too
Are you using a tether cable? It's a cable that’s plugged into your camera and also attached to your computer. While you shoot, the images show up on your computer. It’s really the only way to know exactly what you’re shooting on the fly, and allows you to edit and control your settings as you shoot.
3. Using Black Bounce Boards
Set the mood – dark and moody, that is. If you haven’t ventured beyond a white board, it’s time to try out this dramatic style. It won’t cost you much to get this raw and rustic look. Just grab some black foam core from the craft store and you’re good to go!
4. Creating Unique Visuals
It’s not all about the food. The main dish is only part of the equation. Food photographers style their images with background dishes, flatware, textured linens, and other ingredients to draw the eye toward the main subject while at the same time creating a style or story. Aside from the food, consider the following to tie your shot together:
- table + toppings
- creating a style or look
- shoot on scenes
- obsessively hunting down props
5. Using Lightroom Presets
Enhance your food images with Lightroom presets. For those unfamiliar with presets, they’re a collection of photo edit settings in Lightroom that are bundled into a single click, allowing you to edit photos efficiently and ultimately saving you time. With Lightroom presets, create consistency, customize to your style, and bring out the flavor and texture of food.
6. Shooting & Shooting Some More. And More. And More
Take more shots. It seems like such simple advice, so just go and do it! Pick up your camera more, bring it everywhere, take extra shots of the artichoke or the avocado toast or the shortbread cookie. It may be your best one yet. The more you shoot, the better you get. The more time you spend using your camera, the better you’ll get.
7. Calling Themselves a Photographer
Don’t be shy! Go ahead, repeat after me, “I am a photographer.” See, you can do it! In this big and wonderful world, there’s room for you to create beautiful images. Call yourself a photographer and be proud.
FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY GEEK-OUT MOMENT
These images were shot with a Canon 5D Mk III paired with a SigmaArt 35mm f/1.4 lens. I love that lens. A lifestyle photog friend mentioned it was her go-to lens for family and portrait shoots, so I figured I'd give it a try. It's gorgeous. As with all the SigmaArt lenses, it's just a dream to have in your arsenal.
See my camera setup and discover even more tricks with my 90-Minute Food Photography Crash Course.
DID YOU KNOW I JUST LAUNCHED AN ALL NEW DocuVlog?
Discover what A Day in the Life of A Food Photographer is like. Go inside my studio, visit me behind-the-scenes and see what I've got cookin' up. WATCH SEASON 1 of LOVE, LARK NOW.
Wanna nerd out even more? Find tricks, tips and answers 24/7 in my Food Blogging, Photography & Videography Facebook Group. It's free to join!