We receive a lot of questions about how to take great food photos. We like to think of the process as more of an art than an exact science. There’s no one way to capture a perfect image of your food. (And we often take photos that are far less than perfect, especially in this Instagram-worthy world.)
But there are few things you must do to come up with a good photo to showcase your food, whether a homemade dish or a restaurant plate. Here they are:
Consider the BACKGROUND. – Remove distractions, with a solid backdrop if possible. You can crop later, but you can save a lot of hassle if you shoot what you’re looking for the first time, or on a subsequent attempt. If you’re dining out, think about ways to position scene-setting props within your photo. For example, eating a doughnut from your favorite shop? Place the box with a logo in your background to help the photo tell a story! If you’re cooking at home and prepare a plate you want to share, consider solid backgrounds for your photo. We often use sheets of white cardstock for a plain backdrop.
See it in the right LIGHT. – Natural light is best, followed by a clear light next. You’ll want to eliminate as many shadows and reflections as possible to get a good clear image. This will help color as well. You can adjust light and color with filters in smartphone apps, but the best images are the originals you capture. Try to eliminate undesirable blue and yellow hues you might encounter with certain lightbulbs. If you have a window that allows natural sunlight into your home or a restaurant seating area, position your food in that light instead of using the indoor lights. Some food photo aficionados even carry around a snazzy portable light to improve their images.
Give it a FRAME. – We’re not talking about an actual frame or a Snapchat filter. We’re talking about positioning the plate or cup at the best possible angle when viewed on your screen. Experiment with rotating around your subject and moving closer and farther from the camera. Be sure what’s on your plate is also as neat as possible to look the best in your shot.
Enhance with an APP – Aim for the best natural photo you can snap, then use the tools already available in an app like Instagram to simply edit your image and make it pop. Editing options like sharpening, brightness and saturation help add clarity to your photo and make the colors shine!