If you are just starting to take pictures of your food for either a blog, social media account, or just your personal enjoyment, you are probably realizing how frustrating it can be. People post gorgeous pictures of food online every day, so why can’t you? Yet time and time again you try and can’t quite get it right.
Your pictures may be washed out, too dark, or just unappetizing. While you will want to read your owner’s manual eventually, you can get started taking great pictures today. Read on for 9 tips to help you get great pictures of your food.
#1. Find a Favorite Spot
Find the best light in your house, even if you have to leave the kitchen. It may be in your bedroom, living room, or even bathroom (we won’t tell). Once you know where the best light is, that’s where you’ll take your pictures from now on.
While you certainly can take pictures in other areas of your home, finding the best light is the fastest way to make sure your pictures look their best.
#2. Morning Light
Pay attention to the light and when it is best in your new chosen spot. The sun rising and setting should give you one great window to shoot in. While you can definitely take pictures out of this time, don’t be surprised if they don’t turn out as great.
Place something white opposite your window to help reflect light onto the food. This can be a big piece of poster board or even a bed sheet. Sometimes using paper taped together works, as well, and won’t take up a lot of storage space.
Using your “something white” to reflect light onto the food will eliminate any shadows that appear from the light coming from the window. This way your food won’t be half bright, half dark and gloomy.
#4. Plan Properly
Consider what you’re shooting before you get started. Sure, refried beans are delicious, as is split pea soup, but getting a great picture of those is going to be really hard. A gorgeous cake or delicious salad will be a lot easier to shoot.
If you want to have Pinterest-worthy shots of your food then make sure that you start with Pinterest-worthy looking food.
#5. Take Your Time
Give yourself some time with the food. When you’re just beginning you’ll want to avoid trying to shoot something that won’t last for very long. Things like cookies are a great place to start, as they look the same as the day they were baked for a long time.
Ice cream, a steaming plate of mussels, and a leaning tower of a Caprese salad all tend to move or fall apart before you can get a great picture. Give yourself a break when starting out and pick something that isn’t going anywhere.
#6. Green is Good
Make sure there’s something green on your plate to brighten it up. It doesn’t matter if it’s a full side of fresh peas or just a sprig of parsley, green will make your whole dish look more delicious.
#7. Careful Dish Selection
Pick your dishes carefully, and opt for ones that are small and white. This will make your food pop without it having to compete against the dish. While we all love the bright colors of Fiesta dishes, you’re going to have a hard time making your food look appetizing.
Remember: this picture is about your food and how amazing it looks. It’s not an advertisement for the dishes, so keep them small, neutral, and the supporting stars of your shoot.
#8. Neutral Background
Keep the background neutral and simple so that your food really stands out in the picture. Having a selection of neutral colored linens and wood for backdrops will help you add color and interest to the picture without detracting from the food.
#9. Don’t Stop Trying new Techniques
Take a lot of shots, and try out a tripod. Once you spend all your time styling the food, making the background look amazing, and getting in position for the perfect light, please make sure you take enough photographs to work with.
There are few things more frustrating than putting all of your efforts into getting the space ready and then missing the critical shot. Sometimes you have to use a tripod to make sure that the shot isn’t shaky, so be prepared to do that.
It takes a lot of practice to learn how to take the perfect food photograph, but learning is half of the fun. Always start out with delicious looking food and take your time in getting the best shot. Study photographs that others have taken to learn about composition and angles.
Taking time to see the work that other photographers put online is a great way to get inspiration for your work, as well. Remember that learning this skill will take time, so don’t compare your beginning to another person’s success, but do have fun!