Caution: Adorable Ollie will guide you through the process
Making a plate of food look pretty is easy. (That’s usually mostly in the hands of the guy in kitchen.)
The difficult part for most is making it look DESIREABLE within a photograph.
How do I make that plate of food look irresistible?
Well, this is exactly what I’m here to divulge to you.
It’s not easy to shoot food.
I know this and you probably know this also. Where we would usually only need a good light source and a model to take a solid portrait image.
Taking good food (and drink) photography, requires something a little extra, something a little special.
So what are these added extras I hear you cry?!
In this little write up, I’ll be giving you the lowdown on how to create great looking food photography, quickly and easily.
Let’s Talk Spec.
Let’s take a minute to talk about the set up you may need when shooting your nosh.
Anyone who knows photography knows the term ‘aperture‘.
The aperture is assigned to just how wide the hole in your lens is.
The wider the aperture, the more light can enter at one given time.
Phone cameras don’t technically have ‘shutters’ but the aperture and amount of light hitting the sensor will still determine how long it takes for the camera to take the image.
If you can get lots of light into that sensor using a wide aperture, your shutter will be much faster and your image crisper.
A slower shutter speed means motion blur or camera shake – a result that many a photographer dreads! No one likes a blurry image, right?
HINT: KEEP THAT SHUTTER AS FAST AS POSSIBLE!
Most cameras will have what’s called an ISO setting and this adjusts how sensitive your sensor is to light. If you’re really struggling to get a faster shutter because there’s not much available light, you can heighten your ISO, thus making the sensor more sensitive to the light that is available and speeding up the shutter. Simple, right?
BEWARE: When an ISO is too high, we start to get what is called ‘noise’. This looks like a type of grain that sits over the image. Since we’re shooting food, we don’t want too much noise so try to keep that ISO low enough to steer clear of this.
The wider the aperture, the more light available to the sensor, the faster the shutter, the crisper the image.
You’ll also know that a wide aperture means a shallow depth of field – you know, all that blurring you get when your focus falls away quickly? It’s sometimes called ‘bokeh‘? Yeah, that one!
A shallow depth of field is a wonderful way of composing your food photography, but we’ll get on to this in the tips below.
So, now you know you can trust your kit.
Let’s start looking at some hints and tips you can use to really get the most from shooting your food!
TIPS AND TRICKS
Know Your Angle (And your plate!)
This is probably one of this biggest mistakes people make. Angles are totally important in all photography. Just as you’d shoot downward on a portrait subject to keep those pesky double chins out of shot, you’d use something similar for food. However, this isn’t set in stone.
It’s not all about ‘From Above’!
The fad of shooting from above is a strong one. One that has leaked into the likes of social media and now even certain fast food delivery services who shan’t be named. Don’t just reach for the camera and stand on your chair to get above your eggs benedict, or your vegan beef burger. It’s futile. It flattens the entire plate and moreover, it makes you look silly.
Accentuate the Height
Think about this for a second. If your plate has height, then accentuate the height.
Club sandwich? 45 degree angle downwards. Steak Frites? The same applies! Sure, if you’re shooting pizza, soup, noodles, that kind of thing, then take to the skies and go from above but anything with a little substance to it can be dealt with from the comfort of your own seat.
Know Your Proximity
Another big one! Texture and surface is super important in food photography. And the proximity you get to your food is probably one of the most important aspects.
Too far away and your scene starts to get cluttered. Too close and we loose recognition. We lose the fact that it’s food and start to focus on form and shape – trust me, it’s a subconscious thing.
Use That Aperture!
The aperture on your camera is always going to be your best friend or your worst enemy.
You have absolutely no idea what the light is going to be like in the place your shooting. I would always suggest using a lens with the capability for a very wide aperture. If you have a 1.8 aperture, for example, you’re going to be able to get lots and lots of light into the lens, keeping the shutter fast.
It also helps to make use of your shallow depth of field. If you can contain the best parts of your dish within the majority of your focus, it will make for a much more attractive image as we start to lose the focus to the bokeh and the blur behind it.
Natural Light is Your Friend
Oh natural light, how I love thee.
The beautiful thing about restaurants and eateries is that generally, they’re nice places to be! You’re invited in to a space where you should feel comfortable, happy, bright, chipper, on top of the world, and hungry.
Cafes and daytime eateries are usually the best for natural light and if you’re sat by a window, you’ve hit the jackpot my friend.
So that’s just a few little tips to get you on your way. In fact, if you stick to those pointers you really won’t go far wrong.
What NOT to Do
It will go off at points. Just keep it disabled. There’s nothing worse than the glare and bounce of a direct flash and especially on food. It’s all about subtle tones, delicious and delicate colours and mood. This, I guarantee, will not come from a built in flash.
It’s very tempting, I know. But when you set up that scene it’s important not to slice through the corners or tips of things. Sure, introduce a knife and fork coming into frame here or there but keep that focal point nicely proportioned within the frame. If you absolutely have to crop then do it boldly and purposefully.
Hey, it’s your food at the end of the day. Don’t worry about photography so much, and enjoy yourself!
I hope this has given you all you need to get a head start in shooting food photography for yourself!
If this is the sort of thing you’re into then I’d recommend the #OPPOF5. The camera on this phone packs a whopping 1.8 aperture in the rear sensor and a 2.0 aperture on the front. Add to that a 16 and pretty ridiculous 20 megapixel sensor to each respectively, and you can be sure that you’re going to be coming away with some pretty nifty results from this beast phone. In terms of aperture and sensor size it’s ahead of it’s competition and perfect for getting those wonderful, crisp food photographs.
Thanks for reading, and happy shooting!