Here’s the thing, You don’t need an expensive camera or fancy lenses to take awesome photos of food. You also don’t need any crazy photo editing software.
All you need is to keep a few simple rules in mind. Call them commandments if you will, and if you don’t follow them, because if you do I’ll know. I’m ALWAYS WATCHING!
A note: All of the uncredited photos shown in this post were taken by me, on an iPhone 6 or 7 camera. The one's that give attribution were not shot by me but I was the active art director on the photoshoot.- Enjoy!
Let’s do this!
1. Natural Light
So maybe your neighbors catch you holding a cupcake up to your window and photographing it like a loser… we’ll see who’s smiling when the insta-likes start pouring in. THAT MEANS YOU JAN!!!
2. Back The Heck UP!
Don’t be the Close Talker of food photography. No one wants to see the molecular structure of your dinner. Give your food a little space to grab all that awesome natural light you found and shoot at a distance.
Pretend you’re on an African Safari. If camouflage and khakis help, so be it. Just don't get too close!
Some foods have awesome shapes. Like donuts! Aren’t donuts awesome? Don’t miss an opportunity to capitalize on a little symmetrical eye candy by featuring repeating shapes and patterns. Yay donuts!
4. Lights, Camera ACTION SHOTS!
Ooooh AAahhh! There’s a lot of movement involved in preparing and serving food- so CAPTURE IT! This isn’t Madame Tussauds. Quit being such a stiff.
5. Focus up!
Keeping a narrow depth of field directs your eye to the good stuff. (AKA THAT YOLK THO.) In this scenario Auto Focus is not your friend.
6. Keep Your Friends Close…
This commandment is all about CONTEXT. Stage thematically appropriate items to reinforce the flavors you want to highlight. Also, NEVER pass up an opportunity to set something on fire.
7. Choose a Worthy Vessel
Maybe your grandma’s art deco technicolor dream plate isn’t the best way to show off your meticulously plated presentation.
A psychedelic plate is the equivalent of that guy who is harmonizing WAY TOO LOUDLY with the band at a live show. It’s distracting, it’s not what you came to see, and it’s ruining everything.
8. Keep it Human
The best bites are prepared by human hands! So don’t shy away from getting a little handsy with your food! Bringing in a human element makes your scene feel more welcoming and draws the eye to your subject.
Take advantage now, you know, before the robots take over..
9. Sometimes Less is More, Unless It’s Not
Sometimes more is in fact MORE. It’s funny how those things work out right? Before you dive in, take a look at what’s around you. (This is part of that "back up tip as well!)
Are there hands reaching across the table for the ketchup? Is someone pouring a cup of coffee? The more commandments you leverage per shot, the better!
10. Now is NOT the time for Filters
Please, I beg you. If you follow these rules, you won’t need filters. No one wants to see your cheeseburger deluxe in sepia. Take your old-timey burger home.
Thanks again for stopping by!