Pho­to: pixy.org

A pho­to of just food on a plate is not inter­est­ing to any­one. If you want to col­lect likes, shoot like pro­fes­sion­al food pho­tog­ra­phers. It is about their tricks and tricks that you will now learn.

1. Almost everything depends on lighting.

The main mis­take of a begin­ner is to under­es­ti­mate the role of light­ing. For food shots, nat­ur­al day­light is the best option. There­fore, it is bet­ter to pho­to­graph dish­es at the win­dow, in the morn­ing or mid­day hours, as light­ing may not be enough in the evening.

  • If it is cloudy out­side, just move the dish to the win­dow and take a pic­ture. This is the per­fect light.
  • If it’s sun­ny out­side and the light is too bright, close your blinds or cur­tains to soft­en the light.
  • If you shoot out­doors, do it in the shade.

You can use var­i­ous tricks to make food pho­tog­ra­phy more expres­sive. For exam­ple, try shoot­ing drinks against the sun. The so-called back­light will cre­ate a deep shad­ow in front of the object, but high­light the col­or of the cock­tail.

Prop­er­ly set light­ing will help empha­size the col­or of the drink. Pho­to: flickr.com

But light sources behind your back should be avoid­ed: with your shad­ow you will close the dish, the back­ground will turn out dark, and the fore­ground will be over­ex­posed. The image will look flat, the dish will look unap­pe­tiz­ing. By chang­ing the posi­tion, you will shoot this com­po­si­tion much more prof­itably.

2. Choose the right angle

Remem­ber: first we deter­mine the angle, then we work with the com­po­si­tion. Suc­cess­ful place­ment of sub­jects in the frame depends on how you shoot — from above, at an angle or from the side. Think about how best to present the main dish, giv­en its shape, size and oth­er fea­tures. After that, arrange the rest of the ele­ments. Here are the three basic views:

  • side. This angle is appro­pri­ate when you need to show the height of a dish or top­pings: burg­ers, desserts, pan­cake tow­ers, lay­ered cock­tails, cakes.
  • Above. Ide­al for dish­es such as piz­za, scram­bled eggs, sal­ad, smooth­ie bowl.
  • At an angle. An option for when you need to reflect the vol­ume or want to cap­ture the height of the dish, but also show it from above — for exam­ple, this is how tall pas­tries with berry decor are removed.

Just con­sid­er where you will post the pho­to. If you plan to upload it to your Insta­gram feed and sto­ries, take two shots (ver­ti­cal and square) or just keep in mind that you will need to crop or reduce the pic­ture. This non-obvi­ous nuance can affect the opti­mal angle.

3. The rules of composition apply to food photography as well.

Before tak­ing a pic­ture, con­di­tion­al­ly divide the frame into 9 equal parts with two ver­ti­cal and two hor­i­zon­tal lines. If it’s hard to do this men­tal­ly, turn on the dis­play of the cor­re­spond­ing grid in the cam­era set­tings. The object must be placed in the frame so that it is along the lines or at the inter­sec­tion — these are the so-called visu­al points.

There is also the rule of diag­o­nals, accord­ing to which the main objects in the pho­to should be placed, you guessed it, diag­o­nal­ly. A sim­ple tech­nique helps to stream­line every­thing by adding dynam­ics. You can imple­ment this in dif­fer­ent ways: arrange the cut­lery at an angle or arrange the plates in a row diag­o­nal­ly.

With the help of a diag­o­nal arrange­ment, you will get the orig­i­nal frame with­out any spe­cial manip­u­la­tions. Pho­to: pixy.org

Sym­me­try is anoth­er ele­men­tary but pow­er­ful tech­nique when fram­ing a shot. Cre­at­ing a sym­met­ri­cal com­po­si­tion is use­ful when shoot­ing the same foods, dish­es or drinks.

4. The background can ruin everything and vice versa

The right back­ground will make the food pho­to more coher­ent. If you are shoot­ing a com­plex dish, use the most con­cise back­ground, for exam­ple, a plain one. When pho­tograph­ing some sim­ple food, you can beat every­thing with an inter­est­ing table­cloth or nap­kin.

When shoot­ing food at home, it is quite pos­si­ble to do with­out spe­cial back­grounds. There are sim­ple and pub­lic, but no less beau­ti­ful ana­logues: trays, coun­ter­tops, table­cloths. A wood­en board is gen­er­al­ly a win-win and ver­sa­tile option. No one both­ers you even to arrange food on the floor if a suit­able porce­lain tile or lam­i­nate is laid on it. Exper­i­ment and find the key to suc­cess.

5. Learn to use color and contrast

Are you sure that the con­trast in the pho­to is the key to suc­cess, as all pho­tog­ra­phers talk about it? We will prove you oth­er­wise. Try pho­tograph­ing a green sal­ad. Avo­ca­do, cucum­ber, white cab­bage, green pep­per and basil, cilantro, broc­coli — they all dif­fer in shades, but togeth­er they will merge into one green frame. In a mot­ley social media feed, he will def­i­nite­ly stand out.

Green ingre­di­ents in dif­fer­ent shades con­trast favor­ably with the cut­ting board. In the social media feed, such a frame will not go unno­ticed. Pho­to: flickr.com

But the con­trast is also good. Red and green, yel­low and pur­ple, black and white — there are a lot of options. For exam­ple, a sal­ad of red toma­toes with green basil leaves will look just per­fect if you take a pic­ture in the right com­po­si­tion and with well-exposed light­ing.

Cook it your­self — dec­o­rate the dish with some­thing bright to make it inex­pres­sive. Even non-pho­to­genic oat­meal will be trans­formed by putting a few berries on top or a drop of blue­ber­ry jam.

6. Additional ingredients will dilute the frame

Fresh berries and fruits, hon­ey and nuts, herbs and spices, flax or pump­kin seeds, all kinds of sauces and even just sliced ​​bread — all this dec­o­rates and com­ple­ments the sim­plest dish­es. In some cas­es, a close-up will be more ben­e­fi­cial, allow­ing you to see the tex­ture or col­or. In oth­ers, the far one is bet­ter — with a lot of details that dis­tract the eye and cre­ate a pleas­ant impres­sion of what you see.

Also, do not be afraid to spill or spill some­thing. Clean­li­ness in the frame is good, but there are excep­tions. Some­times scat­tered flour, spices or even crumbs will look very appro­pri­ate. The main thing is not to over­do it so that the pic­ture does not turn out slop­py. Here the rule applies: less is bet­ter than more.

7. Use a tripod whenever possible

Of course, you are unlike­ly to pho­to­graph the dessert ordered in a cafe from a tri­pod. If you shoot at home or you are faced with the task of mak­ing the high­est qual­i­ty frame on order, then this is anoth­er sto­ry. With a tri­pod, the phone will be in a fixed posi­tion. Thanks to this, you will be able to get sharp shots even in poor light­ing con­di­tions. By pre­vent­ing cam­era shake, a tri­pod makes it pos­si­ble to set slow­er shut­ter speeds.

With a tri­pod, you can shoot at slow­er shut­ter speeds and in low light. Pho­to: flickr.com

Also, a tri­pod is indis­pens­able when you need to take a series of pho­tos of dif­fer­ent dish­es or drinks from a cer­tain angle. Set the height and angle of incli­na­tion, and change the sub­ject itself.

8. Focus creates interesting effects

To make your food pho­tos not only beau­ti­ful, but also artis­ti­cal­ly expres­sive, try exper­i­ment­ing with focus. For exam­ple, high­light the sub­ject in the fore­ground or focus on the back­ground. This tech­nique is appro­pri­ate when the frame con­tains not only the main dish, but also objects that com­ple­ment the expo­sure and cre­ate the right mood.

For best results, switch your smart­phone cam­era to man­u­al zoom mode. By touch­ing your fin­ger on the touch screen to the desired areas of the image, you can place accents. In auto­mat­ic mode, the cam­era will choose for itself which area in the frame should be the sharpest, and this may not cor­re­spond to your idea.

9. Props you can’t do without

Expres­sive food pho­tog­ra­phy is hard to imag­ine with­out props. It can be all kinds of dish­es, cut­lery, nap­kins, cut­ting boards, glass­es, gravy boats, trays, and so on.

The main thing is that the props match the style of shoot­ing. When pho­tograph­ing fresh­ly baked bread, using trans­par­ent glass­ware is not a good idea. But some can­vas tow­el or linen fab­ric is per­fect for this. Remem­ber that the props should not draw atten­tion away from the main object — your dish.

With­out a board and a knife as props, fresh­ly baked bread would­n’t look so appe­tiz­ing. Pho­to: www.piqsels.com

10. Processing will make the picture even more appetizing

No mat­ter how good your smart­phone is, no mat­ter how hard you try when shoot­ing, post-pro­cess­ing will make the frame even more aes­thet­ic, and the dish on it will be as appe­tiz­ing as pos­si­ble. To begin with, it does not hurt to crop unnec­es­sary fields, light­en or dark­en the pho­to a lit­tle, remove extra crumbs or spots. There are pop­u­lar mobile apps for all this: Light­room Mobile, Pho­to­shop Express, and Snapseed. The func­tions of this soft­ware abound for high-qual­i­ty cor­rec­tion.

Bonus tips for everyone

Uni­ver­sal tip: make it a rule to wipe the lens before shoot­ing, as even imper­cep­ti­ble fin­ger­prints can spoil the pho­to, and you will not fix it in any way.

Prac­tice con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing. This func­tion helps to catch good moments for a pho­to, when, for exam­ple, cof­fee from a Turk is poured into a cup or spices are sprin­kled on a sal­ad. Pho­to: pixabay.com

Also try to shoot the same dish from sev­er­al angles, adding and remov­ing dif­fer­ent details. Play with light­ing and choose the best shots. Often, ran­dom shots look much bet­ter than staged ones. In oth­er words, do not be afraid to exper­i­ment — it is always use­ful! And don’t be afraid to bor­row oth­er peo­ple’s ideas: look at the top food pho­tos on Insta­gram or Pin­ter­est, ana­lyze, high­light your favorite moments and repeat var­i­ous shoot­ing tech­niques. In addi­tion, you can enroll in some food pho­tog­ra­phy course, from which you will learn the basics of this type of pho­tog­ra­phy and draw orig­i­nal solu­tions.


От Yara

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