Tips for taking better food photographs

In today’s digital age, it’s fairly easy for anyone to take high quality photographs.

Food is a multi-sensory experience that has as much to do with how it looks as how it tastes. This is especially important to remember on a recipe sharing website such as Best Home Chef – where the presentation of your dish will be its biggest drawcard.

So here are some simple tips for taking mouth-watering food photos that are guaranteed to impress:

Don’t use a flash

We all know what photos taken with a flash look like. Colour gets drained out, rendering the shot in high-contrast patches of dark and light. While professional photographers know how to use a flash to great effect, if you’re am amateur it should be avoided at all costs.

Natural light is generally always best so try to position your dish in a well-lit room beside a window. Additional light can sometimes be supplied by turning on lamps or overhead ceiling lights.

And if you’re going for a cosy, romantic look (think: chocolate fondue, caramelised figs or a decadent cheese platter) perhaps try to incorporate candles or a glowing fireplace into your shot.

Invest in a decent DSLR camera

Especially if you have an ambition to start up a food blog, a good camera is a must. DSLR (Digital single-lens reflex) cameras have come down significantly in price in recent times, making it possible for more people to embrace the joys of photography.

But it pays to do your research before you rush out and buy. We recommend reading the Whirlpool forum, or the blogs A Basic Food Photography Kit or How to be an Amazing Food Photographer.

Take several shots from many different angles

When shooting your dish, experiment with all sorts of different angles to get a feel for what works and what doesn’t. This is the beauty of digital photography – even if you end up with 500 crummy shots, they’re easily deleted with the push of a button. So don’t hold back; just be discerning when it comes to sharing your experiments with the public.

And for tips on what not to do, check out the bad food photos at Monkey Butts, Road Accidents and Meth Mouth, or Bad Food Photography – a Tumblr dedicated to the weird food of yesteryear.

Clear clutter out of the shot

Have you ever heard someone say “I’ll just ‘shop it out”?

Sounds fairly simple, right?

As it turns out, it’s much easier to physically remove an object before you take the photo rather than use Photoshop to get rid of it afterwards. Not only is Photoshop more labour-intensive, the end result is rarely as good as an undoctored image would have been.

So remove all clutter before you start snapping! This means tea towels, sponges, empty packets, piles of dirty dishes in the background, and pets. These will just detract from the image and make your photo look less appetising.

Fill the frame

That said, no one wants to look at a lonely bowl sitting in the middle of a barren table. Get up close or zoom in to capture images that fill the frame in a way that is pleasing to the eye.

Great examples can be found here at 19 Tasty Examples of Food Photography, or the ever-addictive Foodgawker.

Familiarise yourself with photography software

Little tweaks and filters can provide the final finishing touches to transform a good photo into a great one.

Once you’ve decided on your program of choice, it’ recommended that you spend some time familiarising yourself with all of its various quirks and features.

And best of all, there are even some free software options out there for people who don’t feel like shelling out hundreds on the Adobe Create Suite.

Check out your options here at: Photo Editing Software For Photographers.

Good luck and happy snapping! We look forward to seeing your masterpieces soon on Best Home Chef.

Louise Carter
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Louise Carter

Best Home Chef's resident writer and sweet tooth, Louise once decorated ice cream cakes for a living. Although this job had several health consequences, osteoporosis was not one of them. Louise is also an ex barista whose biggest pet peeve is burnt milk. She loves travelling, and has recently returned from a pasta-eating excursion to Italy. One day she hopes to grow vegetables and make her own cheese and wine. She lives in Sydney. Google+

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  • I Love these photographs!! Thanks for tips!


    by Linda Bullard on 30/12/2012, 18:18
    Linda Bullard