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- Plate to Pixel: Digital Food Photography & Styling
- Food Photography & Lighting: A Commercial Photographer's Guide to Creating Irresistible Images
- Focus On Food Photography for Bloggers
- Food Styling: The Art of Preparing Food for the Camera
- Food Styling and Photography For Dummies
- Jump Start Your Photography 3 DVD Set
- The Skilled Photographer 3 DVD Set
- The Ultimate Photographer 3 DVD Set
With photography it is easy to get caught up in the gear with which you take your pictures. It can be a never-ending race to have the camera that costs thousands of dollars, the top of the line lens, or the lighting gear with more power. Do you have to have nicer equipment to take the best pictures? NO, nicer gear is not necessary to improve your photography.
The BEST way to improve your food photography is to learn about and develop an understanding of food. Taking a picture of food is not like taking a picture of a person or scenic environment. In portrait photography, your subject’s smile, eyes, and facial expressions convey a message to the viewer. In landscape and architectural photography your subjects are large inanimate subjects that you light and style, but can’t change into something else.
Food is different. It doesn’t smile at you. It is not a massive structure or vast area that you can’t move. Most importantly, you are in complete control of everything. How you cook, style, prop, and light the food are all ways that you influence the message that you give to your viewers. Remember, it is the message that an image delivers and not the camera that it was taken on that is important. By developing an understanding and appreciation for food, you can create better pictures of your food.
Say you wanted to take a picture of biscuits. Do you take them split with a pat of melted butter? Do you have them in a towel lined basket? Or do you have them lined up on the pan right out of the oven? These are all scenarios that would work. When you are using a garnish, how do you know what to garnish with? Understanding cooking and food helps you figure out what a good garnish would be. For example, if you know chives are in the dish you are shooting, you could garnish with chives.
You do not need to become a chef, you just need to do some research on what your subject is. Are you making sushi? Think about what garnishes, plates, and props make sense with a sushi scene. Shooting mimosas or champagne? Make sure that you are using the correct stemware.
Looking through cookbooks, cooking magazines, watching cooking television, and paying attention to the food you are served in restaurants are all ways that you can further deepen your knowledge of food. Do you ever feel stuck or lacking inspiration? Researching an ingredient of a dish can give you inspiration for a shot! Taking the time and effort to further your food knowledge will pay off more quickly than improving your gear. It costs nothing to learn, so take the time to practice and you will see the rewards!
Text and photo by Taylor Mathis