Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tips for taking pictures of food

Let's get one thing straight: I don't claim to be a photographer. Or a food blogger. Or even a good cook. But every once in awhile, when a meal turns out just right, I want to take a picture of it. And I've noticed that thousands of other people like to do the same thing. But there's one problem: food is surprisingly hard to photograph. I can't be the only one who has noticed this. It's really frustrating when you have this perfect little dish in front of you but the only thing that turns out on the camera is something sloppy and just un-appetizing.  And I know this happens a lot because I look at recipes that people post and see pictures like these:

 Gross.  There's no excuse for that, people.
The first thing I found out when photographing food is that it almost always looks better if you turn off your flash.  Compare this first picture of my coconut cakes to the second.  The second looks way more appetizing, right? 

 Food just needs natural light. Or big, expensive studio lights, which I am not about to buy.  If you can't get a focused picture with your flash off, try steadying the camera with a tripod.  You can also use one of these reflectors to use the existing light to "spotlight" the food. You can find them for about $20 on Amazon.
 But the easiest way to get natural light on your food is to just take it outside.  I put this one on the porch of my little apartment.  (Yes, I'm totally not above putting food on the ground.) I had to swat Violet's hands away as she tried picking at the pasta, but it was worth it.  You can still see her little foot in the background.
 This last picture was taken in front of a big bay window and it still turned out a little gray.  Luckily, you can adjust the brightness and contrast using almost any photo editing software these days. 
Hopefully with a little practice, the challenge of photographing food will become a little easier.

No comments:

Post a Comment