Monday, December 28, 2009

Doing Food Photography Differently

By Jessie Wong

Food photography is a very technical area of photography because you have two dimensions to master - film and food. Here are some useful tips to help you.

Lighting the scene

The first important technique food photographers should learn is about lighting. When photographing food you should treat it as you would any other kind of subject and make sure it is lit correctly. Many pictures can be improved by using adequate lighting. Natural light is the best light source to use, so by a window is an ideal location. Natural light cuts out the shadows, and gives the food a more natural look which all food photographers want.

Use of props

Food photographers setting up to take a picture not only arrange the food neatly but they also include a plate or table cloth to add the surrounding. The idea is not to clutter the picture but allow room for a few extra items you can add to it like a glass, napkin, or a fork. These items can be placed in the background in a secondary location of your picture area, giving it extra spice.

If you do a lot of food photography then shopping at second hand markets can be a great way to build your box of props. You can pick up expensive items like large pots and dishes and vases for a few dollars and a smile. If you do not do much then you may have to go shopping for what you need and bill the client!

Be fast or else!

Unfortunately food won't stay appealing for very long. As a food photographer you will want to be well prepared and ready to shoot your picture as soon as the dish is finished. This will give it no time to melt, collapse or lose its color. So knowing what you want the picture to turn out like will help you to prepare for the photo. One way food photographers prepare is to have everything arranged before the food is finished. By placing a temporary stand-in plate is an excellent way to get the lighting right, and when the food is finished you switch it with the finished dish and your picture is ready to be taken.

Way to improve your photographs in an instant

One simple way is to simply use a light high quality vegetable oil and brush it on the food! This will create a high quality shiny finish that we love to see on food.

Touch base with the chef

The last area to cover is working with you food professional. If you are unlucky you will have to do the presentation of the food yourself. If you are lucky and the client has a good budget you will have a chef to do the food display.

Take a few minutes before the shoot to talk with the chef and ask them how they like to work. Ask them if there is anything you need to know about the food that may not be obvious. If nothing else this will make them feel good so you will then be able to work closer and better together.

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