Alright you foodies, this one’s for you. It seems that ever since cellphone cameras’ quality improved, people have enjoyed taking snapshots of their meals. Whether you’re trying out something new & want to remember the presentation or are shooting items for a recipe or for a blog, these tips are for you!
Figuring out what you want to shoot will be the first step. Is it a simple meal? A drink? A fancy dinner selection? Once you decide what you want to make, you (or someone else) will have to prepare the food before shooting.
The 4 main things you want to make certain are accurate: lighting, white balance, exposure, & focus.
In this instance, more light is better. If you aren’t able to shoot near a window to allow natural light in, put your camera on a tripod and set a slow shutter speed. Artificial light could always be used, but unless the bulbs are set to “daylight,” white balance could be off due to the color temperature of the bulbs. White balance can be fixed in post however, & should be set to look as close to the scene as possible. Exposure is also an important factor that mustn’t be forgotten. I always lean towards the higher end of things, though many recommend underexposing. It’s a personal preference to which side you lean to, but as long as you stay close to the middle, you’ll be A-Okay. Lastly is focus. There’s no point to showing something that’s blurry (especially if this is for a recipe or tutorial) so make sure you can actually see the thing! You can have a shallower depth of field if you wish, but the most important feature needs to be clearly identified.
In recent years, flat-lays have been the norm for shooting food. That orientation works well with drinks as well as food. It is a great way to show an overview of an item. Different angles like slightly diagonal or even eye level can be successful too. Close-ups are helpful to have (not to mention delicious) as they really show the detail.
Options could include: the kitchen counter, a wooden table, a glass or marble table (or there are always posterboards you could place certain patterns/colors on allowing you to easily change them from shoot to shoot.) You could also take the dish outside or put it on an unconventional background if you like.
After you’re satisfied with your images, dig in! No need for that treat to go to waste!
May the light be with you.