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Food Photography Tips for Beginners

You don’t have a fancy camera or even if you do, you don’t know how to use it? Don’t worry we’ll help you out in our food photography guide for beginners!

How does photography work? We’re starting with the basics!

The three pillars of photography are aperture, shutter speed and ISO. If you learn to control these three, you will be able to control the outcome of any picture. Our following recommendations are not to be understood universally, but can change and must be adjusted before each shoot. 

Aperture refers to the width of the opening of your lens and it influences how deep or shallow the depth of field is. Opening up the aperture lets more light in and creates a shallow depth of field. The more you close your lens, the more background you’ll bring into focus. A little confusing we know, but the lower the numbers the wider the aperture. We recommend shooting with an aperture of 2.8 to 4.8 to create a bright picture, with shallow depths of field and a clear focus on the object of choice. 

As the name suggests, the shutter speed affects how fast the camera’s shutter opens and closes. The slower the shutter closes, the more light can enter the photo. However, this also allows the photo to be blurred more. The goal is to find the right balance between brightness and sharpness. We recommend shooting at 1/125th of a second (for anything under 1/100th of a second, you’ll definitely need a tripod)

The camera’s sensitivity to light is called the ISO and it’s the element that is usually adjusted last, because having a high ISO will create a graining effect on your pictures. We recommend trying to keep the ISO below 500.

Another tip: Consider the composition of the picture and try using the ‘rule of third‘, which divides the image into 9 equal areas using 2 vertical and 2 horizontal lines. The rule of third is a composition guideline that helps place your subject or object in the left or right third of an image, leaving the other two-thirds more open.

What’s important for food photography? The tips and tricks

What’s important to remember when looking at highly professional food photography? When working with food it’s important to be aware that it won’t last long when it comes to looking fresh and delicious. So remember to be extremely prepared for your shoot by having a pre-prepared shot list.  Especially in the beginning, this can be very intimidating. That’s why we have put together a few tips and tricks that will make your first shoots run much more smoothly: 

Always be prepared: Think about what you want the end image result to be, what style you want to shoot and what kind of props and accessories you’ll need.

Choose the location or background: You’re trying to tell a story with your picture, so think about what type of food you want to shoot and how the background will fit into this. If you’re shooting a fresh summer salad – use a clean, non-distracting background with heaps of light, place a summer drink as well as fresh produce around the bowl and try an angle that shows off the texture of the salad. This setup will make a difference, we promise you!

Give your food a little styling: Just like every model gets hair and makeup, your food deserves a little styling too. The goal is to make the picture look appetising, but don’t focus too much on perfection. A good starting point for styling your food is accessories like the raw ingredients you used in your dish and basic props like cutlery, glasses or serviettes. 

Get those angles: Depending on the presentation or the texture of your dish, we suggest trying out different angles. If you want to show a beautiful and colourful bowl of fresh food, a top shot usually makes more sense so the consumer can see the brightness and variety of the food presented. If you have a stacked dish, like a burger, a straight-on shot might be the best choice, so the consumer can see the different layers. But don’t worry about trying new things and mixing it up, you might discover a new way of presenting your food!

Be creative: Food photography can be pretty intimidating, especially when you’ve never had much of a crack at it before. But we promise you as soon as you just give it a go and be creative, the pictures will be your gateway to success. We advise you to move around, try different compositions and play around with your props. You’ve got this!

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