Home » Blog » How to Take the Perfect Food Photographs at Home: Tips & Ideas

Meals are enriched by ingredients that are incorporated in the preparation of a dish, and their true flavours are enhanced when we share it with our loved ones. Every meal is a story that begins in the kitchen and concludes with satiated hunger and laughter among those who have shared it. Considering this, knowing how to take food pictures that will capture this essence of what a meal truly comprises of, is an art.

Scrolling through your Facebook and Instagram feed, you will realise the culinary experiences that are being explored in every household. Moreover, these scrumptious treats that deserve attention are complemented with the skills of the chef and their knowledge of how to take food photos. Why then, should you refrain from taking the perfect picture of that home-made ras malai or power-packed oatmeal with coffee, or even more daunting endeavours like spinach and ricotta ravioli with wine? Get ready to flaunt your cooking prowess, by referring to the food photography tricks mentioned below and watch the likes soar.  

  • Plating

Say you have prepared a truly succulent steak or have mastered baking a sinful chocolate pastry, wouldn’t you want to transfer this mouth-watering sensation into your photos? The preparation to imitate this sensation – and eventually, master how to take food pictures – begins with plating the food. Plating is the aesthetic arrangement of your food, and with only an image to rely on, this is a critical aspect of clicking just the right picture. Consider the following tips for plating your food:

  • Choose the right plate:

    Think of your plate as your canvas and choose one that is just the right size – big enough for your food to stand out, and small enough, so the portions don’t appear meagre. Also, consider the colour of your plate. White is a preferred choice as it provides a great contrast to the colours of your food.
  • Be detail-oriented:

    Enhance the visual appeal of your dish using contrasting colours with brightly coloured fruits and vegetables. Consider the texture of your dish – combine a smooth vegetable puree with crunchy onions or grated carrots. However, don’t overcrowd the plate.
  • Use sauces to your advantage:

    You could drizzle sauces over the main ingredients with prudence or create accent dots on the side of your plate for a high-end feel.
  • Choose to garnish:

    Garnishing helps spread out the colours in a dish which is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Use garnishes that are related to the dish being served.    
  • Lighting

Lighting plays a great role in amplifying the beauty of the food you have prepared. Lighting is all about deciding what part of your food you most want to emphasize. However, you need not spend a fortune on professional equipment. Instead, use natural light to your advantage and whenever possible, avoid clicking pictures when it’s dark outside. This is because the lights in your kitchen do little to make your food look great in a picture. However, in case you are using artificial lighting, consider the following:

  • Use side lighting to highlight certain food textures. This works especially well for layered food items such as burgers and sandwiches.
  • Avoid harsh shadows as this makes your food appear unappetizing. Distinctive shadows are usually a result of front lighting. The front light tends to create bright spots and make your food appear bland.
  • Use soft and warm lighting. This is especially true when using natural light. Consider covering the window with a transparent curtain to avoid bright spots.
  • Background

    When you invite guests over for dinner, you would like to ensure that the dining table is set right and that the mess (if any) is hidden away from view. Similarly, setting the right frame for your picture helps you emphasize the strengths of your food. Elements in the background contribute significantly to highlight the heroes of your pictures, and so they should be chosen meticulously. Three important aspects to consider when choosing the background are:

  • Surface:

    The surface on which you place your food can enhance the visual appeal of your image. You could consider wood for a rustic feel, or a non-glossy ceramic tile of a neutral colour for a magazine-like shot. Old baking paper can highlight crumbly and textured foods, and you can even experiment with kitchen linens and burlap. Experiment with the items you have at home, and you will be surprised at how much of it could enhance your pictures.
  • Angle:

    When wondering how to take food photos, angles present themselves as a confusing and complicated aspect. However, to get started, shots from above often work best, especially for flat dishes such as a pizza or even a bowl of salad. This, however, is not true for layered dishes such as a rainbow cake or a layered cocktail which deserve a side-angle to capture in all its glory.
  • Colours:

    Think of how contrasting colours could come together to create a complementary aesthetic. Warm colours such as reds, oranges, and yellows are known to stimulate appetites, whereas greens provide a natural and organic feel to your food photographs.
  • Editing

Once you have the picture you need, don’t shy away to make use of photo editing software and filters to polish your image. Making slight alterations to colours, lighting, and shading can offer your image a more professional look. A few tips to edit include adjusting the brightness and contrast of your photo, fine-tuning the saturation, and enhancing the sharpness of your image.  

In conclusion:

While the aforementioned food photography tricks can help enhance the quality of your pictures, just like cooking, photography is also an art. So, feel free to add a bit of your personality and keep sharing pictures of your delightful meals!

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