Perhaps many of us want to level up our food photography from “just right” to “uber fabulous“, but then we think that food photography is impossible without a food stylist and a high-end DSLR that would make every dish look deliciously amazing.
Ever since I started instagram’ing, food mobile photography has always been part of my gallery. And yes, I take tons of food photos. I’ll say that I am not a food phoneography guru but let me share to you a few simple tricks that can help you get started.
1. It’s All About Natural Light.
Incorporate as much natural light in the picture as you can. Most of the time, the camera flash has the tendency to ruin a picture perfect setting. So look for a place where there is enough light for your visual story. Try those well-lighted spot at home – near the window or perhaps outdoor with enough shading – to get pretty light in your photograph. This also means that you also have to plan ahead, say a little late breakfast and early dinner, to make sure that there’s natural light outside.
Visualize your photo, not just the food but the entire image. Check your background. Use it to your advantage. Move your dish to something weird or unsightly, showing some elements in the background (like a person across dining). Also, think about your plates, silverwares, bowls, props and all ingredients used for the dish – these are the best tools you can use in styling your dish. A green salad will always look good in a white bowl photographed on wooden table. Not only will the colors pop-up, it will also give you the exact contrast you need for your photo.
3. Try Different Angles.
One time, I found myself standing on a chair while photographing a dish. My mom said that I look silly, but guess what, I’m glad that I did! Because I got the result that I wanted for that dish. So try as many different angles as possible. Don’t limit yourself to one shot. More shots, more angles, more choices.
4. Fill Your Frame.
You do not want a ton of negative space on your photo, nor do you want to get too close to your food that you can’t tell what the food is. So always pay attention to what you can see in the image as you photograph. The “rule of thirds” always works for me – that is, photographing the dish slightly off the center, but this will be an artistic choice not by accident. So always fill the entire frame as much as possible.
5. Be Creative.
Don’t limit yourself on just one look and setup. Be creative. When snapping a photo of your perfectly plated dish, a pasta for example, fork-twirl some of your pasta and take a photo of it. Try different things–take a bite of your macarons, slice your cake, put some garnish on your soups or take a photo of mozzarella separating from a pizza. Remember that these little details create an experience – something that demands to be felt out of a good visual story. Just have fun doing it.
Again, i’m not a guru but these had always worked for me. I hope it will work on your food phoneography adventure too.
And while you are at it, why not try these tips and tricks at Chef Arch’s Lime at 160 San Rafael St., Mandaluyong City. Try their menu of “street food na pinasosyal” and snap, filter, and share those amazing food shots in Instagram with #foodamology and #IGersManila #IGersPhilippines.
Keep the good vibes rolling! #ktgvr