Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us are still staying at home, even as movement restrictions are being gradually lifted. After spending a few months at home, some of you are probably used to preparing your own meals. That's when food photography tips
come in handy as you'd want your meals to look good for the 'gram ? Whether you just recently learnt how to cook or you're an experienced home cook, this article is for you! Here are 8 tips to take Instagram-worthy food photos ?
Smartphone vs DSLR?
Which is better? It does not really matter as most smartphone cameras in this day and age have similar functionalities as a DSLR ?. The quality of images that some modern-day smartphones produce can match that of a DSLR.
For ease of sharing your photos, we recommend using a smartphone to capture food photos. However, there is no harm in using a DSLR (if you have one) to capture that photo and uploading it on Instagram afterwards.
1. Plate Your Food
Your dish has to look appealing to the viewer and not a pile of mess on your plate. Think of your plate as a canvas and you are painting it with the ingredients of your dish. Dishes such as steak with sides and rice with side dishes are easy to plate. For example, to plate rice with side dishes, scoop the rice with a small bowl and place a small serving of the dishes using a small spoon around the rice (think Nasi Ambeng
Some dishes however, may require a little more effort. To plate strand pasta dishes (Linguine, Spaghetti, Fettuccine, Tagliatelle, etc.) for example, try using a pair of chopsticks or a carving fork to twirl the pasta before placing it on a plate. After which place the ingredients on top of the twirled pasta ?.
P.S. Test your photography skills by trying these 9 cafe-worthy recipes!
2. Use Props
Decorate your photo with props. Do note though, use a moderate number of props. Having too little props can make your photo dull and boring while having too many props in your photo might make your photo look messy.
Props can range from simple ones such as cutlery to complex ones such as spilt spices. The important thing to note is to ensure that your props are actually related to your dish! For example, you would not want to place spilt chilli powder by the side of your apple pie. Instead, you can place whole apples or spilt cinnamon powder to decorate your apple pie photo.
P.S. Trying out a new dessert recipe at home? Make sure you try this easy fudgy brownies recipe for an indulgent treat!
3. Focus on The Food
The food should be the main focus of the photo. From a technical aspect, you can start off by focusing the camera on the ingredients of the food. You may wish to use a large aperture for this thus, achieving the shallow depth of field effect. The effect will put the food in focus, blurring out the rest of the photo.
From a creative aspect, the props you use and the environment you shoot it in should not shift the focus away from your dish. Remember, your dish is the star of the show ?!
iPhone users have an added advantage as the camera application in an iPhone gives you the capability to shoot in portrait mode (or “bokeh” mode) with the freedom to adjust the aperture of your photo ?
P.S. Check out these 8 amazing no-bake cake recipes and start snapping your food photos!
4. Photo Has to Speak to The Audience
Of course, not literally speaking to the audience ? What we mean is that the photo has to connect to the viewer. If you are aiming at making your followers hungry or crave for that specific meal, you should give the photo “some life”. For example, if you are taking a photo of a hot dish, try capturing the steam coming out of it too. Or if you are taking a photo of a burger patty or steak on the grill, try focusing on the juices oozing out of the patty or steak ?.
5. Use Natural Lighting
The sun is your best friend when it comes to taking IG-worthy photos ☀️. Avoid using the in-built flash in your smartphone camera or DSLR camera as it can create glare on reflective surfaces (such as plates) in your photo and might overexpose your photo.
If you are staying in a landed property, the best place to capture food photos would be your front or back yard. If you are staying in a flat or condominium, then your balcony or utility room would be the most ideal! Basically, just find the part of the house where there is abundant sunlight.
If somehow a shadow is cast on your subject, use a reflector. If you do not happen to have a reflector, you can easily create one out of household products such as aluminium foil.
6. Experiment with Your Camera’s Settings
Whether you are capturing the photo with an actual camera or the camera application on your smartphone, there are many functions or settings which you can mess with to give you the perfect photo.
You can adjust the settings such as the ISO, aperture, and exposure on both your DSLR camera and smartphone camera. For this to work, you need to first set your DSLR or smartphone camera to manual mode (in some models of smartphones, it is called the Pro mode).
Some smartphone cameras have presets for food photography. You can use this preset but you lose the freedom to adjust your camera settings. So, if you are looking for a specific photo style, try to avoid using this preset and go manual instead ?.
7. Experiment with Different Angles
When it comes to food photography, another key factor to capturing IG-worthy photos is the angle of which you capture the photo. There are different angles which you can play with when capturing photos of your dish.
Most food photographers would capture a flat lay photo. This requires you to place your camera directly above your subject and snap the photo from the top down. You need to pay extra attention to the composition of the photo as it can make or break the photo.
Alternatively, you can shoot the dish from a 45-degree angle. No, we are not asking you to use a protractor to measure the angle, you can just estimate. This angle shows the sides of the dish and is especially useful if you are looking to capture the cross-section of cakes, steaks, or pies ?.
8. Edit Your Photos with Professional Applications
Photos can look very plain and unappealing without edits. Edits such as exposure adjustment and boosting the saturation and vibrance of the photo can transform the photo into one that is appealing to your followers, thus making the photo IG-worthy.
If you are looking to edit your photo on your computer before uploading it on Instagram, Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom are amazing applications for photo editing.
If you are looking to edit your photos on the phone, Adobe has mobile versions of Photoshop and Lightroom. You may need a Photography Plan subscription to use these applications. Alternatively, there are many applications
(some of which are free!) that you can use to produce outstanding images ?.
Bonus: Shoot in Raw
Smartphone cameras and DSLR cameras have many similarities. One interesting similarity is that both cameras allow you to shoot in RAW+JPEG. The camera will save both RAW and JPEG versions of your photo. Heads up though, you may require loads of memory space in your phone (or memory card) as RAW files are huge files.
Why huge? That is because the RAW versions of the photos are of maximum quality. You need a photo-editing software such as Adobe Photoshop however, to convert the RAW photo to your desired (and suitable) format for Instagram ?.
With these tips in mind, we hope we have got you ready and inspired for your next food photoshoot! Honestly, it doesn't matter what device you use as long as you practise these photography tips. These tips are also perfect if you're trying to get that perfect shot at a cafe! If you have excellent cooking and creative plating skills, why not show it off to the world??