Maria’s Food Photography Tips & Tricks

Now that we know the basics of food photography, we can basically say we've got a taste of the delicious crust and we're finally ready to make our way through the deliciously fluffy layers of tips and tricks. Here are a few tips and tricks on how to work with food photography and stimulate your creativity and efficiency.

Shooting for Menus and Packaging

Photo courtesy of Amr El Saadany

As I already said in the introductory article, there is a clear difference between shooting for advertising and editorial use. Menus and packaging shots need clear, beautiful and visually appealing images. You get one shot to capture the viewer's attention and convince them it's what they want for dinner. That particular image will weight on the consumer's decision on one brand rather than the other 5, so do your best to keep reality and scrumptiousness in balance.

Photo courtesy of Marinshe

Shooting for Recipes 

Photo courtesy of Moramarth

Photo courtesy of Natali Masluk

Show the making of

Editorial food photography often requires that you take more shots of the dish from various angles. Shoot from all the perspectives you can imagine. Get up close, distance yourself and feel free to add props. Don't limit yourself to taking photos of the final result. As you've probably noticed until now, recipes require series of photographs of the entire cooking process: ingredients, the cutting, slicing and mixing process, and other intermediate phases until the final shot of the dish. And you work doesn't stop here. Once the cooking is done, go ahead and get some "inside" shots of it: take a bit out of it, cut a slice or even bring a model to taste it.

Photo courtesy of Bogdan Cioc

Photo courtesy of The Healthy Foodie

Set the mood

If you feel extra creative, find a concept for the shooting and try to create a mood. For example, if you're shooting sandwiches or cold beverages, take them outside to a garden and let the background enhance the freshness. If you're working with complex dishes served hot, maybe it's a good idea to create the feeling of a family or romantic dinner. You can add relevant props and set your light accordingly.

Photo courtesy of Olivia Bell

Photo coutersy of La Receta de la Felicidad

Add people 

Don't be afraid to include people in your shots. Of course, do this as long as you're not planning on creating one of those embarrasing series of "Oh, salad, you're so funny" photographs on image banks. Please. Have mercy on all art directors out there who need a regular "attractive woman eating salad" image and have to survive scrolling through hundreds of such pictures.

Anyway, adding people to your food photography shots will definitely bring an extra dose of creativity, but it fully depends on your client whether they want to go this far or not. You can either go for a steady shot of the cook and their creation, or for something more daring, like the photo below. Another way of including people in your shots is by shooting their arms as they're holding the dishes, or just the hands as they're holding up a fork or a spoon.

Photo courtesy of Mona Flu

Give the viewer a taste of your photo

No, I don't mean adding a description of what the dish tastes like or posting a video of yourself thoroughly enjoying it. But make the photograph speaks for itself in an eloquent and attractive manner. If it's juicy, make it look so. If it's crunchy, prove it by snapping it in two. If it's fluffy, show me those layers. You get it. If it's served hot, then make sure you show that steam, even if you have to fake it. 

Photo courtesy of Britt McTammany

What's inside

Sometimes it's not enough to shoot the dish as it is because the best part is inside, under crispy layers of yum. That's when you'll need to start cutting and slicing. You'll be amazed on how much of a difference it makes when you shoot little pieces of food. This applies especially in cakes, pies and all sorts of baked sweets situations (just like the article's first photo), but also when you want to emphasize the texture of a certain dish or just show what's inside.

Photo courtesy of Ilva Beretta

Photo courtesy of Mye Chung