Maria’s Food Photography Tips: Food Porn

Yes, this article is completely safe for work. However, I can’t speak for your diet. So brace yourselves, things are about to get hot and irresistible ‘round here.

Photo courtesy of Rieni

So what is food porn? Well, it’s all about taking incredibly mouthwatering photographs of sinfully delicious food. It has to be glamorous, provocative and it has to make you want that food badly, as soon as possible. Unfortunately, not all people understand food porn. The phenomenon is so big that people everywhere actually believe that any food photograph is automatically food porn, even though it doesn’t meet any of the requirements.

What do you need to make food porn?

First of all, you need the food. Usually it’s a high calorie fat filled piece of art that you would never even think about eating if you saw the ingredients first.

 Photo courtesy of raleighgardner

Secondly, a pretty good camera phone or your DSLR, if you’re the kind of dedicated photographer who takes their camera even to the fast food restaurant downstairs. Instagram is very popular with iOS and Android users, but there are so many photo apps out there it doesn’t even matter which one you choose.

Photo courtesy of Jamie Oliver

At last, an Internet connection. Why? Because food porn needs to be shared. You might not believe it, but there are websites dedicated to this type of yumminess and they want your photos. Here’s a Tumblr, here’s the Instagram hashtag, and let’s not forget of the food porn website. Bon apetit!

Photo courtesy of Razvan Exarhu

How is it any different from professional food photography?

The rules are the same. You still need great light, a food stylist, props and creativity. However, expensive gear no longer represents a must. The food porn phenomenon is most commonly spread through social media’s rather amateur photographers. And by that I mean people with regular jobs working 9 to 5 and photographing their lunches, fancy dinners or home cooking experiments. So forget about your DSLR and studio lights and just grab your iPhone.

Photo courtesy of Matthew Jennings

Of course, it’s not all amateur photography, even though Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr and your Facebook feed beg to differ. Food porn also works at higher photographic standards. This is when food stylists step in more than ever. They use as many of the props and styling tools we have discussed as possible in order to produce the most mouthwatering picture, at the risk of creating something more artificial than necessary.  

Photo courtesy of admin on Food Porn

This principle applies to all McDonald’s food shots. The greatest thing is that they admitted to creating artificial photos of their food, even though what you’re getting at the restaurant rarely looks half as amazing.

“The less retouching we do to something, the less perfect it looks. But actually it looks more appetizing and more convincing. Just enhancing some color, taking out some of the accidents that might happen in preparation, which obviously doesn’t show the product in its best possible light.”

But some food stylists take it to the next level, using their creativity to make out amazing shapes out of food, just like our mothers used to align our breakfast in order to look like a smiley face.

Photo courtesy of David Sayeg