Remember the 100 Happy Day Challenge that took the world of Facebook by storm? People had to post a picture of one thing that makes them happy every day. By day 40 most people realised that they always ended up clicking pictures of their food. Many people believe that Instagram saw its dawn with getting people interested in Instagramming pictures of their food. Whether you agree with this trend or not, instagramming pictures of food has brought fame to many and certainly gotten their social feeds buzzing.
If you’re someone who can relate and are struggling with trying to stand out, then this post is for you.
Here are 5 things you can do right now to drastically improve your photographs.
It’s All in The Details
If you’re just a beginner at food photography on social media platforms like Instagram, this is something you must know. All professional photographers first shoot with a DSLR camera and then instagram it with desired filters. Sometimes food photographers also Photoshop their images before finally posting it on their Instagram feeds. A DSLR camera captures more information in each pixel than a phone camera ever can, making the visual quality of your food jump enormously. This would also help you get the desired amount of light in the image in case the place where you’re shooting is dimly lit.
If you aren’t very good with a professional camera, you could simply shoot on AV mode. In this mode, the camera automatically adjusts your settings depending on the light available to you. This would ensure that your image isn’t over or under exposed.
Lights before Camera and Action
Photography is nothing but lighting. In a world of Google Images where no level of photography is unseen, the way you choose to use lighting in your photographs can really set you apart. The best kind of light to shoot in is sunlight. The easiest kind of light to shoot in is diffused lighting, which automatically makes all images look good with the soft shadows it renders.
To figure the lighting of your picture, really look at what you’re shooting. Is it the texture that sets it apart? Is it juicy? Is it rough? What would it feel like to eat it? If it’s juicy, go for hard light focused on making the food shine more and look juicy. Communicate what it would feel like to eat it and you’ll be soon playing your audience like a piano. Lighting can communicate emotion and that’s something you can use to your advantage.
The Background Check
If you just run past food photography images on Instagram, you’d find something really interesting about the kind of backgrounds that the best food photographers use. More than fashion styling, food styling is catching up for a couple of really interesting reasons. Your tea tastes different when you drink it in a steel glass as to when you drink it in a porcelain china cup that’s inked in the stories of a blue love affair.
The background of your food adds to the communication of the texture, freshness and taste of the food. Further more, it tells you about the kind of a place the food was made in and also a little something about the kind of people who made it. We’re all really perceptive like that.
Instead of the usual plates and forks, you’ll find that a lot of food is shot on wooden tables or served in pots that are placed on stone-like surfaces. It is interesting. No one eats off the kitchen table directly, then what makes these food pictures so irresistible to see? Wood is a natural element. It belongs to the earth and it instantly makes one associate it with secure surroundings, nutrition and healthy vegetables. It also makes for a great stable and contrasting background to soft and juicy food. Experiment with your background to enhance your communication and make sure it complements the type of food you’re clicking.
Colour is Makeup
Our memories of good food are linked to our childhood; a time when colour made a powerful impact on us. A strong memory like that is something that never leaves us. Add colour and contrast to your plating. Even if the food you’re clicking is just coffee, see how you can play with the colours in your image. More colourful the food is, the more it looks healthy. If you have yellows on your dish, then there needs to be some accents of that colour or a colour complementing the colours in your dish in your background as well. It works exactly like that wedge of lemon on the rim of your glass, which makes no addition to the taste of your lemonade.
Love is About Focus
An artist paints more elaborately parts of a picture that he finds beautiful. Using the depth of field technique can help you create a visual treat for your audience. It allows you to add focus to the part of the image that is the most delicious and visually appealing to you. For this you’ll need a zoom lens and your ‘f value’ has to drop to a minimum. The objects in the visual space have to be at varied distances and Viola! You’ve got your extremely professional shot that blurs out elements and puts in focus what is important to you. While the blur-out option on Instagram might give you a similar effect, it would be far neater when shot in this technique.
Here’s a fun tip. More shadow and a filter that makes more parts in your image look darker, makes the food look more edible. You can also use useful tools like Imetrics, etc to understand which filter on photos is working best for your audience.
We hope you liked our tips on how to click your food like a professional. Do let us know if you found it useful in the comments.