Thursday, May 9, 2013

Make yo' mouth water {food photography tips}

I don't know about you guys but most of the time when I see a commercial on TV for a cheeseburger or fries I'm already dipping the little salty potatoes in ketchup and biting into the cheeseburger in my head. It's a flaw, I'm a sucker, I know. But one day I stumbled across a documentary on the staging of food and it was so beyond interesting I have never forgotten about it. They actually whip Crisco with food coloring to look like the thickest and creamiest shake. They glue seeds onto the bun to look beyond perfect and use toothpicks to give the buns a more fluffed up appearance. All in the hopes that it triggers a physical reaction to make you want to eat their food. This is sort of the approach I have when it comes to photographing food.

I don't make "fake" food or glue things together. However, I think with my eyes and imagine how the image will translate on camera. It has to look appetizing and make someone want to cook your recipe, otherwise it can turn them off from even trying it. Here are the tricks I have learned for photographing food.

1. Shoot close up and shoot in the natural light. I always try and photograph near a window to make sure I have as much natural light as possible. I also like to play with angles and capture "bites" as well as the entire meal.

2. Try to capture the temperature of the meal. Is it a nice steamy bowl of soup or a delicious cold icy lemonade? I am always trying to capture the temperature of the meal whenever possible, either by photographing the steam or the condensation on the side of the cup etc.

3.Think Clean. I always use a plain white plate or natural wood surface to present my food. And I take the time to wipe off any drips of sauce from the rim and not pile the food too high or make the portions too large.

4. Create color. I always want it to look bright. Yellow lemons, nice green accents of cilantro or mint....all of it feels fresh and by association, delicious.

My models for today were the southwest meatballs from last nights dinner (from Clean Eating magazine) and they were yummy!  But here are a few other food shots in-case meatballs don't do it for you.

Now all of this food talk has me hungry. I might need a midnight snack. What is your favorite thing to eat for snack?


  1. I love shooting food, I just finished shooting a Wine & foot Festival, One of my favorites is the yummy food I get to capture

  2. I am so glad I am not the only one. I must admit I love tasting it too. haha

  3. This is great advice. We started a food blog and I am in NO WAY a photographer, but I love these tips. We moved and now have black countertops; do you think shooting on black is a no-no? Should I go by a piece of white posterboard to have handy instead?

  4. Hi Sarah! I shot mine on black countertops too. It doesn't really matter for me because I mostly show close up photos. However, I love the look of clean white backdrops because the colors pop! Xoxo

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