If you have a snack, a dessert, a frozen dinner, or a sumptuously prepared dinner plate, nothing will help you sell it faster than superb food photography that makes your product appear mouth wateringly appetizing. Great food photography will make your steak sizzle, make your buffalo wings look finger licking tasty. Great food photography will instantly provide the viewer the perception of the taste in his mouth and the aroma in his nose, as well as the involuntary mouth watering response.
Contact Danny Steyn Studios today to get your food photography done in a way that helps it fly off the shelves, or off your plates. It doesn’t matter if you are a high end restaurant, a simple mom and pop pizza shop, a simpe food producer or a home based desert baker, your food deserves great photography.
If it was simple everyone would be a successful food photographer, but it is harder than it sounds. In essence, appealing food photography combines all of the following
Of course you can photograph food with a simple digital camera but you will never get the results that a professional will achieve with the right equipment. A good digital camera with high resolution is a must, but more important you will need a tilt-shift lens that will allow you to isolate and control the depth of field in the areas that you want it. This cannot be done with a regular lens that will have a defined focus area. The tilt shift lens allows you to move the focal point (as well as the out of focus areas) in any direction and plane in such a way that you draw the viewer in to the compelling components of the image.
Food can be photographed with any light source, as long as the white balance is set for the color temperature of the lights. However it makes sense to use the coolest lights possible (typically flash units) so as not to heat and wilt the food that you are photographing. Keeping a salad looking fresh takes plenty of styling, lighting adjustment, framing, tilting and shifting to manage depth of field, and if you are shooting with hot lights, you will end up turning your fresh salad into something so inedible that you have to start over
Natural light is also a great source of illumination for food photography and is often overlooked.
Food styling is an art that takes years to master and there are professional food stylists just in the same way that there are professional photographers. These stylists make a living working with restaurants, food product manufacturers, photographers and producers ensuring that the food looks good enough to eat.
When styling food, you have to choose the props and settings to ensure that the visual taste of the food that you are photographing is enhanced. The elements must complement the type of food you are shooting and should not overwhelm the scene. The viewer’s attention must be drawn to the food and not to the styling elements. Often the styling elements are out of focus in the foreground of background and complement the scene.
Placement of items, color, shadow and light are all key ingredients of great food photography. Those specialist food photographers have made a lifetime of studying and perfecting the art of great food photography. Look at an appealing photograph of a meal or a product, deconstruct it and try and see if you can recreate it. That exercise will give you a real appreciation of what it takes to be a good food photographer.
Great food photographers study and perfect their art. They work at it continuously, experimenting with different lighting styles; different food preparation styles, and never stop trying to improve their skills. As with any genre of photography, those with the eye for image composition will always set themselves apart from those that cannot see it that way.
The ability to see the image in your mind’s eye, long before you even start creating the set and stying the food, that is what makes a great photographer.
If you have the skills and the eye to prepare the food, light it, style it and photograph it all on your own, you will be set for life. Most of us recognize our limitations and surround ourselves with talented individuals that bring skills and experience in areas that we might be lacking.
To me a great food stylist is just as valuable as a great makeup artist; they can turn a pretty non descript subject into something that is instantly appealing, and I am more than happy to pay for those skills that make me look good. Simply put, a great food stylist will always deliver way more than you ever pay them
Food photography is never accomplished quickly. By tis very nature this is a time consuming process, getting the set built and styled, producing the food in such a way that it looks appetizing, and then lighting it in a way that brings out the texture and flavor in the image that makes your mouth water.
All this means that you will end up with very unappealing wilted dejected food long before you have got the shot ready for the final capture. So this means that you need to have your client bring sufficient food so that you can prepare many dishes, and finally when it is all ready for the perfect image, then you bring out the very best of each food item and quickly nail the shot before the food starts to wilt.
You must only select the very best of each and every food element that you are capturing. For the prep shots this is not so critical, but save the best food elements for the final shot. The vegetables must be colorful, bruise and blemish free, and be clean and polished to reveal their most appealing color and appearance. When cutting vegetables and fruits, use only the sharpest of knives to retain the texture and edges.
These days all images are enhanced in some form or fashion. Food photography is no different. Great photoshop skills will often make an average image appear totally appealing.
Often what you see in the image is not what it is on the plate. That green pepper might actually be hollowed out for an inflatable bulb to create the right amount of curvature, or that sesame covered bun might be sliced in such a way to make it look fuller or bigger. And when photographing hamburgers support the meat patty above the bun with toothpicks so that the meat doesn’t indent the bun and make it soggy.
And those ice crystals dripping off that frozen beer bottle might have been painstakingly hand brushed onto to the bottle with glycerin. And forget about using real ice, buy yourself bucketfuls of artificial acrylic ice! Water spray, corn syrup, shortening, artificial frostings, browning agents, air vaporizers, and other tricks are often used to make food photographs more appetizing.
I hope that some of these tips will help you improve your food photography. Happy Shooting