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Easy tips for home food photography

By Assavri Kulkarni

Are you one who takes images of your food before you eat it, especially if it’s well presented? Well, I love to eat and click as well and food photography one of my favourite subjects. I remember my first food photography assignment was shooting food for a cookery book in 2006 and all I know is that I knew very little about it, but that assignment taught me a lot about how to deal with food, chefs and kitchen stuff,  especially if your shoot is in a five-star restaurant.One thing that I always say to the chefs is to cook me food to photograph and not for eating.

It matters a lot as most restaurants and food industries strive on good food photography for their marketing and advertising.

Here are a few tips for home food photography.

Pick the hero of all – Damaged, scarred or wrinkled tomatoes, or for that matter any veggie or piece of fish fillet, the tiniest flaw will look magnified in the close ups unless you cover up on Photoshop software. So, I believe you should go yourself to pick up the most good looking and freshest ingredients for your shot.

Light up your subject – Backlight is key to texture and making food look appetising. This will give a better value to the steam to show up in that image as steam and smoke show up prominently when lit from behind and of course one need to understand the angle of lighting as per the texture or the surface your food has.

Don’t over cook – Most of the time cooking process continues after you take it off the gas so always half cook the food remove your food bit early than you would otherwise… It’s also make the colours go dull and boring and most importantly unappetizing, so take your shot and then cook it again.

Human element always works – When I want to show Indian food being cooked, I try to add a hand with bangles or a feel of feline element in the image, or if it’s continental, a feel of a chef’s hand stirring the pot or holding the plate.

Keep the clutter off the final shot – Make sure your plates are clean as clear as possible, as even a spot as small as a pin head will spoil the image or any kind of unwanted dirty spoon or table napkins should be keep out of camera viewfinder.

Vary your background – There are hundreds of potential backgrounds and if you want to go completely creative, use painted tiles, painted wooden board or stones to lay your food on. It will make your food look super and edible.

When shooting, think about the final use of your images – Your food will be cropped for final use if you’re going to sell it for stock companies or your food blog, so always have ample space for new design elements to add on in your final shot.

Celebrate the colour in your food. – Nature has created all foods in wide range of colours and textures, from dark greens to vibrant reds of peppers or orange of carrots. You can have carnival of colours happening in your food plate at your meal time. Use it to balance your shot with background colour scheme.

Don’t use your on-camera flash on your food – Unless you want to get that strange and unattractive shadow either on your food or plate. On-camera flash is harsh for small element on your plate and food usually looks the best with soft light.

Vertical shot works, mostly – Many prefer taking horizontal format shots because they are lot more comfortable to work with. While shooting vertical, most of your settings are now on the side and if you’re on a tripod, you have to keep shifting to see all your elements. Shooting vertical can give you a nice depth of field from foreground to background. It also gives you room for adding text or a title if you want to share it on social sites or blogs, but again I will say shoot both ways, as it suits you well.

Finally it’s your final shot.

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