I love still life photography, food in particular. I guess all those years of binge reading food blogs was one of the major reasons I've put up one for myself. I'm a visual person, and I am instantly attracted to high-res, well-lit, thoughtfully composed and framed pictures. Yes, it's safe to assume that one of my biggest pet peeves are blurred, and simply bad shots. I'm not saying that I haven't committed that crime, in fact I still take poor pictures and have off days up to now! Photography is not my profession, but a passion. That being said, here are some humble tips from an aspiring food photographer to another.
It doesn't matter if you are operating on a simple point & shoot, or a fancy schmansy DSLR, if you can't use your camera to its full capacity, then what's the point? I used to own a Canon Ixus 90 way back, and have switched to a Nikon J1 for about a year already. All I can say is that, the user manuals are a God-send, so make sure to read it! You can also get to know the specifications of your camera through gadget review websites. Some of my favorites are Photography Blog and DP Review.
Find Your Go-To Angles
Ever since I have switched to Nikon J1, I have fallen in love and abuse bokeh shots ever so often. This is probably the reason why most of my photos are taken in three-quarters view.It gives the photo more action than the conventional bird's eye view, not that I think less of the latter. Overhead angles are also lovely, but it takes a little more practice, patience and technique to master. It's the unwanted shadows that makes me shy away from taking photos in this angle. One of these days, I'll just have to get it over and done with. Practice makes perfect, don't forget that.
Natural Lighting Is Your BFF
I literally cringe when I see what could have been a good photo, ruined by the use of flash photography. What gives? Flash based food photos, or any photos for that matter don't turn out great. It makes everything look harsh and washes out the colors. What you can do instead is shoot while there is still light out, or depend on artificial lighting if all else fails. I automatically look for the most well-lit tables and areas when dining out, just a little tip from me to you.
Limit The Background Clutter
If it can be helped. Otherwise, just make sure to frame your subject thoughtfully with the most minimal background photo bomber. We hate it when someone photo bombs our selfies, am I correct? Imagine how violated your food must be feeling every time it happens to them, hahaha! Just like in the photo above, the arms and hands of my friend takes away the focus from the pistachio cake and coffee in the foreground. I know this can be hard to accomplish, but trust me that with practice, you can drastically improve on this aspect.
Add a Sense of Movement
Luckily for me, I usually dine out with friends. They automatically become my designated "hand model" for the meal, whether they like it or not. Mwahahahaha! Seriously though, using props like fork, spoon, and even chopsticks add a level of warmth and action in your pictures. It makes the reader feel like they're also in the moment and that's one of our ultimate goals, am I correct?
I just have to say, before you get any better, expect bumpy roads ahead. No one who ever took up a new hobby perfected it in lightning fast speed. Practice, practice and practice any time you can. I hope I don't sound like an arrogant prick to you, because I still have a lot to improve on. What's important is that you address that the need is there, you'll get the hang of photography some day soon. I made sure that this list is pretty compact, but if you think I left out any vital tips, do share them in the comments sections below. See you on my next pig out session! :)
Your pig out buddy,