Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Food photography advise from someone totally unqualified

To my fellow food bloggers:

I am totally not qualified to talk about how to take pictures of food. I am no where near having the camera I want. But after taking hundreds and hundreds of pictures of food, I know a few things that will make the food in your pictures look more like food and not some hot tranny mess. Even a little camera can take some awesome pictures. If you have a big, fancy camera, don't read. This is intended for my ladies that have a dinky little thing from Wal-Mart or Best Buy. Truth be told, mine is from Circuit City. May they rest in peace.

Here are a few tips on food pix:

#1- Take food pictures in natural light. This is good news because day light is longer right now. Don't let it be direct sunlight, but maybe just in the shadows. Find a spot in your house that is close to a window that lets in lots of light. Turn the blinds so that the light still comes through, but isn't direct. If you can go outside, even better.

#2- If you have made something awesome and it is too dark outside to take a picture, save it. Stick it in a container in the fridge with a sign that says, "Do Not Eat" (that is vital). I take my blogging pretty seriously and a really bad picture isn't worth the post to me. It is worth it to wait so I can get a good picture. So save that blog-worthy meal and take pix the next day.

#3- Don't use your flash, ever. It casts a weird light on your food and mostly doesn't look like food at all. Turn your flash completely off. If you are taking pictures in natural light, you won't need it anyways.

#4- Use the macro setting. I have a pink Sony Cyber-shot with 7.2 megapixels. See? No where near the camera I really want. But even my little Pinky Girl has a macro setting. On my camera and most little digitals, the macro setting is the little tulip button. Turn that baby on and then you can get really close to the food and the textures.

#5- Don't take pictures right above the food. Get down close to it and level with it.

#6- Plate the food on a white plate. I don't always follow this rule, but I should. It does produce the best results almost every time. Think of a fancy restaurant and their serveware. Stark white plates. A white plate lets the food be the centerpiece.

#7- When taking pictures of a few things on the same plate (example: chicken, rice and salad), put them close together and stack them high. Once again, just like a restaurant. This is something my husband did when he would cater big events. And when available, sprinkle on some chopped fresh parsley. A little green makes the biggest difference.

#8- Don't just take one picture. When I make something, I take about 10. And why not? It's digital and that is the best part of digital. Click away and change the angle of the camera or the plate. Out of a bunch, you are bound to get one or two that are post-worthy.

I hope this is helpful to some of you. There are a lot of food bloggers with mad skills and their pictures are ruining it for them. Good luck with trying these tips out!


Mal Robin said...

Good idea, this post. I must admit you do wonders with your little camera. I would listen to her.

Keeling said...

thanks! great tips!

cat+tadd said...

This is going to change the blogging world forever.

Jamie said...

Great tips! :)

Travis and Heather said...

I wish I could take your skill and bring it to my family's desperate taste buds. Thank you for your amazing recipes. Those "vancakes" look incredible, we can't wait to try them tomorrow morning.

Ingrid said...

Thanks for the tips. Some I knew, many I didn't. Hope one day to have mad skills behind the camera as well as in the kitchen.

I cracked up at your "this is vital" comment. I'm not sure if it was the comment alone or the fact you have boys (and they'll have hungry buddies that will hang out) and they are sure to not notice the sign on the food that made me laugh. Yea, I think I'm laugh at all the times to come when your boys don't notice the sign. I find that if I don't want something touched I hide it in the back. You know they can't see pass their nose.

Btw, I think I have the "boy" version of your camera. Mine is turquoise.

meg said...

Three cheers for no more I-Took-a-Dump-on-my-Blog Cake!