I don't know about you, but whenever I'm about to bite into something succulent and to die for, I always have the urge to whip out my camera and take a shot of it first. To preserve the memory of its beauty, its succulence, its perfection. And then I can chow down happily, with no regrets for destroying something so beautiful.
Done hastily, food photos can be disappointing. And I'm not a food photographer, so please don't assume I'm the last authority on the subject. But I do love photos of my food, and these are a few things that have worked for me.
1. SIMPLIFY. This goes in every kind of photography. I don't care what's in front of your lens. If it's in the frame, is it necessary? Absolutely necessary? No? Then get rid of it. And don't think Photoshop will help you. What you might be able to do in 30 minutes in Photoshop, you can do now in 30 seconds. So clean up.
2. LOOK AT THE LIGHT. Where is your light source? The best and easiest light to use for food is window light, the bigger the window the better, and you want the window off to one side of your food so you get some highlight and shadow patterns to give the food some shape and texture. You can also play with a bit of backlight, but make sure it's not distracting from the food.
3. LOOK AT THE BACKGROUND. Is it harmonizing with your food or is it distracting or clashing? If it's not helping, try a different background. Placemats, tablecloths, cutting boards, all of these can help improve or change up your background. Remember number one - the most important thing about your background is that it must be simple.
4. KEEP IT LIGHT. Dark food is less appealing than bright, fresh-looking food. If you have manual control over your camera, you might want to overexpose a touch.
5. CHECK YOUR COLOR BALANCE. There's nothing worse than a beautiful photo of beautiful food that is all blue. Or all yellow. Play with your white balance to get the best setting. Unlike in portraiture where having a color cast can be moody or cool, with food it's usually unappetizing.
Ok, so there you go. 5 basic tips for making the most of your food shots. What about you? Any tips you've found helpful? Anything you've eaten that you wish you'd photographed before it was gone?