5 Tips to Shoot Better Food Photos Using Only Natural Light

Direct sunlight is often too harsh when it comes to using natural light photography. If you are taking photos of food on a sunny day, the best thing to do is to diffuse the sunlight coming in through a window. Try to have the window at your side or behind the food, just not at your back since that will flatten the look of your food.

There are a couple of modifications to your environment that you can do to get better images. Some of those are:

1. Start by using either a sheer white curtain or a white translucent shower curtain to diffuse the strong rays of sunlight coming in. Alternatively, you can also use wax or parchment paper and place it over the window to cut down the intensity of the light.

2. Next, shut off all of the other lights in the area; because otherwise you’ll have mixed lighting sources and therefore throw off your color.

3. Make sure to take a custom white balance reading for accurate color rendition.

4. Place a white reflector on the opposite side of the window to bring some detail back into the shadows if needed.

5. Use tin foil or mirrors to add specular highlights to the food. Specular highlights are little points of light that help to make the food look more appetizing.

Source: originally published here!

10 Food Photography Props You Can Find Around the House

This post is for all the blog photographers out there, especially the foodies! Sometimes, particularly when you’re just starting out on your food photography journey, it seems like you need to buy all sorts of stuff to take delicious food photos, and it can be a little overwhelming. I know when I started out several years ago I definitely wasn’t thinking, “Yeah, I think I’m just going to throw $500+ at this hobby right off the bat, even though I haven’t done it long enough to know if I even like it.” Luckily, you don’t need to spend a ton of money on fancy photography equipment and props to take some very tasty food photos. In fact, I’d be will to bet that you have these 10 awesome food photo props sitting in your home right now!

1. Wrapping paper and scrapbook paper

When I first started out with food photography, I realized very quickly that I only had two places with attractive walls and counters to take pictures, and consequentially, all of my food photos were starting to look the same. Sure, you want some consistency in your photos (particularly within each post), but you definitely don’t want monotony. A really easy and cheap way to change things up is by using wrapping paper or scrapbook paper as a backdrop or under your food. Need something for long-lasting? Try our Vinyl Backdrops!

2. Other foods

Anytime I make something, I inevitably have leftover ingredients (hey, at least I didn’t run out, right?), which is awesome. Seriously, some of the best food props money can buy are other foods. You just made a delicious lemon cake? Showcase that lemony goodness with some lemons! How about a chocolaty fudge with fresh cherry compote? Add some fresh cherries to that picture! Fresh fruits and veggies, candies, egg shells, herbs, and all sorts of other foods make amazing food props.

3. Cupcake liners, cups, and sprinkles

So, maybe you noticed, I kind of do a lot of baking on this blog. I also own a ton of cupcake liners, cups, and sprinkles (Can you ever have too many? I think not!!). But even if you’re not making cakes or cupcakes, these things make awesome props. Cupcake liners and cups are great for displaying ingredients or tipped over to create a strewn food effect. And sprinkles are great for creating texture in your photos.

4. Baking sheets

Admit it, you probably have at least one well-loved, dirty-looking, stained cookie sheet. And you’ve probably been thinking about throwing it away and replacing it with a shiny, new one, right? Well, I’m just going to stop you right there. Old, stained cookie sheets make a wonderful, dark, textured background for shooting food, particularly if you’re shooting light colored foods. Moody, brooding food photos anyone? (Seriously, it’s all the rage right now)

5. Hand towels and napkins

Like cookie sheets and sprinkles, hand towels and napkins can add all sorts of texture to your food photos. They’re also great for adding spots of color, or for lightening the whole photo if you use a plain white napkin or hand towel.

6. Dishware and cups

I imagine most of you have a cupboard in your kitchen full of plates, bowls, cups, and glasses. You probably have things for eating and things for serving. Maybe things are a little mismatched because, hey, you have to start somewhere with dishware accumulation, right? Whatever the case, the stuff you have sitting in your cupboard right now is perfect for food photos. Do you have white plates and bowls? They’re perfect for highlighting colorful or dark food. Do you have small dishes? Those are easy to fill up and make your food the center of attention. Do you have colorful dishes? They’re perfect for adding a spot of color to an otherwise bland photo, or for color coordinating with your food. Whatever the case, you’ve already got some great props to work with!

7. Things you can find outside

Are you struggling to find food photo props in your kitchen? Sometimes all you need is a walk around the neighborhood! Things like branches, leaves, and flowers can make great props for seasonal dishes, or for adding a touch of color to your photos. Just be sure that whatever you use is washed and non-poisonous if it’s going to directly touch the food.

8. Kitchen utensils and silverware

Just like that cupboard full of dishes, you probably have a drawer somewhere full of kitchen utensils and silverware. Don’t underestimate they’re power in adding some life to your food photos! Kitchen utensils are great for process photos and silverware can really tie everything together in a photo. I mean, you wouldn’t eat that cereal in your picture without a spoon, right?

9. Fake flowers and fruits

I’ll admit, I’m kind of a house plant killer. Sure, I still get the occasional plant, particularly in the spring, but rooms I don’t always spend a lot of time in (i.e. places of death for plants) tend to have things that I’m less likely to kill, like fake plants. And, of course, these fake plants double as great photo props!

9. Yourself!

Sometimes we forget about the most obvious photo prop: ourselves!  Using your hands in photos is a great way to show proportion and the process of making whatever it is you’re making. And it’s also a good way to make your photo a little more personal.

Source: originally published here!

Food photography tips: 10 Tips for delicious images

Food photography is perhaps the fastest-growing genre of photography, thanks to the rise in blogging, smartphones and television shows like MasterChef. But getting the right look in your pictures of food is no easy task. There’s more to food photography than simply snapping your plate, and below we’ve rounded up 10 essential food photography tips to help your images look more professional.

Food photography tips: 01 Use natural light
Natural light can be lovely for food shots but you need lots of it to bring out colour and contrast. Try shooting next 
to a large window or consider taking your dishes outside to photograph them.

Food photography tips: 02 Better flash
A flashgun can supply all the light you need, but it’s prone to producing ‘specular highlights’ (unwanted small, very bright spots). Try bouncing the flash off a sheet of white card instead 
of firing it directly at the food.

Food photography tips: 03 Composition
It’s usually best to be minimal with composition but a couple of props, such as quality crockery or fine cutlery, can add to the shot. Use them sparingly and choose items that suit the mood you’re aiming to convey.

Food photography tips: 04 Go geometric

Strong geometric shapes work well, so keep this in mind when cutting food and arranging it together on the plate prior to shooting.

Food photography tips: 05 Add garnish

Blandly coloured food, such as bowls of pasta, can look particularly unappetising. An easy way to liven up less visually interesting dishes is to simply add some colourful garnish.

Food photography tips: 06 Picture Styles
Alandscape Picture Style accentuates blues and greens, while a standard Picture Style emphasises reds and yellows. Therefore, to get the best out of your subjects, ensure you choose the style that best suits the colours that you are looking to enhance.

Food photography tips: 07 White Balance

Different manual White Balance settings, such as Daylight, Cloudy, Shade and Tungsten, can add trendy colour casts to make shots look more dynamic.

Food photography tips: 08 Selective focus
A small depth of field, where 
only a small part of the dish is in focus, can work really well. Use a macro or long telephoto lens at a wide aperture for best results.

Food photography tips: 09 Bump up the colour

For real colour impact, increase the saturation setting in a Custom Picture Style, or do this after the event 
in a program such as Digital Photo Professional or Photoshop Elements.

Food photography tips: 10 Hot shots

If food is supposed to look hot, it should be steaming. Get everything set up first so that you’re ready to shoot food straight from the oven.

Source: originally published here!