A picture’s worth a thousand words, or so the old adage goes, and these days it’s more true than ever. Images are used everywhere, especially with the growth of social media.
But how do you take a good photo for your Facebook page or your marketing, which will get consumers hungry for your products? Here three food and beverage photographers offer up some tips:
- Use indirect but fairly bright natural sunlight, coming through a window from the side of the plated food item, says Jenny Wheat, a commercial photographer whose work includes food/drink shots. Add some light to the dark side of the dish and “that makes the magic, with nice depth and shadows, soft natural light,” she says.
- “When in doubt, there are three great angles to shoot from: bird’s-eye-view, 45 degrees, and on-level with the subject,” says Jenna Benty, art director at Crier Communications, a Los Angeles-based PR and advertising firm. “Shooting from above allows the viewer to feel like they are placed in environment of your subject, whereas the other two options best document the beauty and texture of the subject,” she says.
- Things that do not shoot well as a "whole" are often shot with a macro lens (one that shoots things close up and gets the small details) to get a great close up,” says Wheat. A steak or a layered sandwich are good examples of items that look better close up.
- You can use anything for a backdrop. For the most simple, a shiny white piece of coated flexible heavy paper works well, says Wheat. Sometimes she also uses rustic wooden table tops or the blurred background of a room or restaurant.
- If you can get marble surfaces, they are great for producing beautiful reflections of your product, says Benty.
- Watch out for bright colors in the background of your photo, which are distracting, says Peggy Farren, a professional commercial photographer in Naples Florida, who also teaches a food photography class.
- Invest in a good camera. “Professional equipment makes a huge difference in food photography,” says Farren. “If you have a good zoom lens, be fairly far away and zoom in to compress the picture to make the food look like it's closer together. A good lens can also help you blur out the background to really make the food stand out, she says.
- A lens with a low aperture allows you to take images that have strong depth of field, which looks great when shooting food and beverages, adds Benty.
Food & Beverage
- For the food, spritz it with water or non-stick cooking spray to keep it looking lively and prevent it from drying out.
- Use toothpicks to prop up food.
- Slightly undercook food for the most vibrant colors in vegetables and moistness in meats.
- To create steam, soak cotton balls in water and microwave them. Place them behind and/or inside the food for steam that lasts longer.
Interested in more way to create the best photos for your social media channels? Then make sure to attend the 2016 Nightclub & Bar Show and sit in on the food and beverage styling and photography session.