Food photography is something I accidentally-on-purpose slipped into. And I love it. When I first started editing The Artful Diner, I was pretty scared at the thought of turning up at a chef’s restaurant, camera in hand to photograph his or her food for the restaurant website, but then, there’s nothing like being thrown in the deep end. (My photography.)
If you’re wondering how I ended up in that situation, I had been taking very impromptu photos for this site with my new iphone 5 (heady days). When I was recruited to launch The Artful Diner website, my employer Seven was looking for a food journalist with blog experience, so I fitted the bill and off I went.
I spent some time with Seven’s lovely in-house photographer, Hannah Edwards. From the basics she taught me and a year and a half working with chefs in different London restaurants, here is some of what I learned:
Work with the tools you have: If you have an automatic camera try the macro setting; if it’s an iphone tap on the screen to get the point you want in focus; if you have an SLR then it’s going to be easier to get great shots. (At Seven I used a Canon 550D – great camera.)
Use natural light. Always. Play around with positioning the food until the light falls just right. Outdoors in bright light is just going to be too bright. I find indoors next to a window works really well.
Use a short depth of field. I like taking photos with a short depth of field so that parts of it are in focus and the background blurs out (see my picture of orange girolles at the top of this post). I know some art directors don’t prefer this approach, but it can get lovely results.
Don’t zoom in too close. Think about how you want the background to look. Sometime it’s nice to zoom right in, but I try to get a balance of shots.
Think about how tasty it looks. This may sound simple, but when you view it through the lens does that food look good enough to eat? If yes, you’re more than half way there.