I have always had a sweet tooth for product photography and after shooting this series of tasty treats, I found a new appreciation for food photography. Food has many positives going for it, even as a photography subject. It is naturally appetizing as well as versatile in the way it can be displayed!
Here are some tips I learned after many “missing bites” and dropped pastries:
Pre-conceptualize: My Pinterest boards are full of “inspirations” for every shoot I have done. This really helps me to visualize my thoughts for the shoot. Next, you should try to determine a mood for your dessert or meal – what kind of vibe does it give off? Is it fresh and summery with lots of fruit or more warm and toasty, something that would be great with a cup of coffee? Ask yourself these questions when trying to determine a common theme.
With food, you can either create a scene (usually a more simple background with only a few props) or you can inject it into an actual scene, maybe add in some relevant items (coffee, newspaper, extra side plates and hands reaching are a few good examples).
Lighting: Window light is amazing for food! Artificial light can be very harsh especially on the delicacy of pastry. Window light it is soft and subtle. With fruit, especially, window light naturally highlights and shadows the product beautifully. A simple set up at home could be using two white pieces of cardboard, creating a V shaped box to encase your product. This helps bounce the light all around the subject. A reflector may also come in handy. As you can see in the photo above, the white bowl started to dip too far into the shadows, so I had a reflector underneath to bring back just a bit of detail.
Colour: I love, love, love to shoot with fruits! Fruits are interesting and vibrant, which draw people in. All you ned to do when shooting any kind of food is enhance its natural beauty – it already has a lot to offer.
Props: When thinking about props, think about how you can communicate to your audience the ingredients or what might go well with the food. Also, being picky will pay off! Everything is placed in your image for a reason. The background and serving dish are main components in prop styling, but as simple as a plank of wood, a white bowl or a detailed serving platter.
Every food product I have photographed, I kept in mind that I had to show my audiences how the food tasted and how it smelled. Advice from one of my professors that I will never forget! If it doesn’t make me hungry, I haven’t done it justice.