No I am not making a food guide for Jakarta (that would be too much work for me to collect the images all over this traffic damned city). Instead, I will be sharing some food photography tips! Part of my new year resolution was to try to cater to YOUR posting wants.. A couple of readers have asked me to do a food photography tutorial and here it is !
before you start, I'd recommend on understanding the terms : aperture, white balance, and shutter speed (google !) also, keep in mind that these tips are pretty basic. Therefore, they can be applied to other photography categories such as fashion portraits, product or even your everyday shots!
TIP 1 : Master your Camera Functions
Whether you have a Leica, an EOS like me, or just an iPhone, the best you can do is learn how to make use out of your camera's abilities (I'm sounding like a Pokemon guru now). Some point-and-shoot cameras even have manual control over aperture and shutter speed now. make use of that and stop using auto...
photo by carissa vicky
TIP 2 : Set your Food Nicely
Sounds stupid to be putting this for numero 2 but this is actually crucial. Think about it.. Your home made pasta vs that pasta at a fine dining resto. Not talking about the taste but restaurants tend to put extra garnish, some black pepper cracks, and sauces in a certain way to tingle your taste buds. Also try to position your dishes and any complimentary utensils in the right place.
good texture and color combination.. reds, greens, and a tinge of purple makes this a natural photogenic scene.
TIP 3 : Use Natural Lighting
Light coming from window does wonders for the food aesthetics. NO direct flash please ! External flash can do wonders but it's not exactly convenient especially when you're at a public place.
natural light vs indoor spot light (see above and below). With the right settings, indoor artificial light from the ceiling can create a nice different ambient. Most halogen light (or whatever it's called) in restaurants give off a yellow cast. Set your white balance to prevent nasty yellow photos...
TIP 4 : Proportion & Angle !
Crucial for every photograph.. Best way to get the good angles is to PRACTICE! Even if you don't have a proper camera, use you phone camera to try and test different angles. You can also try to visualize how the food looks best in your head then try to replicate that image.
TIP 5 : Browse
Still relevant to the previous tip, my second last tip is to browse and check out food photographs. Not only will you drool :P, but you can study the food styling and different angles out can try out next time :)
this was shot from a point-and-shoot cam. angles from above can work well too
TIP 6 : Focus Point
Make sure to focus on the food because you are photographing the food in the first place. Emit any distracting background (towels, tissues, phones, or the ciggy in this case), and point the focus point on your camera to the correct spot. Lastly, hold the camera steady so that your pictures are crisp clear.
On certain photographs (like above), I use a large aperture at f/2.0 or below. This means that I have to carefully select my focus point in order to keep the subject in focus
TIP 7 : White Surface
Okay last tip ! you know one side of your food can look dark and the other side looking really bright even when you have the right settings? well, try this simple tip and that should solve that. Find a white sheet (can be napkins/paper placemats/etc) and place that on the opposite side of the light source.. You'll notice that the white surface reflects the light back nto the food, creating an even light :) simple, effective, and free !
Well, that is all for now! one last tip (I know I said last in tip 6), is to edit the photos! Remember that most photos aren't published in raw form, use Photoshop or whatever to enhance. But always keep in mind that a fabulous RAW format photo is crucial to a fabulous end result..
**please note that I am not a professional food photographer, I am just writing based on my experience and hobby**
I hope you enjoyed this post and do comment/email if you want more tutorial and/or questions