Plating food for better photographs is a combination of artistic creativity and some basic principles of food styling and photography. Whether you’re an aspiring food blogger, a professional photographer, or simply want to capture your culinary creations, here are some tips on how to plate food for better photographs:
- Choose the Right Plate and Props:
- Start with a clean, neutral-colored plate or dish that complements the colors and textures of your food.
- Consider the background, utensils, and props like napkins, silverware, and herbs to enhance the composition and story of your dish.
- Use Natural Light:
- Whenever possible, shoot in natural light. Place your setup near a window or outdoors to take advantage of soft, diffused light.
- Avoid harsh, direct sunlight as it can create harsh shadows and overexposed areas.
- Set the Scene:
- Create a visually appealing background or surface that complements your dish. Wooden boards, marble, and simple tablecloths can work well.
- Pay attention to the color contrast between the food and the background.
- Arrange the Food:
- Consider the shape and size of your food. Use techniques like stacking, layering, and arranging items in odd numbers (e.g., three pieces of fruit) for visual interest.
- Use garnishes, herbs, or sauces to add color, texture, and depth to your dish.
- Ensure that the food is fresh, and ingredients look appetizing. Remove any blemishes or imperfections.
- Play with Angles:
- Experiment with different angles and perspectives to find the most appealing shot. Try shooting from above, at a 45-degree angle, or at eye level with the food.
- Use a tripod to maintain stability and control over your composition.
- Focus on Depth of Field:
- Use a wide aperture (e.g., low f-stop number like f/2.8 or f/4) to create a shallow depth of field. This will help the food stand out from the background by blurring it slightly.
- Focus on the most appealing part of the dish, typically the main ingredient or the focal point.
- Pay Attention to Color and Texture:
- Highlight the vibrant colors and textures of the food. Ensure that the colors are true to life and not overly saturated.
- Consider the color wheel to create visually pleasing color combinations, such as contrasting colors (e.g., red and green) or complementary colors (e.g., blue and orange).
- Keep It Simple:
- Avoid clutter and unnecessary elements in the frame. Simplicity often works best in food photography.
- Sometimes, negative space (empty areas) can help draw attention to the food.
- Capture the Moment:
- If you’re photographing a dish with elements like melting cheese or a pouring sauce, be prepared to capture the action at the right moment.
- Use photo editing software like Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop to enhance your images. Adjust exposure, contrast, sharpness, and color as needed, but aim for a natural look.
Remember that practice makes perfect in food photography. Experiment with different techniques, angles, and styles until you find what works best for your unique vision and the type of food you’re photographing. Over time, you’ll develop your own signature style.
P.S. The photos above (except the one with yellow tomatoes) were taken a long time ago with a Canon400D. Somehow, even though taken more than 10 years ago, they’re still yummy to look at.
Our cat, Iron, is sometimes a pretty addition to the photos, lol! Kidding aside, he enjoys being included in the things that we do.