From plate to pixel; 3 great tips for food photographers.

This was one of the first pictures I ever took of one of the dishes I made and boy was I impressed with myself…img_0378The fact that the lighting is bad, the fridge is not covered and the image is not edited made no difference to me. The reason for that is that I knew just how delectable this panacotta tasted. But you would never had know  that judging by this picture.

And therein lies the problem and the solution!

Here are 3 tips to get your photographs from drab to fab:

  1. Lighting 

A lot of my images are taken on the fly as I am about to send food out (!) so I have had to learn to work fast and be creative!

All of the above images have been taken in the kitchen at Avontuur with a smart phone for the most part or my Canon Ixus.  Note the close cropping, white plates, bright colour and slightly lighter edit; these make for great images as you are cutting out the clutter and are focusing on the food.

When our menu changes or we have something special we want to highlight a little more goes into the planning of a shot.  Props, including hands (!) are then conceptualised to showcase the dish to the best advantage.

The above images were all photographed next to a window in the restaurant. Using a reflector to bounce the light back on to the plates and pushing the exposure up by half a stop or so for a clean bright image.  These images were taken using a Canon 7D a tripod and a reflector.

2. Props

As we have access to all the props one could want for in a restaurant setting we use them to our advantage. Nappery, small vases with flowers and all the accoutrements required on a table.


Depending on your style or the food, your props should play a supportive role to the food you are photographing. They need to enhance the image, not be the image.


3. Style  

Personal style is exactly that, personal.

But how do you get to it and how do you make it  your own? For me the process was one of constantly being drawn back to the mages I liked the most in magazines and on the internet, slowly my style developed and is still developing. I like crisp, colourful, clean images with not much happening on the table or background.

I like my food to be the hero of the shot because we eat with our eyes.

And that is the most important criteria as I am photographing menu items which have to be true to the experience you are going to have. I cannot add on alternative garnishing and vegetables for example if you are not going to have that when you visit us for lunch. Your expectation versus the reality will be two different things.

Developing your own style means finding out what you like, what you are drawn to and of course what you want to tell in the photograph.

Regardless if you are a professional blogger or a happy snapper, we all love food and most of us love telling others about our fabulous gastronomic experiences. Good luck with your pictures and let us know if we missed anything. Happy snapping!



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