Food Photography

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by tektonnic, Oct 31, 2006.

  1. tektonnic macrumors 6502


    Mar 6, 2006
    Bucks, UK
    Hi guys and gals,

    I've got to take some pictures of food for some design work I am doing for some restaurants, has anyone got any useful tips for making it look as attractive as possible?

    or should i be more worried about post processing?

    Thanks, Tek
  2. John T macrumors 68020

    John T

    Mar 18, 2006
    If you have to phograph ice cream - DON"T - use mashed potato. It looks the same and doesn't melt!

    Fresh fruit (and flowers!) looks nice if it's given a light spray with water (or glycerine and water) immediately before exposure.
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    This is really hard to do well. First off you need to shoot is fast wile it is still fresh. you need to work closely with a chef who can prepare it well ne dish at a time

    Lighting is critical. I would use a medium sized softbox for the main light and fill with an even softer light. You do want some specular highlights but no any hard shadows. Keep the lighting ratio resonable. You might try using low aangle key light with a warmmer gel to simulate sunset

    Depth of feild is an issue. I did this kind of work using 67 medium format and had to stop down to f/16 or even f/22 and with 120 ISO film needed a _ton_ of light so I used an 800 wattsecond strobe head really close. With a DSLR you will have more DOF and may even be able to use f/8 but still you need some light and it has to be at the "right angle and color and softness.

    What ill the plate be seting on? THis is an art/design issue. If you are going to cut it out in photoshop make it easy and use black paper under the plate so the magic wand can work easier.
  4. cookie1105 macrumors 6502

    Mar 27, 2006
    London, UK
    I would say you want a 50mm lens and work with your depth of field and ambient light. I prefer the ef 50mm f/1.4, a great big window and maybe a reflector.

    Working with a professional chef and making sure that you get your shot quickly is important. After only two minutes food begins to deteriorate and will very quickly look inedible.

    These are some nice sites to look at for inspiration:

    Anthony Masterson

    Maria P

    Tina Rupp
  5. njmac macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2004
    I've never taken pictures of food, but I have styled food for many, many cookbooks.

    Make sure the plates are squeeky clean. Moisten a paper towel with a little white vinegar to clean the plate.

    Vegetables looks better when they are not cooked for a long time. For example if you were to shoot a soup, you should quickly blanch the vegetables and put them into broth... it won't taste as good, but will look better.

    If you have meat, lightly touch up the meat by lightly brushing vegetable oil over the chicken or meat to make it look juicy.

    When shopping, look for really, ridiculously perfect vegetables if you will use them raw or as props.

    By the way, you may be working with a chef for this restaurant project, but I would say most food photography ( and certainly all for cookbooks and magazines) are not done with chef's they are done with food stylists. Many times, chefs are the WORST people to style food for photography or video because they don't understand that in order to look good for the camera, the food needs to be prepared or styled differently than if they were to serve it.
  6. ATD macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2005

    I agree. Food photography is a specialized area, practice before you try it cold if this is new to you.


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