Throughout the last year, I made it my mission to really improve my food photography portfolio. Working with Tianna Winters Media (@tiannawintersmedia) made it impossible for me to ignore. I'll be honest, I am still not a food photography expert, but I can definitely provide some tips to help beginners really take their food photos to the next level...even if it's just for your own IG story.
Here is my introductory guide to food photography!
TIP #1: THINK ABOUT YOUR PRESENTATION
Whether you're shooting for a restaurant or just for your social media feed, it is important to think about how you're presenting the food. For example, when you open up your Big Mac from the drive thru bag wrapper, it doesn't even hold a candle to when you order a burger from In-n-Out. The presentation is wildly different, even in the drive-thru.
When shooting food, you want to always keep this in mind. If the item has cheese in it, you don't want it to look plastic. If the food item is full of fruit, you want those colors to be bright, vivid, and look delicious. If you have a sandwich, you want it to look big, hefty, and filling to the viewer in your final shot.
TIP #2: THINK ABOUT WHERE YOU'RE SHOOTING
Just like every other type of photography, it is important that the shot represents the lifestyle you're trying to portray. If you shoot your fruit in front of a McDonald's, it's just not going to make sense. A brewery burger doesn't really want to be shot on a marble countertop. A smoothie bowl doesn't want to be shot on something red. It just doesn't fit together.
When picking your background, think about the type of person who is going to be interested in the food you're highlighting. Where do they hang out? What do they respond to? How do you want the food to look? Healthy? Fatty? Filling? All of these things will change where you might want to shoot your final photo.
TIP #3: FILL UP THE FRAME
When it comes to food, you want it to appeal to hungry people. That means you should make your food feel BIG. Your frame should feel satisfying to people. If you only have one food item in your shot, shoot it up close. If you have two halves of a sandwich, stack them. If you have a ton of plates, SHOW ALL OF THEM.
Filling your frame will make people's mouth water. You're showing them this incredible dish they can enjoy by themselves or with their friends. You're selling them a LARGER THAN LIFE experience through food.
TIP #4: ADD MORE PROPS TO PROMOTE THE LIFESTYLE
Lifestyle should always be one of the main focuses of any photograph. With food, you can have A LOT of fun. If you're looking to fill the frame AND add more personality to a photo, think about props or other ingredients you can use to add flare.
If your popsicles have fruit in them, add them to the shot. If your beers are made with specialty flavors like cotton candy or cereal, find a way to incorporate that into your photo. If you are making a fall themed dish, add in the warm tones and fall foliage to make your whole photograph and experience!
TIP #5: HANDS, FACES, & PEOPLE
At the end of the day, humans are the ones enjoying your beautiful food photos. To add more personality, show people actually enjoying the food. Highlight the community or the excitement around the food. Show people grabbing, holding, or passing something. Action is always more exciting to see in a photo and with food, a good cheese pull or egg run is always a good idea.
At the end of the day, you best bet is to get creative. Make your food look delicious, fun, and ultimately make people excited about the experience. By creating a world around the food itself, you're sure to attract people...even if it's just on your Instagram story. Here's an example of something just shot on my phone for extra emphasis!
Keep me posted on any additional photo tips you might want me to share & good luck in your next food photography endeavors!