In this article, I talk about what I’ve learned about food photography as an amateur food photographer. If you like my images, these are a few things I always make sure to do when I take photos!
1) Get a tripod! Or get creative and make a tripod yourself.
As you can see in the video, I was able to make a working tripod with some cereal boxes and a wallet. Quite the surreal combination, am I right?! Jokes aside, I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a tripod.
Advantages with Tripods
One huge advantage is that your pictures will come out so much clearer. Even if you are a surgeon with 30 years of surgery experience down the line, your hands will not be as still as the tripod. When you click on the shutter button during a free-shoot, the camera is bound to shake a little. And that tiny shake will cause a world of a difference on your images.
Another huge advantage is that you can put yourself into the shots. You can do this by simply setting a timer on the camera (I usually go for 10 seconds) — press the shutter button, get into position, and take the photo. Putting yourself, even if it’s just your hands, into the shot is the best way to not only interact with the audience, but tell a story about your scene.
2) Light is your friend — Natural Light is your best friend.
Some of my first images looked like this:
I wouldn’t say this was a bad photo, but it was simply too dark. There was little contrast and no shadows, making the image look flat. A more recent image is as follows:
They are both photos of falafels shot at a similar angle, but doesn’t this photo look 100 times better? Natural lighting not only makes all the colors look more natural, but has that directionality that will make your food look 3-dimensional.
Start using Manual Mode
Ah, yes, the dreaded manual mode….
It can be daunting to switch to manual mode at first, but trust me, taking this leap of faith will all be worth it in the end! ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed — familiarize yourself with these three values and your photography will reach a whole new level. This part is all about experience. As you go about playing with the camera in manual mode, you’ll be more and more familiar with the respective magnitudes of each setting you need to adjust according to your shots.
For instance, to get this cool egg-cracking shot, I increased the shutter speed to 1/800. Higher shutter speeds allow you to capture action shots, albeit lowering the exposure.