Have you ever struggled to capture that perfect holiday photo? That amazing meal you had on your final night, acai bowl or ice cream before it melted on the beach. Getting a good food photo can be problematic at the best of times and we all know that if you don’t Instagram it, it didn’t happen!
But fear not, we’ve teamed up with four food photography experts to share their advice on how to capture the ultimate food photo that’ll make your social media feed a joy for your followers to feast on.
Read on to find out their tips:
Founder and CEO of Soane’s Kitchen Founder & CEO, Alex Head, has kindly given her tips on how to capture your holiday food and atmosphere all in one:
“I think we can all agree that there’s something about being on holiday that makes everything that much better; the sun is always warmer, the sunset is always more beautiful and the food is always tastier.
“At home, it’s harder to recreate that stunning tomato salad you loved on a trip to Rome because the atmosphere isn’t quite right, the tomatoes aren’t as juicy and the carefree holiday attitude is (sadly) a distant memory!
“I love taking photos of my food when I’m away so I can remember it in all its glory and, of course, share it with friends and followers online.”
Social Pantry’s all about seasonal, fresh and delicious food and our Instagram feed is the perfect place to showcase the stunning selection of meals we produce. There are a few simple rules you can follow while you’re away to create beautiful holiday photos:
- Natural light is the best for food shots although try and avoid direct sunlight, as it can be unflattering and creates harsh shadows.
- If you don’t own a camera, don’t fret; a lot can be done with an iPhone (and practice!) these days.
- Think about your composition: try not to overcrowd the shot, stick to pale surfaces, take the photo from a few different angles, check you have enough texture and colour on the plate.
- Set the scene and try to capture anything specifically related to that country or area.
If you’re feeling stuck, there are plenty of hashtags you can search for inspiration but always remember that bold colours, different textures and good lighting will get you a long way.
Milly has her own blog, thoroughlymodernmilly, and is also the editor of Weekend Journals. Milly has given us her thoughts on how to get the perfect food shot, and how amazing does that food look…
There are a number of things Milly suggests you need for food photography when travelling:
- Natural light and space to take the photo. In restaurants, choose the table next to the window (although beware of the glare from sunlight), if necessary use the napkin to cover any nearby spotlights.
- Try to cover the table with items to create an exciting crowded shot; this is visually inviting for people.
- For more dramatic fine dining plates of food, make the shot more minimalist to emphasise the artistic plating and use the negative space and shapes of the table to create an interesting photo.
Chandrima is the mind behind the food and recipe blog Not Out of the Box. Her photography throughout plays a huge role in gathering followers and she has given us her top photography tips:
“Capturing Food Photographs becomes a pivotal part while travelling to any destination nowadays. Social media especially Instagram worthy food moments are trending big time.Holidays open up possibilities to grab the perfect essence and culture of a place through clicking food pictures, which make the trip memorable.”
By following simple tricks, anybody can click appealing food photos. Here are a few aspects which will be helpful:
- Turn the Flash off, yes, please. Flash has all the power to overexpose the little details around food, and it turns out the texture of it by giving an unrealistic glow, which is not desirable in food photos.
- Get out and make the most of the daylight. If you’re dining in a restaurant, find out a natural light source and take your food there to capture a photo.
- Stay candid when you want yourself into the food frame or anytime you’re adding human elements with food try to get an all-natural shot.
- Use the table top to make interesting photo compositions. You’re having brunch in a café, right? And the table top is wooden, so, it would be perfect for those flatlay food photos.
- Capturing local farmers markets and people making food at street-side eateries should be on your bucket list.
- Try taking pictures with different angles, preferably side angles, the blurry background always adds up a character into photographs.
- It’s important to edit the food pictures to enhance their picture quality. Use Snapseed, Lightroom, VSCO editing Apps for phones and Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to edit images.
And lastly, keep on clicking whatever you eat during the holidays!
Howard Shooter has been a food photographer for over 20 years. He loves to take pictures of food all over the world and has even taken two of the covers for National Geographic Food as well as being their creative consultant. Howard has been a finalist in the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year for the last five years. These are Howard’s top travel tips:
- It’s the people making or selling the food, which make the photo feel authentic so don’t be shy, have a chat with them as it’ll make them relax. Ask them if the food is a family recipe or locally sourced, while they are talking start to snap away.
- If you want to take food in a restaurant and there’s still daylight ask for a table by the window as the natural light will make the food look so much better than the bulbs that dangle just above your table.
- Seek out the local non-touristy food markets as they often give you a real taste of the local culture. Most of the stall holders will be only too pleased to let you take their photo and the longer you stay, the better the shots will become as they get used to you walking around.
- Top shots of food have become all the rage on social media but don’t be afraid to go lower on your plate to take in of the atmosphere and context around you.
- To really make the shots look professional think of the photos as making a small food story so for example, if you happen to visit a fishing village take pictures of the coast with the boats, the nets on the beach and fisherman bringing in the catch. The shots will feel more cohesive and interesting and really give a sense of place and memory when you look back in years to come.
- The equipment isn’t so important if you have a good eye, so use what you have and enjoy. Often the less equipment you bring the easier it is to be discreet when taking photos so try and avoid those enormous lenses and go for the adage of less is more.
Jon Kempner is a commercial photographer. He is passionate about food and specialises in food and hospitality photography, shooting campaigns for corporate clients in the UK and across Europe.
“Whilst I love the control of light that we have in the studio,” explains Jon, “Nothing makes me happier than being out and about photographing local foods, produce, markets and the people behind it. It really allows you to capture the culture and styles of a location.” Here are Jon’s top food photography tips:
- Keep it soft – Natural, soft light is the key to great food photos. Keep out of direct sunlight to avoid harsh shadows. Restaurant tables by the window are best for natural light.
- Get close – Get close, then closer still! Getting those little details in always lifts your photos from OK to a great, which makes them so much more Instagrammable.
- Find an angle – Move around your subject to get the most natural looking angle. Watch for the direction of light.
- Always ask – Most people selling food, especially in markets, are more than happy to have you take photos, but a little politeness goes a long way and often leads to a much better shot.
- Make a shot – Buy a few local items of produce and find a quiet corner to set up a little still-life shot with anything from some driftwood, a napkin or a tiled floor as the background.
- Embrace the seasons – Whether it’s stunning spring produce, bright summer colours or the warm glow of autumn, giving your photos a seasonal look will help you create a theme to some of your images.
- Edit for the best results – If you’re using a phone to take photos, edit your images with some of the great editing apps around. For camera users, try just one lens (my go to is a 50mm) and then edit in Lightroom or Photoshop.
Food Fun Travel is a blog run by Tommo and Megsy. Taking tasty food photos while on vacation is a great way to remember the unique meals and cultures of the places you’ve visited. But if you want really great pics you have to do a bit more than taking a quick photo on your phone before eating your meal.
- The first thing to consider is where is your light coming from. The main issue with food photography is it’s often taken in a dark restaurant with dimmed mood lighting – this is not great for food shots. Try to get natural light, stand up, take your food over to a window or even outside.
- If it’s night, see if there is a table in the restaurant that has better lighting than others and ask if you can be seated there so you can try and get the most out of your pics. Also, think about incorporating your surroundings.
- If you are in a stunning location why not try and feature the view as well? Rather than just taking a close up of the food, find an angle where you can see some of the scenery of where you are. This helps to give the shot more atmosphere and a sense of place.
- It can be hard to resist eating when the food arrives, so plan out your composition, background, lighting and props before the food arrives so you can just place the food and get the shot quickly. All it takes is a little bit of thought and you’ll start seeing an improvement in no time.
Try out these tricks and see what improvements you get in your food photography.
On your next holiday, take a bite out of their book and capture your best holiday food snaps yet! Comment below and let us know any tips you have for taking the perfect picture.