Picture this: you’ve created a wonderful meal, it tastes fabulous and looks amazing and you can’t wait to share a photo online. You grab the camera, give the food an extra little tweak, and click away. Excellent – until you see the results. Oops! The food looks blurry and a million miles away.
Even the most spectacular plate of food, whether it’s a steaming bowl of fragrant mussels, a rich and decadent chocolate pudding or a crisply green vibrant salad, rarely looks its best in a photo without a little know-how about the best way to photograph it.
But help is at hand!
Here are my 10 top tips to make your plate of food look as good in the photo as it does in the kitchen:
- Think about the plate or plates you are using. Food often looks best on white or cream plates but sometimes it’s fun to play with colour.
- Check the edges of your serving dish are clean around the edge. A small cloth or cotton bud are good ways to remove marks.
- Make your food glisten and look juicy with a little spritz of water.
- Think about composition. Do you want to introduce another element, such as a glass of wine or maybe some flowers? Less is usually more in the case of props, as it is easy to get over-complicated.
- Be aware of what is inside the frame. While you might not notice them at the time, dishcloths, dirty dishes or packaging on the bench are the first things your eye will see in the finished photos.
- Think about your angles – 45˚ is a good place to start, but try a few different positions. Get down low or go straight overhead – photograph with a variety of options to see what works best for the shot.
- Think about cropping. Allow some space around the outside of the food – you can always crop it later. Extreme close up details of food can look very graphic, but often don’t deliver real appetite appeal.
- If you want your shot to look a bit more moody, play around with the focus of the camera or adjust it using the settings on your camera or in a program such as Instagram. The aim is to draw your eye in to the food.
- If possible use diffused natural light. Bright sunlight gives a harsh ‘over-lit’ effect, and house lights also don’t do food any favours. If you have to take a photograph at night, try taking one with and one without using the flash and see which looks best.
- If the light is too harsh or directional you could try diffusing it. Try hanging very fine cloth over the light source. If you really want to get professional, putting up pieces of white cardboard or polystyrene on either side of your dish, out of frame, will reflect light into the darker back parts of the dish.
I look forward to seeing photos of all the great meals you’re creating at home. To make sure your photo (and recipe) stands out from the crowd, just follow the guidelines above, and get clicking!
Recipes shown on this page
A classic mince sauce that is wonderful with fettuccine, spaghetti and in lasagne.
One of those all-time family favourites, and this recipe is an absolute classic.