The growing interest in food photography can be ascribed to the following factors: blogging and the handy wonders of digital cameras. Although the professional world of Food Porn is a limited industry, shooting food is basically something anyone can do. However, not all photographed foods are made equal, not even those shot with the same camera. There are indeed some important factors to take note of before finally getting that image that will make your viewers salivate for more.
Direction and technique are important aspects in any successful photograph, and when shooting food, there are some tricks that can be implemented. This explains why food styling is a thriving business along with food photography. Food styling, albeit sounding simple, is a critical part in any food presentation. There are some practices in food styling that photographers adopt as well that will help make their subject look luscious than usual.
Some chefs on TV reality shows bank on presentation as part of their dish’s appeal. The approach to styling lies on the canvass — the plate — and the paint — the food. Choosing the right plate is critical to any presentation. Many highly favor nice white plates as they highlight the colors of the food more. This also adds to another important tip: make sure that the colors in the dish are attractive as well. Any chef sees every food component as a contribution to the overall color of the dish, which is why they use colorful ingredients enthusiastically. There are also some cooking techniques that maintain the bright color of the food such as “shocking”(putting the greens in an ice bath to stop cooking and wilting) and adding lemon juice to keep the raw produce from turning brown. Undercooking also helps maintain firmness and a look of freshness.
Food photographers and food stylists also “fake”many components in order to deliver the perfect photograph. These tricks include spraying the food with cooking oil for the added sheen; slathering food with Vaseline to create beautiful water bead effects; and creating thick bubbles and foam using dishwashing soaps. Photographers also use soft lighting which generally makes anything look good.
Shooting beautifully styled food can be a breeze, but the challenge lies in shooting “ugly food”. Certain foods do not look attractive when photographed such as pale colored grains and pasta with pale-colored sauces. It is also hard to make chocolate attractive because it can be too brown. In this case, one of the approaches is to use beautiful colored plates that will complement the food. Garnishes and sauces also help. Arranging the food on the plate with attractive-looking side-dishes is also a technique. Notably, the photographer can take advantage of the entire set which will take the attention outside the highlighted “ugly”food and have the viewer look at the photograph in its entirety.
Another technique is to photograph food according to its parts. This is to say that instead of taking a picture of the entire cake, it can be more effective to take a picture of one slice or to focus on a specific topping. Photographers can also take advantage of the textures of the food, especially if they need to photograph, for instance, a teaspoon of sugar.
The aim of food photography is to present food in its most beautiful state as possible. This requires an extra dollop of creativity and imagination, especially as food does not have to be presented in the usual conventional manner. In any case, whether food photography is a profession or merely a hobby, the important point is to highlight the good even if it requires a few tricks found in the pantry or the medicine cabinet.