Similar to painting, when you begin to envision taking a photograph, you have to construct the photo, layer by layer, until you descend upon your ideal balance of reality and art. You have control over every decision and each placement.
As one of the most challenging kinds of photography, food photography is a beast of its own.
Having to capture a dish as thoroughly as possible while also ensuring that it looks appealing and is communicating a story makes it difficult.
Over the summer months, there are plenty of opportunities for you to enhance your food photography skills. If you are looking to take your food photography to the next level, here are five food photography tricks to use this summer.
Image credit: fotogora
- Always tell a story.
Excellent food photography is compelling, that is why viewers can’t get enough of it. But it can only be compelling if it is telling a story, as that is where the meaning comes from.
Before you start shooting, spend some time determining the message about the food that your photo will communicate. A strong story is the key to successful restaurant food photography.
For summer food photography, you may hone in on a relaxing summer beverage that brings up a particular mood. You may shoot a local summertime dish that stirs up a childhood memory, or maybe it is a specific food that is mainly eaten during the warmer months and therefore its texture, flavors or taste are what need to be the focus.
Whatever it is (and it will be different for all food photographers and their subjects), keep in mind the story that is being communicated.
- Use fake ice cubes.
Ice, ice, baby — the motto of summertime drinks. If you are shooting a series of summertime foods and beverages, you are going to have to capture a tantalizing glass of soda (or something stronger).
However, there is no way to capture the coldness of the ice and the refreshing nature of the drink if the ice is instantly going to melt. This is especially problematic if you are shooting under bright lights.
Therefore, professional food photographers often opt to use plastic cubes that look like ice cubes in their photos. These glossy, perfectly formed and melt-free plastic cubes can help to give you some extra time to capture the shot you are looking for.
- Rinse your berries.
Depending on where you reside, your berries may or may not be in season during these warm months. However, there is a good chance you still eat them frequently, as there is nothing better than a big bowl of fresh, ripe berries on a summer morning.
If you are looking to shoot the berries, then rinse them in cold water with lemon juice to bring out and emphasize more of their vibrant color.
Overall, no matter what item or cuisine you are photographing and what it is for, the longer it is sitting, the less likely it is to look appealing and vibrant through the lens.
- Add your own grill marks.
Grilled foods are a staple of summertime meals and something that you (most likely) want to capture during the sunny months of BBQs. However, grill marks on meats, fruits and veggies, and other items can be notoriously difficult to capture.
Therefore, take a tip from top food photographers and add your own grill marks. Draw them on to the food in question with eyeliner or with a soldering iron or charcoal starter.
- Summer-ize your props.
One of the best ways to make your summer food photos pop is to hunt around for some summer-y props, backgrounds and tableware that can be included in your images. During the summer months, you want these props to be colorful, light and inviting.
Top food and beverage photographers often use online resources such as eBay and Etsy for locating these types of props. Generally, bake sheets always work well as backgrounds.
That being said, you don’t want the props ever to dominate the photo (in color or design) and diminish the focus on the actual food. Instead, look for accessories and tableware that enhance the beauty of the subject.
Do you have any tips and tricks for shooting summer food? Let us know what you are working on over the next few months with regards to your photography in the comments below!
Barry Morgan is the creative force behind Barry Morgan Photography. His passions are photography, food and family, although not always in that order. He believes you should love what you do, to do exceptional work. Cooking was always a family affair in his home so naturally, once his passion for photography took root, he was drawn to food photography. Barry Morgan Photography now works with hundreds of clients, turning their tasty dishes into mouthwatering visuals.
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