When it comes to food photography, I think food bloggers have heaps more challenges than the food stylists that set up the shots for magazines, cookbooks and the like. For one, the pictures you see here (and most other food blogs/web sites) are of edible food. It goes from that plate to our mouths. The ones you see in print ads, commercial, magazines et al largely are not. They rely on many tricks of the trade to make the food look mouth watering, but also rendering it inedible. They also don’t have a hungry family or dinner guests waiting for you to “just get one more shot” before they can dig in. It’s a completely different perspective and process for food bloggers, for sure, but we all develop our own method of doing it along the way.
Today my tip for you is to change your angles and your set-up to make sure you get your m-o-n-e-y shot.
Stand on a chair and take an overhead shot.
Take your picture from the left and then the right, giving your plate different lighting each time.
Turn the plate around and take pictures along the circumference.
Change the background.
And the lighting.
And, of course, do this all before your family gets mad that their dinner is getting cold.
For the one or two shots you see here with each post, there are usually a minimum of 10 (but admittedly sometimes 100+, depending on the topic) that were discarded and didn’t make the cut for whatever reason. Since it’s not as easy to have a redo, I try to take as many configurations as possible to ensure that I get the m-o-n-e-y shot, because it totally sucks to download pictures and realize too late that nothing works.
Last week’s picture of my sea bass from our Foodily launch outing is a perfect example of how changing my angle and turning the plate around worked. The first three pictures never would have seen the light of day had they not been excellent examples of bad shots and why angles are important. The lighting in our private room was low, the plate was white, the fish was white, the salad was pale. It was a challenge. But for the last shot, I turned the plate around and caught the purple of the radicchio, and deemed it perfect. While it doesn’t necessarily capture the sea bass (white fish on white plate, really?), it made for a colorful picture.
Ding, ding, ding. The one. The first three pictures would have been discarded for other reasons too, but for now, we’re just focusing on angles. It’s something so simple (and completely free!), but makes a world of difference in your photographs.
February 8, 2011
I regret to inform you that I took zero pictures today. I can’t remember the last time that happened. Definitely over a year ago. Bummer.