Eight Tips for Taking Beautiful Food Photos for your Website (or Instagram!)
My instagram is full of yummy food because I love to cook. And I love taking pictures of my food almost as much. I recently had the pleasure of taking my food photos up a notch when I created on a website for a jam maker who wanted recipes on her site to show potential buyers different ways to use her tomato jam. What a treat for me!
Follow these 8 tips to take better food photos for your website or if you just want to make your Instagram followers jealous of your mad cooking skills.
Use your smartphone
You already have a great camera in your pocket. Use it! Sometimes I use Portrait Mode on my iPhone, but I mostly just use the regular camera.
Take advantage of natural light
You don't need a fancy lighting kit to get the right light for your photos. I take all my photos outside during the Golden Hour when the light is best. The Golden Hour is the first hour after sunrise or the last hour before sunset on a sunny day.
If that timing doesn't work for you, you can take your photos in the shade so you don't get shadows. And if you don't want to go outside, take your photos by a window and let the natural light shine in!
Don't use zoom and don't use flash
You're in a controlled setting so there is no reason to use the zoom function. Just move closer to your subject. Flash adds too many unwanted shadows and highlights. If you need to brighten up your photos, you can edit later.
Change up the setting
Set your plate on a cutting board
Use a tablecloth or just a regular piece of cloth and change the color or design for each dish. I quilt, so I have a ton of fabric. No one will ever know it’s not a full table cloth. You can also fold a piece of fabric to make it look like a cloth napkin.
Put a couple of the ingredients you used in the dish in the background right behind the plate to add some interest, but nothing that will distract from the food.
Garnishes of a different color or texture add a lot of interest and make the dish look more fancy.
Plate your food on white dishes
I like to use white dishes for my food photos. They make the colors pop, put the focus on the food and tie all your photos together.
Take A LOT of photos
Take a bunch of photos from different angels. Move the plate around. Get super close up and a little farther away. Be sure to focus on the food. Choose the best shot and delete the rest.
Edit your photos
If you don't have Photoshop, you can do this right on your phone in your photo app. Chances are, you'll need to add some brightness, straighten it out and add a tiny bit of vibrance and maybe some saturation. Small changes are best. Don't go overboard and don't add any filters. You want your pictures to look as natural as possible.
Touch Retouch is a great phone app for removing any schmutz you may have left on the plate. You should remove this before you take the picture, but if you miss it you can edit it out.
Now go cook something!