My learning curve with food photography / by Stephanie Canarte

  This image was originally posted on Encore Food with Elegance blog and it was used to illustrate the egg poaching technique.   © 2012 Stephanie Canarte

This image was originally posted on Encore Food with Elegance blog and it was used to illustrate the egg poaching technique.

© 2012 Stephanie Canarte

I'm not a food blogger but I love photographing food, the funny part about me and this genre is that it kind of happened to me, I was not actively  pursuing it.  I work in food marketing, so at work they always require food shots for many different purposes, somehow the company's camera ended up in my hands and I suddenly became the go to company photographer.

I have to admit, my first set of pictures are less than appetizing. Off white balance, clutter in the background, lack of colour accuracy and I always ended up wondering, what am I doing wrong? Why can't I make the food look as good as it tastes?

After a lot of failed attempts and a bunch of food photography books I figured where I was failing: 

Light

Light is absolutely crucial when it comes to food photography. Always try to shoot in natural light but if not available, use your preferred source of artificial light (strobe, speedlites,etc) and diffuse  until it looks like soft morning light. 

White Balance

Always mind the white balance you are shooting in, it can really alter the colour of the ingredients and when photographing proteins it can make them look completely dull. Something that completely changed my life is custom white balance, it gives you maximum color accuracy.

Composition

When dealing with food try as many different angles as possible, the idea is to transmit the whole dish and showcase the ingredients. Get close, get far, angle it to the left, shoot i from the top; try as many different compositions until you find the most appealing shot.

Take your time

I think this is the biggest secret of the trade, taking a great food photo takes more than 5 seconds. If you want to take magazine like pictures you have to plan for the shoot. Wether you are shooting in natural or artificial light you have to prep your light set up, arrange your props, style the food and then take a series of pictures until you find "the one".

Understanding these four things totally made my food photos go from "is that even edible?" to "that makes me hungry!" and in the end these whole process help me become a better photographer.