Food Photography Tips
For home cooks these days, it's common to pick up a camera before picking up a fork. It seems that everyone documents their adventures in the kitchen, posting photos of their best-looking meals to Facebook and Flickr, Twitter and blogs.
The rustic-casual dinner pulled off the grill, cheeseboards arranged with Martha Stewart–like elegance and cupcakes so expertly frosted that they could appear in a cookbook–these are the images that fill our foodie brag books.
So how do you make sure that the camera loves your meal as much as your taste buds do?
We asked Indianapolis photographer Kelley Heneveld, whose business is Kelley Jordan Heneveld Photography, to share her tips for excellent food photography. For this issue, Heneveld captured a farm-to-table dinner as it unfolded at Traders Point Creamery, starting on page 10.
1. Lighting is the key to good photography, so pay attention to the light source. Ideally, it should come in at an angle, not directly above the subject. That pendant lamp above your kitchen table? It's not ideal. Natural light is best, so try placing the dish near a window instead.
2. Go for variety. Rotate the plate and snap it at every angle. Get in close and take a step away from it as well.
3. Choose props that will complement the subject. A white plate is suitable for most foods, especially if they're detailed. Likewise, a simple, neutral-colored food can withstand more ornate props, like an antique plate or floral tablecloth.
4. Key an eye out for details. You'll kick yourself if the photo is brilliant except for that awkward parsley stem sticking out from the back of the dish.
5. Eat as you go! A half eaten plate of food can be just as intriguing as the original, untouched dish. Interesting details and colors are revealed with each bite gone.