You know when you go to a restaurant and you see something on the menu that makes your mouth water and you just have to have it? Have you tried your hand at taking pictures of your favorite dish and it looks like a hot mess? The tips we have below are going to help make the picture you take of a homemade super tasty burger look like the one on the menu—not what you really end up seeing in a greasy take-out bag.
Being that everyone has their phone on them at all times and people like food, it was a natural progression for us to start showing pictures of our food. Heck, even Vanity Fair has a Food Porn column that highlights the mobile photographs from chefs and food personalities all around the world. If you look on Twitter for the hashtag #foodporn or #foodie you can see lots of images people take of their food. Even Flickr has a lot of groups displaying nothing but food images.
The apps listed here are couple of the most popular camera apps for foodies. While you can use pretty much any camera to take a picture of your culinary creations, these are applications made specifically for food.
The claim to fame with Hipster is the look it creates—very analog images.The added Foodie SnapPak is a combination of flash, lens, and film filters that create a very appealing look when it comes to food images.
SnapDish Food Camera (Android)
SnapDish is an Android app made for food photography. When you capture the image of the great looking presentation on a plate, SnapDish processes the image to make it look amazing. Blur photos as if they’ve been taken with an SLR and share images on multiple sites at once.
Dishes don’t keep looking their best for very long: bread gets soggy, and food generally looks worse the longer it sits there. Make sure to have everything ready to take pictures as soon as the food is plated and perfect.
Try Multiple Angles and Different Exposure Settings
When your food photo shoot is taking place, it’s a good idea to take a lot of pictures, but make sure to use different angles—you don’t always have to take shots from an overhead or seated view. See how the images turn out when you shoot from a level view. Get creative. The more images you have to choose from, the better.
DO NOT use an in-camera flash. If you are using a standard camera app or other camera with a flash, try to use as much external lighting as possible. The flash from the camera/or camera phone app is going to be to direct and is much more likely to wash out parts of the image. If you have a good natural light source like a window, use it to your advantage.
Have Something in the Background
Having a contrasting background can really make make food pop out in the picture. Just like the dish itself, having a well placed fork or the angle of a square plate can change the look of the image drastically. Don’t crowd the space, just accent the area.
Make Adjustments to the White Balance
Play around with the white balance a little; you want the whites in the food and/or background to look like they were bleached, not yellowish like an old jean jacket. Try taking a test picture of something white like a piece of paper first so you can make the correct adjustments. If you are in a public place where there might be lighting that can yellow the image, this step is really important.
The aperture helps you keep things in focus. When you want your cupcake to be in focus but the half empty glass of milk in the background to be a little bit blurred, you can use smaller F-stop settings. Using small F-stop numbers will help also help with blurring in low light (like in a restaurant) by creating a shorter shutter speed. The opposite is true for well lit areas: for those, you will want to use a higher F-stop setting to get the whole image in focus.
Get Right Up In There
Don’t be afraid to get really close when taking pictures of food. Using the macro to focus in on the plate of food can show the details. Depending on the app you are using, you may or may not have these adjustments.
When it comes to photography, each type of item you are capturing takes a different set of skills to highlight and focus on the right parts of the image, while the other parts act as accents. Foodie photography can take a bit of practice, but you’ll get the hang of it, and learning how to work the settings on your camera is key.Featured photo credit: Ripe Fig Fruits via Shutterstock