I love documenting my meals; my iPhone alone has about one thousand pictures of random foods. If you follow me on Instagram you’re probably disgusted by the amount of pictures I have of up-close, sepia filtered cookies. I’m sure you readers have seen some of my obsessive food photography as I sometime sneak it into food porn or other posts.
Beyond that I also look at food blogs, forums, Pinterests and Tumblrs for the better part of my day. Since I work for Feastly, it is natural that I believe food is the most beautiful thing in the whole world. I’m pretty sure that was the main criteria when hiring.
I have gotten past the point of feeling awkward when at restaurants I don’t let anyone eat until I have gotten a great picture of our steamed pork buns. When my friends ask me to bring a dessert to a dinner party, they all expect that is will have a massive piece taken out of it. I always have to cut out a piece to photograph, so they know to never expect a full dessert.
In this increasingly visual age food photography is becoming very important. Sites like Food Porn, Food Gawker and Dessert Stalker get an unimaginable amount of views per day (probably half are from me…). And it seems like the amount of food blogs on the Internet doubles daily.
I personally think the explosion in the food photography community is fantastic. As a baker I believe it is so rewarding to see every (successful) thing I’ve ever made, in chronological order on my blog! I really encourage every cook, baker and general foodie to start documenting your favorite meals out and your homemade dinners in.
Although I am not an expert photographer, I do have over 15 blog followers (I’m kind of a big deal). Below I have listed some tips so you can become a food pornography creator yourself.
1) Shoot the food head on
It is always tempting to shoot your food as you see it yourself, from an overhead angle. But in photographs this causes the food to look flat and shapeless. When documenting your meal straight on the unique textures and heights are distinguishable, which is what makes looking at food so interesting. You don’t want to show brownies from their flat tops. You want to show brownies straight on with warm fudge bubbling out. The rich, decedent texture of the brownie’s insides is what makes them so visually stimulating.
2) Be generous with the crop
When I take a picture of the food I want to be all up in its grill. I don’t want to show my little brother picking his nose in the background or my flour dusted counter top. Cropping out unnecessary details lets the viewer focus on your subject. I’m always tempted to sprinkle fresh berries around my baked goods, and create intricate scenes with mason jars and table clothes. But this takes away from the subject ultimately, so crop out unnecessary details.
3) Use shallow depth of field
This goes along with my other two points. Unless you have a food photography studio, you are bound to have random objects in the background. It is pretty much impossible for me to get a photo in my kitchen without a random elecrical socket or pile of newspapers. Before I knew about depth of field I used to make my mom hold up white cardboard around my food. But shallow depth of field doesn’t require your mom’s help, and looks much more professional. The blurred colors created are intersting, and ensures your viewer will not be distracted trying to distinuish the lamp in the background of your photo.