Ever wonder why pictures of food look so appetizing? Professional food photographers know taking pictures of food is tricky--you only have a short time in which to get the shot, and under bright lights, even the best dish can look washed out. That's why the professionals use the following tricks to brighten up their food photos.
Choose details that accentuate a food's natural color. Use color-enhancing garnishes, and place the food on dishes that make it look more appealing. You wouldn't want green vegetables on a green plate, for example, because the food will fade into the background. Go for contrast--use white, so the food will show up. When in doubt, use black dishes. They provide a neutral background that showcases almost any kind of food. For garnishes, choose colorful items and have plenty of variety. Try herbs, spices and sauces to help liven up the photo.
Pay attention to lighting.
Lighting is one of the most important factors in taking pictures of food. No matter how much time you take with the background, the garnish and the composition, the food won't look appetizing if the lighting is inappropriate. Natural lighting works best--fluorescent lights can give the image a green tint, and using a flash can make the food look washed out. If you do use artificial lighting, use the appropriate camera setting. Many cameras have settings designed to compensate for fluorescent or tungsten lighting, for example, so the food's natural colors won't be lost.
Faster is better.
You don't have much time when photographing food. Frozen food melts, vegetables wilt and beverages go flat. You may only have 15 or 20 minutes to get the shots you need, or you'll have to start over. If you've prepared adequately, you can spend that time taking pictures instead of setting up the shot. Make the most of the few minutes you have--experiment with camera angles and arrangements. Try changing the garnish or exploring different backgrounds or settings. You'll leave with a variety of shots and have a better chance of getting just the one you need.