1. Light Light Light!
Light is extremely important when taking a picture because the reflection gives out a shine and makes the food look tasty. Use as much natural light as possible but if you’re in a dim romantic restaurant, don’t be shy to use additional light, it helps! Ask a friend to switch on their torch on their smart phones, which can give you plenty of light (avoid as much shadow as possible). You can even buy additional lights that you can clip on to your phone if you don’t mind the extra load.
2. The right amount of Zoom/Angle/Focus
Make sure your photos taste as good as the flavours inside your food. If you are using a smartphone, avoid using the zoom tool which pixilates the photo. Instead, experiment by taking close shots of the tastiest looking parts. It doesn’t hurt to play around with the angle, as some dishes look good up close and some look better from the top. Use the focus tool by pushing your finger on the juiciest part of your food to give it more concentration by blurring out the rest and focusing on the best!
3. Editing the photo
Editing is an excellent tool that can enhance your photo or destroy it. Play with the filters to enhance the colour, keeping it real. Use the cropping tool if needed and don’t be shy to tilt the image slightly using the rotate tool to give it some swag. Make sure your photo has enough brightness and the right amount of contrast. Also, labels, texts, comments and watermarks can all give a photo some personality. Don’t over-do it because that will destroy the photo. My favourite instagram filters are Clarendon and Hefe, what are yours?
4. Placing and Plating
This tip is mainly for the home cooks out there who cook amazing food but fail to capture the effort on camera. Having nice looking plates help a lot but it’s also how you place the gems on your dish. For example, while taking a photo of a shrimp curry, pore a bit of the curry into a bowl/plate and use tweezers or chopsticks to place the shrimps together, making them visible (that’s how they do it in Michelin star restaurants). When taking pictures of meat, the trick is to keep it medium rare; the meat looks juiciest at this stage. Using a brush with a little bit of oil or water to keep your food moist also makes a big difference. Always make sure to have a clean rim on your plate when taking pictures. Another vital tip to give life to your pictures is by using props. Buy some colourful table-mats, fancy looking glasses, wooden salad bowls, classy coasters, etc… it makes a big difference. A lot of professional photographers also have fake fruits, vegetables and flowers that they use around the table to add coloured value to the table.
5. Garnish is key!!
Garnish is the best way to add colour to your food pictures. Most use greens to garnish, but there are endless possibilities of what one could garnish with. There are so many videos out there that teach you simple ways to make an interesting looking design with your fruits and vegetables. Garnish makes your pictures look a lot better, a lot more colourful and tempting. Don’t be shy to experiment! What your favourite garnish?