Improve Your Food Photography Skills

Improve Your Food Photography Skills - Food & Nutrition Magazine - Student Soup
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Healthy eating can be appetizing as well as beautifully portrayed. Food photography can be an effective way to increase engagement on social media and encourage people to make small changes in their diet towards a healthier eating lifestyle.

Here are some tips to help improve your skills as a food photographer and maintain an engaging social media feed:

  1. Use Natural Light
    Natural light can make or break an image. It is the most important aspect of creating a great photograph. Always take your pictures near a window or outside. The best time of day to snap a high-quality picture is mid-day when it’s light outside – even better if it’s cloudy.
  2. Brightness
    Brightness enhances your photograph and makes it stand out. Shadows and dark tones can distract the viewer from what you are photographing.
  3. Pick Appropriate Backgrounds and Surfaces
    Pick a background that makes your food stand out. Don’t put dark colored food on top of a dark background and don’t choose a background that is distracting from what you are trying to photograph.
  4. Create a Consistent Theme and Brand with Your Images
    Choose a theme that fits your personality and looks clean and homologous. Don’t use a different theme in each of your photographs, keep it consistent.
  5. Food Styling and Neatness
    Preparing the food to look delicious and neat is the hardest part. This would also be called “food styling” since you want to style your food to look nice/ presentable and not sloppy.
  6. A Good Quality Camera
    A blurry camera can make a great photo turn into not so great. This doesn’t have to be a fancy expensive camera; it can be a phone with a high-quality camera.
  7. Appropriate Angles
    Weird angles can ruin a perfectly good food photograph. Play around with what angles look best to you. You want the viewer to recognize the food you are photographing and not have to guess because of the angle you chose to take the picture.
  8. Make it Appetizing
    If the food you’re photographing does not look appetizing to you or to others, then it is not worth taking a photo of. The purpose of food photography is to make it look crave worthy.
  9. Include a Variety of Colors
    If the food you are photographing is all one color, it won’t stand out. Using a variety of colors really enhances your images. Try to use as many colors as you can in each photo you take.
  10. Fullness of the Food
    This aspect took me a long time to realize, but it is a game changer for good food photography. This also makes food look more appetizing and adds depth. If you have a bowl of food, fill it up to where there are not empty spaces in the bowl. Try using smaller dishes and place some filler food (depending on what you are photographing: lettuce, fruit, grains, etc.) at the bottom to make the main food stand out.

Food photography seems like an easy skill to acquire, but in reality it takes a lot of practice and knowledge of placement, brightness, colors, backgrounds and props. As RDNs, it is important to share the importance of healthy eating and how it can be appetizing as well as appealing. Sharing our appreciation for food will hopefully encourage others to do the same, and social media is a great platform to use.

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Haley Newton
Haley Newton is an undergraduate student at Clemson University in its DPD program. When she becomes a registered dietitian nutritionist, she hopes to specialize in pediatric or clinical nutrition. She enjoys writing blog posts on nutrition topics, running, barre classes, cooking and developing recipes or her food Instagram and blog.