The Food PhotographerAll you need to know about Food Photography
HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH FOOD FOR HOTELS AND RESTURANTS
If you are looking for a food photographer I hope this page will give you some insights and ideas to help you or you can jump to my food photography portfolio.
WHAT DOES A FOOD PHOTOGRAPHER DO?
A food photographer specialises in taking pictures of food for commercial purposes. A food photographer will be able to plan and execute the vision of the client to produce images where the chosen angle and composition portrays the food in a visually appealing manner.
WHY IS FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY IMPORTANT?
Good food photography can stimulate the senses of the viewer and literally make them feel hungry or want to devour the food within the photo.
HOW TO PLAN FOR A PHOTOSHOOT
So you have decided to have a photoshoot for your restaurant, product or outlet. What is the next step? Ideally, you already know what you need but if you don’t then you can consider the following:
HOW MANY SHOTS WILL YOU NEED?
Create a shot list detailing each photo that is required and what it will be used for.
WHAT IS THE TYPE OF FOOD BEING PHOTOGRAPHED?
Will it be cooked fresh, is it a product, or pre-prepared?
This information will be useful to determine the amount of time that will be needed and other resources required.
WHAT WILL THE IMAGES BE USED FOR?
Consider the orientation of the images as most will be in landscape format (e.g. banners, social media etc), while a lot of printed material for magazines can use portrait format. Knowing this upfront ensures you will have photos that meet your output and usage needs.
WHAT STORY DO YOU WANT THE IMAGES TO CONVEY IF ANY?
Formal, to the point, homely, restaurant experience?
WHAT ARE THE COLOURS INVOLVED?
Will you want to match any colour palette for your brand or advertising campaign?
WHAT ARE THE TEXTURES TO BE USED?
Should they be natural textures, rustic, modern, etc.?
WHAT STYLE OR CONSISTENCY IS NEEDED?
What level of consistency is required for the overall look and feel of the images? i.e. should they look similar when viewed in succession?
WHAT IS YOUR DEADLINE?
Ensure you have planned enough time for the photoshoot. Including preparation, location planning, defining responsibilities as well as any time needed for post-production after the shoot.
THE FOOD STYLIST
In most cases, it is important to hire a food stylist for the shoot. It is the responsibility of the stylist is to prepare and style the food for the shoot. The stylist would also take care of purchasing ingredients, props, backgrounds, preparing the food and then styling on set.
Mood boards are generally great to visualise and share creative ideas to all involved in the shoot including photographer, stylist, but also your management. A mood board can ensure everyone has a clear understanding of what is to be achieved from the shoot.
LIGHTING FOR FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY
Lighting for food photography can use either natural light or off-camera flash depending on the need and the mood that is required.
WHAT IS THE LOCATION FOR THE SHOOT?
Some shoots may take place in a restaurant or food preparation area or alternatively a photography studio with a kitchen.
MORE FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY EXAMPLES
This image shows plated food that has been served at a table. The table settings are the actual ones used in the restaurant. It demonstrates the food in the restaurant setting and context. The purpose is to bring elements of the restaurant into the shot placing the food in the actual restaurant thus showing the style, colours and to some extent the ambience. You could imagine that this is the plate in front of you just after a waiter has served you.
Here the photo is selling a product and it is styled with a cup and chocolates in a manner that implies a practical example of how the tea would be served.
A product food shot for Bvlgari Chocolates where ingredients of the chocolates are used as prop to highlight the flavours without distracting the viewer from the item being sold.
Simple or no styling allows focus just on the food. Some area is left around the plate for cropping or to add branding or text.
PHOTOS SHOWING CONSISTENCY
Food Photos for Web sites often have the viewer browsing through many different photos, particularly if viewed from a mobile phone. Keeping the styling and colours the same will be easier on the eyes of the viewer as only the food changes. There is less distraction and the viewer can easily see the difference between the food choices. Having different colours or styles, angles or positions can be distracting and confusing.
Products arranged with food and styled to reflect the ingredients in the flavours of the tea.