Who says you need to have a fancy cam, DSLR, or professional tools to take stunning pictures? Here are 8 simple food photography tips that will help you get the photos you’ve always dreamed of.
1. Natural light and more natural light
Lighting is very very important in photography. One of the easiest and cheapest ways to let the colours of your food pop is to take them in natural lighting. Avoid artificial light as they tend to give your photos an unappealing hue.
If you’re taking a shot of your baked goods, place them on a table beside the window to allow the sunlight to stream in. If the rays are too strong, diffuse the sunlight using a white, sheer curtain. Remember to turn off all the other lights in the room to prevent the different lights from mixing and interfering with the colours in your shot.
2. Make use of your exposure slider
When taking photos in dark or bright places, the exposure slider built into your iPhone will be very useful in preventing your images from being over or underexposed.
How to use: On your camera application, tap onto a point to focus, then swipe up or down to increase or decrease the exposure respectively.
Additional Tip: Besides toggling the exposure slider, you can also increase your screen’s brightness. This will help to brighten your image on the whole without overexposing the other elements in the photo.
One way to instantly improve your photos is to apply the rule-of-thirds. On your iPhone, go to Settings > Camera, and turn on the “Grid” settings. By placing your points of interest at the intersections of the grid or along the lines, your photo will be more balanced and well composed as it enables the eye to flow from section to section more naturally.
4. No flash, please
For beginners, it is recommended to avoid using your iPhone flash when shooting images. Shooting directly at a subject with flash will result in uneven and harsh lighting, resulting in an overexposed foreground and underexposed background. If the area you’re shooting at is too dark, use the tips in point 2 to increase the brightness of your shot!
5. Post-process but don’t overprocess!
Photo with minor colour corrections
Doing some minor colour corrections and touch-ups will help to enhance your images, and give them a professional look. You don’t have to use professional software like Photoshop or Lightroom; iPhone applications such as VSCOcam, Afterlight, and Snapseed will do the trick. These user-friendly apps have a comprehensive range of functions and filters that will give an instant boost to your images.
However, be wary of overprocessing the photos. Refrain from throwing on too many filters or over-editing the colours of your shot. These will throw the focus away from your subject, and make it look unnatural and unappealing.
6. Shoot in Burst mode
Thai Iced Tea photos taken using burst mode
Shooting in burst mode is ideal if you’re taking action shots such as slicing through a lava cake or pouring a glaze onto your cake. On your camera app, hold the shutter button down to shoot photos in quick succession. After that, you can then scrub through the series of shots in your album to choose the best ones.
7. Style your shot with props
Styling your shot with props will bring your images to the next level. For example, for our Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies image, visual interest is added through the addition of fake flowers in the background, and a sprinkling of earl grey tea behind the cookies. The pink flowers add a pop of colour while not distracting viewers from the subject (cookies).
8. Work your angles
You’ve styled your food and adjusted the lighting, now’s the time to get that shot! If you’re not sure which angle to shoot from, try moving your camera around your subject and exploring different perspectives! Doing so will help you find the best angle that complements and highlights the features of your subject.
You can consider shooting from a couple of angles: top-down, straight-on, and 25 to 75 degrees. For example, the shot of our Matcha Shortbread Cookies on the left was shot using a 45° angle. This angle helps to highlight the textures and details of the cookie at the top, while allowing you to see the stack at the bottom. The blurred background sets the scene, and adds visual interest to your shot.
Go Forth and Get Some Shots!
With these tips, you should be well-equipped to up your Instagram game. Don't forget to tag your bakes at @bakestarters and #bakestarters!