8 ON FLEEK TIPS ON TAKING THE BEST FOOD SHOTS

10:38 AM

You would think that I am a pro photographer just by reading the title of this blog but I am not. Let me clarify before I proceed that this blog post is aptly titled: 8 On Fleek Tips on Taking the Best Food Shots (A Non-Photographers Guide). Yes! That is right! If you are already a photographer I don't think this blog post is for you.

We all want to take brag-worthy photos - especially in this day and age. Grainy photographs no longer have a spot in any of our social media feed unless we purposely use a grainy filter in order to maintain an aesthetic. Regardless of skill level, we all just aim to take excellent quality photos. Gone are the days when only the photographer or the designated "picture taker" captures the memories because anyone with a smartphone can now whip it out, find a good angle, adjust the lighting, compose a shot, and boom one more photo less from our daily picture target. I'm sure you get what I mean here. There never seems to be an end of things to photograph - from the most mundane object inside the house to the most unforgettable memory we want to cherish and relive over and over again.

My blog post today aims to provide some basic tips on how to take the best food shots. I'm going to be sharing a hybrid list of tips (could be applicable to both the good old camera and our trusty smartphones). Oh and yes, please read until the end because I will be sharing a recipe that's worth the try - the pictures will speak for itself!

1. PICK A SUBJECT AND FOCUS ON IT

Many of the best food shots published in cookbooks and food magazines feature just one subject. When taking a photo of food, spend a good amount of time to compose the shot. It's not enough to just point and shoot literally. If you're taking a photo, make sure that the subject does not fill the entire frame unless you just want to zoom in to show an ingredient or two and of course, make sure that two-thirds of the photo should be negative space. Like in the photo below, you can clearly see how the focus is on the food and there's enough negative space around it. Remember that allotting negative space can make or break a photo. Keep that in mind shutterbugs, will you?
One camera phone function that we often overlook is its ability to focus on a subject just by tapping the screen on the space where you want your camera to focus. Oh and yes, after ensuring that your composition is worthy of a like or love, you can also crop the image to show a different perspective. By using photo enhancing apps/software, you can also improve the quality of a photo or just put more focus on the subject.

2. LET THERE BE LIGHT - NATURAL LIGHT

No one wants to see a dark or overexposed photo of a food and that's a fact. I'll bet my dinner for that. The best time to take food photos using natural lighting is in the morning and in the afternoon - when the sun is almost near the horizon (the magic hour as we all know it). It's really not the amount of light that we need to consider, it's always the quality that should take the podium. In the morning, right after sunrise is best as you will get just the right amount of light.
Note that if you are not a pro at handling artificial studio lights, using it to take food photos could sometimes lead to orange or yellow casts that won't do justice to your food. You should always aim to show the natural colors of the food that you are shooting. As in chocolate should be brown and not brown with a tinge of orange.

3. DETERMINE THE BEST ANGLE FOR A SPECIFIC FOOD

When shooting food, listen to your inner feeling and avoid overthinking a situation. Focus on your subject and the props you are using, identify the best angle to showcase the food, compose the shot, and move calmly as you find the best look for your food. Keep in mind though that sometimes you need to shoot freshly-cooked food and this requires fast thinking because the basil on top won't take forever to stay fresh or the steam could be gone in a few seconds.
Once you've decided on the angle, just push the shutter. Play with your camera by tilting left or right, zooming in or out, or just take the photo from a different perspective that you usually do. Have fun and a good variety of angling could lead to you taking the best photos than you ever imagined.

4. USE PROPS (FOOD STYLING)

Arrange your food neatly and use props that are related to the food. You don't want to have a book on how to butcher a cow when you are photographing freshly-baked salmon. You also don't want your creamy polenta to come out like a huge blob of yellow puke in the middle of the plate. You know what I mean? There's nothing worse than a photo of a messy food on a plate with the elements all over the place. Arranging the food can create visual interest and thus make your food look better and more delicious. A good eye for detail and composition will also come into play as you consider the props.
5. DON'T FORGET THE BACKGROUND - STICK TO NEUTRALS

Steer clear of super busy backgrounds. Make the food the center of every food shot of course. Make it the focal point or compose the shot where the eyes are led to the food. Heavy decorations or too much clutter in the background or a background with so many shapes and illustrations could make the photo cluttered and all over the place. It is always best to keep it to a minimum especially when deciding on a background. Less is more so they say...
6. CREATE A STORY

Believe it or not, a photo of a food can evoke different kinds of emotions. With the use of props, the food itself, background, lighting among other things, you can create an exciting story to convey to your audience and that is essentially the essence of food photography.
The photo above speaks about the unseen subject is having a quiet and relaxing time while reading a book and eating his/her breakfast. The book, the toast, the overall look and feel of the photo helps us, the viewer, to step into the picture and imagine what it might be like to enjoy breakfast in solitude. 

7. ADD A HUMAN ELEMENT
To make a photo a little bit interesting, photographers add hands, mouth or any part of the body associated with eating food in food photos. I have seen this technique wonderfully used in the past year or so. I think adding a human element can make the photo pop and creates a sense of presence for the viewer. It's like a POV (point of view) kind of photo sometimes.

8. USE BUILT-IN PHOTO EDITING OR APPS USING YOUR SMARTPHONE

With all the challenges posed by photography depending on camera or smartphone used or of course the human factor (the person taking the photo) - not vivid enough, not sharp enough, neede cropping, needs a filter for a little more drama, photo editing apps are heaven sent!
Of course, you have to begin with using a photo that could capture details so clearly and which boosts an ultra-sensitive f/2.0 aperture like Oppo F5.  You can then use the built-in photo editing tool to fine-tune your photo. If you are not contented with the beautiful photos and still want to take it up a notch, then a photo editing app is at your disposal. But be cautious in using too much filter - you don't want your freshly-cooked spaghetti to look like it has seen better days. For food it is also advisable to make the photo look softer, just a tad bit increase on the saturation and warmer temperature.

Oh yay! You're still reading up to this point! To reward you for patiently reading this blog post, here's a recipe of gourmet tuyo that I am sure you would love to make again and again because it's super easy and it does not require Masterchef-level skills to make. Ready? CLICK THIS LINK

NOW, WHAT GADGET SHOULD YOU USE? 

Now if you want me to recommend a smartphone that you could use to take mouth-watering food photos (aside from the thousands of selfies of course), I would highly recommend Oppo F5 because the built-in camera is just amazing.

Read more about the specs of Oppo F5 HERE. The phone comes in my super favorite color - RED, and it is also available in two other colors:
Do you have other tips and tricks on how to capture the best food shots? I would love to know. Please comment down below so we can exchange ideas. And before I finally end this post, let me invite you to visit my cooking/baking/meal delivery IG feed - FOODINMYLUNCHBOX

Have fun!

#OPPOF5
#CaptureTheRealYou

DISCLOSURE: This is my entry to the Nuffnang PH x Oppo F5 Red Blog Contest. I was not paid to write this blog post but I have a chance to win my very own Oppo F5 in my favorite color. I own a few of the photos featured in this post and some were copied from the Oppo website, as well as HauteStock and Stocksnap.io. There is no affiliate link included in this blog post.


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