Food in pictures: How to foodtograph

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The triumph of (everyman) photography

Much has happened in the world of photography since Joseph Nicéphore took the first photograph on a pewter plate in 1826. We all now carry a camera in the form of a smartphone or tablet in our pants pocket or purse. Anyone can take a picture at any time. It comes as no surprise then, that Instagram and Pinterest are among the 10 most important social networks. Over 60 million photos are uploaded daily to Instagram. More than 100 million pictures are linked just to the hashtag #food. So how do you take a nice photo of your meals, for example at a restaurant, during a dinner at home or at a reception? We have put together a few tips for you on how to take perfect pictures with simple means.

In the right light

Nothing in photography is as important as the right light, whether working with a smartphone or an SLR camera. Different perspectives in lighting can bring about very different effects. This works with very simple means which anyone, even without professional equipment, can use. We have illuminated the apples in the example below from above with the same flashlight, from the right and the left, and from behind the apple. Without using a filter, very different effects result from the very same motif. You can experiment with the light yourself. A transparent blue or orange foil (e.g. from a hobby shop) glued or strapped over a small flashlight or over the flash (also works with a smartphone) makes for atmospheric photographs. You can also pull a nylon stocking over the flash or lens and then snap away. The results are striking. Just give it a try and play with the light.


The right picture detail

In addition to lighting, of course, the subject itself plays an important role. In our article «How to elicit the wow effect from your guests» we showed you how to make your dishes real eye-catchers. The advice in it also helps you produce special photos. And we’ve got more inspiration for you. How about a change in perspective, for instance? Look at your subject through the camera lens from many different positions. You can see in the example how that can look. The same subject from other perspectives yields two completely different pictures. The benefit? If you take several snapshots from different perspectives it is very likely that you will find a favorite, the best one of your subject. General advice: As is often the case, less is more also applies to food photography. Try not to overload the picture and distract from its focus – your food. Moreover, pictures seem much more vigorous when they are out of focus – when the subject is not centered in the photo but rather has a focal point slightly to the right, left, top or bottom.


Technical assistance permitted

In food photography you can, of course, make use of various technical and especially digital aids. The latest smartphone cameras already include a ‘Food mode’. Beyond that, there are many digital assistants, such as ‘snapseed’. With this simple but powerful app (free of charge for Android and for iOS) you can bring everything out in your snapshots. A wide range of filters and processing modes are at your disposal. With just a few motions you can make fine adjustments, cuts, selective adaptations and even repairs.

If you would like to not only process photos but design menus or greeting cards with your own food photo, look no further than the free software ‘Canva’. Available for desktop, as well as an app, this design program for beginners can enhance your food photography on posters, postcards and even entire presentations. It is quite intuitive and the results really are appealing.

Do you have any tips? Write to us and show us your nicest food photos.


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