With the growth in popularity of camera phones and photo-sharing apps like Instagram (I’m shrimpsaladcircus, if you Instagram, by the way!), people have started taking more pictures. Of their food. Really though, is a quick snapshot of your half-eaten grilled-cheese what you want to share with the world? If you’re more into presentation, then Tina Crespo is here to show you the ropes. Her gorgeous food photography and tips should inspire you to go from phone-tographer to styled recipe-buff in no time flat!
Food. We need it, we eat it, we play with it, and it seems to play a very important role of connecting people. What else can we possibly do with our food? Take some photos!
The greatest thing about photographing food is that it can be a very personal experience. When combined with a blog – it becomes more than just something you eat. Whether you’re a lifestyle blogger, beginner photographer, or want to try your hand at something new adding food photographs can help your blog become more well rounded. It shows your readers you are indeed, not a robot, and let’s be honest we all have that foodie bug in us.Thanks to Lindsay, I’m here to share a few food blogging tips!
1. Organize your shizz.
You’ll need a few things before you start shooting that glorious tart you just baked (or one you picked up from a store…which by the way is totally OK!). Here are my recommendations for shooting food in your home.
- Tripod – to steady your camera (or phone!) (I for one do not shoot freehand, being a naturally shaky person.)
- White foamcore – to bounce light back in to your food from your light source (window)
- Reflective poster board or reflector – to help add strong spots of light from your light source (window)
- Black foamcore – to subtract light (This is very useful if you want clean light, but deep beautiful shadows.)
- Paper towels & cotton swabs – to clean up spills
2. Find the light.
This one is key to getting nice, clean photographs. Find a spot in your home that gets the most indirect light (as in no harsh shadows) at any given time. It may take you a day or two to watch how the light moves through your home to figure out where you’ll need to set up your shots. Once you find the sweet spot, going back to it on another day will be easy. You can also “chase the light” through your house if you are shooting all day. I’m sure it burns lots of calories…
3. Props & Styling.
To help tell your story, the styling and props used in your photograph are almost as important as the food itself. You’ll want to choose colors that will compliment the food, or help it stand out. I find that this can be the trickiest part, and does take some practice, lots of patience, and the ability to find the color trends that best suit your style of photography.
*Quick note about buying props: the truly fun part is finding them! Look in thrift stores, antique malls, or garage sales for those unique pieces that will add dimension to your photographs. Homegoods is another great place to start building your inventory. Remember, you don’t have to spend a fortune either! Start out small, and go from there.
Or ya know, whatever… I may be breaking the rules by saying this (please don’t take my photographer card away!) but once you learn the rule of thirds, or any other photography tip, forget it! Embedding these rules in your mind (and not constantly forcing yourself to stay within a standard) will help you naturally work through composition, but mostly with food you’ve got to feel it. Obviously you want your food to be represented at it’s best so look for attractive angles (does your pie have intricate lacing on top? a straight down shot may be fitting).
5. Be Passionate!
If you’re here because you feel it’s time to turn your passion of food into more than just stuffing it in your face, it’s obvious you love it! It gives you joy to create dishes, and by photographing the end result (not to mention sharing it with your readers) is the perfect next step in your foodie adventures.
Along with great photos, remember to add recipes (if you created the dish yourself) and please god don’t forget to mention how it tastes! I’ve tried a lot of recipes from blogs simply because I couldn’t stop drooling over the descriptions.
If the recipe comes out just ok don’t be afraid to share that, too! I think it’s important (for any type of blogging) to be well-rounded & not shiny happy all the time. Sometimes recipes fail, and by sharing that you may connect with a reader who can relate.
A fantastically written resource is Plate to Pixel: Digital Food Photography and Styling by Helene Dujardin who also blogs at Tartlette. Her photographs are to die for, and you will find so much inspiration on her posts!I hope I’ve help a few of you get some ideas for your next (or first) food post, and maybe just maybe made you a little hungry in the process.
Tina Crespo is a commercial photographer living and working in the Philadelphia area. She enjoys a good cup of coffee, photographing landscapes, and and hopes to one day own a life-size replica of the Titanic.