How to make your food photography good enough to eat…

If you’ve ever found yourself shouting ‘get in ma belly’ on a regular basis, licking the telly when the M&S ads come on (just us?) or dedicating your entire Pinterest to food – then you, our dear friend, are a fellow foodie. The thing is, behind every great phoodo (that’s food and photo, combined) there’s a full team of photographers, retouchers and food stylists making it look, well, delicious. The thing is, not all of us have a full entourage on call, so whether you’re wanting to promote the daily special, or just make your Instagram followers jealous, here are our top tips for food styling…

Choose a Theme

Before you even pick up your camera, get thinking about the style you want to achieve. There are loads of different factors that come into it, from the actual food your shooting, right down to the brand visual style (can you tell we’re into this sorta’ thing?) Either way, choosing your look from the get-go is sure to start you off on the right fruit (note: if you’re not a fan of food puns, we suggest you click away now).

Behind the scenes of our shoot with Flavourly
Behind the scenes of our shoot with Flavourly

Props To Ya!

After you’ve decided on the style, then you can go looking for lots of cool things to include in your photos – bowls, spoons, woks – basically, whatever takes your French fancy. This way, you can create a setting and put the viewer in a place where they want to be (and eat). If you’re doing a big shoot, there are loads of prop houses that rent cool bits and bobs on a daily rate, but if you’re not wanting to go the full bhoona, we’re sure there are lots of friends and family who might just let you borrow things if you ask them nicely, and maybe promise some leftovers from the shoot.

Fool the Eye, with DIY

Some food for thought – how do you think photographers create so many different scenes in the one shoot? Well, unless they go to lots of different locations (which, is still a possibility, but we’re trying to make a point here) they might just be using some DIY set design to trick the eye (bunch of clever clogs). A great example of this is the use of fake wooden floors. With some planks, nails and a bit of paint, photographers can create loads of different looks in the one place – pretty sweet, huh?

Light Bites

Lighting food is probably one of the hardest bits of the job, because as our fellow ‘togs will know, studio lights can get hotter than a Scotch Bonnet, which results in basically cooking the food further (not too great for taking tasty photographs, right?) So, unless you’re a dab hand at the ol’ lighting game (that’s a whole other blog in itself) we suggest using natural light as much as possible. Even something as simple as a white cardboard reflector, or a handy mirror could lift your ginger snaps to the next level.

Treats of the Trade

Mashed potato ice cream and soapy cappuccinos (true story), there are loads of tricks that food stylists use to manipulate the product to look best on camera (although we strongly advise that you don’t try to eat this stuff for your tea). Sure, you can use these tricks in a studio, but if you fancy getting the most out of your photos, it can be as simple as changing the angle, or shifting things around – one set of props can create a full portfolio of images.

What are your top tips for food styling? Pssst – if you ever need a hand with your photography, get in touch! (We promise not to eat all the food before the shoot happens).

tips for food styling
Mmmm ice cream – one of the shots from our shoot for Equi’s.

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