Shooting food doesn’t have to be a challenging task, and with these simple photography tips you’ll be shooting like a pro in no time. Here’s our list of common errors to avoid and tricks to get the most out of your photos.
1. Light, light, and more light.
Taking photos of food in dark or poorly lit rooms will instantly damper your ability to take good photos. Flash does not solve this problem, it just makes photos look greasy, flat and unprofessional. If possible, it’s best to take photos in well lit areas or during the day when there is plenty of natural light. While this isn’t always possible for food bloggers trying to snap a photo before eating their meal, the next tips can help.
2. Speed matters
In low light, a camera’s shutter speed will slow down and the shutter will stay open longer to let more light in. If you’re using a DSLR hand held, these extra tenths of a second allow for your shaky hand to blur the photos. One solution to eliminate the blur is to use a tripod with remote shutter release, so your lack of a steady hand doesn’t compromise the image quality. Another solution is to use a “fast” lens.
3. What the F?
The aperture of a lens is designated by it’s F number. The lower the F stop the wider it’s aperture and the more light it’s able to let in through the lens and onto the sensor in a camera’s body. As a result, fast glass will perform better in low light and can be operated with a faster shutter speed, drastically reducing the potential for blur and improving the image quality of your photos. For example, a lens with a maximum F stop of 4 is much slower than a lens with a maximum F stop of 2.8.
So why not just buy super fast lenses all the time, you ask? A faster lens typically carries a higher price as you move through the range of options available. Canon’s 50mm prime lenses are priced as follows: 1.8 for $120, a 1.4 for about $379 and an L series 1.2 for around $1,500.
4. Nifty fifty
There is one lens that every professional owns and every food blogger needs- the 50mm 1.8 lens. No matter what brand camera body you use, there is a 50mm 1.8 lens for you. We’ll discuss Canon’s version since we use Canon gear. This $120 lens provides the best bang for your buck no matter what you plan to photograph. Having owned several Canon DSLR’s and lens combinations over the last several years, I can say with confidence that everyone’s first lens should be the nifty fifty. This should be everyone’s first lens!
5. A prime lens for prime rib
Using a prime lens such as the 50mm has it’s pros and cons. The pros are: cost ($100 range), excellent image quality for the money, light weight, you won’t cry if you drop it, and it also creates a wonderful bokeh that will make your instantly look professional. The cons of this lens include: low build quality (all plastic), slow autofocus, noisy autofocus, and no image stabilization. The pros far outweigh the cons however, and I can’t stop raving about how much I love this little plastic gem.
6. 28 photos of the same thing
The most important tip is to shoot as much as possible. When you get home from a food event or festival it’s better to have tons of photos to choose from instead of one or two. It’s not always easy to judge when your subject is in focus, or that the top of their head isn’t cropped from an image; it’s better to have a bountiful selection to choose from so you get the money shot every time. The downside to this is it will take more time to upload and process the photos, but you can always delete everything you don’t use and keep only the best.