Professional Food Photography

Food is something that is common to human beings, irrespective of gender, age, caste, creed or community. Before one puts a morsel of food into the mouth, it is the sight or even an image of a dish that makes the mouth water and creates in you a desire to taste the food. The colour, the presentation, the garnishing are factors that drive hunger. Hence, food photography has become a highly specialized branch of professional photography in recent times.

food photography

The skill of a professional food photographer lies in making a dish look appealing and inviting.

It should look as realistic as possible so that viewers are convinced that it is genuine. In order to get the best results in clicking dishes, a photographer has to take care regarding certain factors.

  1. Light –Food can be best shot in natural light. The best location is near a window. There should be no shadows to hamper the image.
  2. View – Avoid taking the image from the top of a dish in an attempt to cover all the details. This is a mistake committed by amateurs. A close-up from a side gives a better image. One need not insist on showing the entire dish; a selected part of it is enough.
  3. Distance – Food Photography is essentially from a close distance. Minute details are important. The black spots of roasted rotis must be visible in the image for making it look realistic.
  4. Timing – Food looks best when it is fresh and hot. For example, a steaming plate of upma with globules of fat shining on the lumps. This glow is lost if the upma is kept for a long time. Similarly, grilled items show oozing fat from within. Hence, professional food photography demands quickness and alertness.
  5. Food arrangement – This is very important. Food should not be ladled haphazardly in a bowl, dish or any other container. It must be arranged to make it look most attractive. For example, ice-cream looks great when piled slightly above the edges of the bowl. A cutlet can be placed in the centre of a plate of appropriate size, and garnished on all sides. Green salad can be arranged in a symmetrical pattern according to the shape, size and colour of the ingredients.
  6. Containers – Selection of containers is equally important. A slab of ice-cream must be placed on a plate but a scoop fits best in an ice-cream bowl. Rotis can be put in cane trays or small baskets, dal in small buckets etc. jars, plates, glassware must be well selected.
  7. Props – A dish is always placed on a table. Other objects on the table provide an appropriate background. The main dish must appear in focus at the front while other objects like a napkin holder, a glass of water etc. can be placed in the background. Placing a bottle of tomato sauce near a plate of sandwich or a bowl of chutney next to samosas is appropriate. The table should not be overcrowded with objects; it will steal the focus of the main dish.
  8. Garnishing and toppings, seasoning – Colours and looks can be added to a dish by garnishing it properly. A split cashew along with raisins stuck into a laddoo is the best example. Grated cabbage, coconut, finely chopped coriander etc are normally used for garnishing. Nuts, fruit pieces, sauces, cherries, choco-chips etc make good toppings. Chillie flakes, pepper, red chillie powder, chat masala can be sprinkled for seasoning. The finest powdered seasoning must be clearly visible in a photograph. Imagine a
  9. Special effects – Some dishes are served hot and some cold. It is difficult to portray temperature of food in an image. Bubbles on liquid indicate that it is hot. A steaming effect can be created artificially by microwaving cotton balls dipped in water and placing them behind the food item. Floating, oozing, simmering, overflowing are other kinds of special effects for food photography.
  10. Overview – No matter how you arrange the food, lighting, distance, angle, colours etc. the image you shoot must look inviting, appetizing and must tickle your taste buds. The overall effect must be attractive at the same time realistic and convincing.

Best professional food photography is the result of perfect balance between reality and art.

Every image is an important decision. Every dish needs special care and attention. You cannot use the same background for sizzling pizzas and pithla-bhakri. A food photograph must be able to convey the story behind its preparation. Background props tell the origin of food whether it is dal-bati from Rajasthan or idli from South India.  It must give extended ideas. Chopped onions placed near pithlabhakri convey the message that the dish can be relished by eating it with onions.  Table mats, table-runners, linen, fabrics also speak volumes while they serve as a background for food photographs. Props help to add lines and layers. The food photographer must decide whether to shoot a slice, a piece, a slab, a morsel or a bulk.

As with all professional photography, a professional food photographer must also carry best equipment, good cameras, films, tripod and other accessories that he might need. Quality in photography depends on equipment and cameras.

Post- shooting

The professional food photographer’s job does not end with shooting the images. The next part is equally important. After viewing the real image, it may have to be cropped, the shades have to be added, some parts deleted, some highlighted and so on. By using computer technology, a real image can be further enhanced to a great extent.

Inder Photography is the last of your searches for professional food photography. With a valuable and long experience in handling a variety of projects, Inder Photography possesses all types of equipment necessary for specialized shooting. Photo shoots for advertising and marketing purposes has been a long engagement with the firm. The team of experts will be ready before a dish is out of the oven, so that the real freshness is captured in the image. Technological experts manage the hues and shades to make the food photographs look so real and tempting that one extends a hand towards the image to pick it up and pop it into the mouth!!!