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  • Writer's pictureMonique Perera

What's Cooking? Create Insta-worthy Food Photography in 5 Easy Steps

Many of us are spending more time at home and discovering our “inner Master Chef”, we love to photograph our creations and to share our recipes with family and friends.

No doubt, when restrictions lift we’ll be back to our favourite restaurants and cafes in droves to capture our meals in all their glory (quickly) before we fill our bellies!

Until then - remember that people eat with their eyes first, so using these five tips should undoubtedly make your photos drool-worthy...

1. Natural Light for Natural Results Just like the pros - always try to use the available light to your advantage. Sit or place your meal near a large window, or outdoors (away from direct sunlight), using the natural light to bring out all the wonderful colours, depth, textures and authenticity of your dish. If your location is too dark, try to move near a light source but never turn on the flash - it’s just not worth it. Another useful tip when photographing drinks, hold or position the drink with the light source behind - this will produce a light prism effect through the glass and add another dimension to your image.

2. Over The Top ‘Flat Lay’ otherwise known as ‘Tabletop’, ‘Overhead’ or ‘Aerial’ style are very popular and the reason why is simple - it often looks fabulous. This technique is also a great way to ‘tell the story’ of your dish creation - by including all the recipe ingredients in your image. So use your step-ladder or a sturdy chair and (safely) try a birds-eye view.

Remember though, not every dish suits this angle, so for your more ‘stacked’ style food items - like burgers, corn fritters, cakes (and often drinks) - go for the side view to show the layers and the height to fill your frame.

3. Avoid Background Distractions Just like portraits, a white or plain background will always help your subject matter to pop. Avoid busy patterns or clutter and if you have them in your kitchen - try a neutral marble bench or wood surface to complement your dish. Always consider the colours of both the food and crockery when selecting a suitable background or base.

4. Set The Stage

Perhaps you have ‘a good eye’ but even so, effective composition takes practice and experimentation. The ‘rule of thirds’ is recommended - put simply; imagine 2 lines across and down to give you 9 boxes on your picture, then place the most important elements on the lines or intersections - off centre. The idea is not to have your subject bang smack in the middle of your frame.

Get creative - move the plate around, rearrange the food, add some interesting crockery or a folded napkin to the side, perhaps a fork, a spoon or even a hand. Remember “less is more” - the food is the star of the show…and be quick because you need to get to the most important part of the entire experience… devouring your delicious creation!

5. The Finishing Touches One of the handy things about using your ‘phone camera is the user-friendly, basic editing tools. If needed, add a quick filter to suit or additional lighting effect, before posting your image. You can crop, brighten it up, lift some shadows, slightly enhance the colours - yet try and ensure the food still looks as natural as possible.

If you tweak similar settings each time, your pictures will look consistent and you’ll develop a style of your own.

Got the Pic? Now Devour the Dish! Unlike professional food photography (which takes considerably more time to style and shoot - therefore, unfortunately - not safe to eat), you now get to enjoy your meal and see if it tastes as good as it looks.

I’d love to know if you’ve ‘given this a shot’. Send us your favourite food photos and recipes!

Want Some More Food Photography in Iso Inspiration? There are plenty of food photo examples virtually everywhere you look. Apart from online, I’ve found my collection of cookbooks and recipe magazines a great source of ideas.

You can also check out some examples we’ve photographed for our wonderful catering and venue clients via the Camera Creations Marketing Portfolio

Not Quite Nigella? There’s an abundance of fantastic food delivery services that have become available to spoil us all in iso, so why not photograph and post your favourites to support your local restauranteur or cafe?

Or if you’d like to try your hand replicating some of Sydney's very best restaurant fare, order Merivale at Home delivered to your front door - with all the ingredients and cooking instructions you need to have you feeling like an Exec Chef without leaving the house.

And for a very different food photography challenge - check out the UK’s popular Potato Photographer of the Year” competition - how hard can it be?

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