Top 10 Tips for Taking Perfect Food Photos

6. Steady Hands, Steady Plates

Candied orange and grapefruit peels

A tripod helps to avoid camera shake under low light conditions and with slow shutter speeds (below 1/60). To further reduce camera shake, set your camera to take the picture a few seconds after pressing the shutter release button. This will reduce the movement your hand might cause when taking the picture. With a DSLR, try the mirror-lock up feature to further reduce camera shake.

7. Limit Your Ingredients

Sweet potato puree with pecans and maple syrup

Don’t try to shove your entire table into a picture. Rather than one picture trying to capture everything at once, take ten pictures of your holiday table. Taking pictures at different times during the meal will showcase half-eaten meals and half-full serving dishes, incorporating a sense of timeline and narrative into your holiday celebration.

8. Don’t Flash Your Guests!

Ferrara’s chocolate fudge cookies

Try to avoid using your camera’s built-in flash since this direct light flattens the subject and reduces texture and depth of faces and food. It is better to use the available light from lamps and lighting fixtures in the room or natural daylight from a window.

9. Repurpose your Shower Curtain

Roasted turkey with apple sage dressing, cranberry sauce, and sweet potato casserole

Use household items such as aluminum foil, makeup mirrors and white napkins to reflect the light source into the shadow areas of the photo and capture more detail. To soften the light source, try diffusing it with wax paper or a sheer white cloth to achieve more details in the bright portions of the photo.

10. Get Creative with Color

Pomegranate poached pears

Experiment with colors and moods by using the in-camera creative filters found in newer cameras like the Olympus E-PL1. Your holiday shot could look even more festive and colorful by using the Pop Art filter. The saturated color reproduction will enhance your beautiful food and setting. Try the Soft Focus filter to capture the mood of a romantic dinner.

Next: 5 Top Tips for Taking Perfect Food Photos


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  • Roo de Loo December 21, 2010  

    Great article to help reduce the vomit-inducing shots that are permeating the web. To see two of the hottest up and coming food photographers, check out:

  • Borracho December 21, 2010  

    My food porn always leaves much to be desired so this article is much appreciated. I’m hoping we get to enjoy some photos after the holidays from anyone using these tips

  • Passepartout-Too-Too December 22, 2010  

    I’m not as optimistic as Roo de Loo; I don’t think this wonderful article will have any impact on the quality of the Web. But I really enjoyed reading it, and will save a bookmark to it so I can refresh my memory when it comes time for me to drag my camera out again and figure out (again) how to use all them ol’ buttons and dials and things.

  • Pingback: Portals of the Week | Castles & Cooks December 31, 2010  
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