Health & Food Demo

Photographers Share their Top Tips

AHMAD Food Picures 305

Who among us hasn’t — at some point — felt the urge to snap a food shot? Whether it’s a dish you were proud to have whipped up at home or a particularly photogenic spread in a cafe? On one end of the spectrum, playing with your food has launched careers, but what if you just want nail a decent brunch shot? Below, three excellent photographers — a staff photog at Bon Appétit magazine among them — share tips that will help you easily compose a food photo that’s as beautiful as your subject is tasty.

Alex Lau

As a Bon Appétit staff photographer, Alex Lau is tasked with consistently framing food in innovative, compelling ways both in-studio and on-site. He shoots food with a rawness and ferocity that will have you visually dissecting a bowl of ceviche or slice of pizza with unexpected intensity.

“Ideally, you want to shoot at a lower ISO to remove as much grain as possible from your photos. ISO 100 would be essentially zero grain, while ISO 3200 will look like a grainy film photo. Given that you’re likely shooting in indirect daylight—the easiest way to get the best shots—ISO 400–800 will be your sweet spot. If you want everything to be in focus, shoot at a shutter speed of 1/160 and aperture of f4.”

As a Bon Appétit staff photographer,

 foodAlex Lau is tasked with consistently framing food in innovative, compelling ways both in-studio and on-site. He shoots food with a rawness and ferocity that will have you visually dissecting a bowl of ceviche or slice of pizza with unexpected intensity. Alex Lau is tasked with consistently framing food in innovative, compelling ways both in-studio and on-site. He shoots food with a rawness and ferocity that will have you visually dissecting a bowl of ceviche or slice of pizza with unexpected intensity. Alex Lau is tasked with consistently framing food in innovative, compelling ways both in-studio and on-site. He shoots food with a rawness and ferocity that will have you visually dissecting a bowl of ceviche or slice of pizza with unexpected intensity.

“Shoot at a top-down angle! Some might consider it an overused trope, but it’s overused for good reason. Plates of food are usually fairly two dimensional, with not much height. You can maximize the potential of a dish by shooting it from directly overhead. A beginner’s natural tendency is to shoot at a ¾ angle, which not only makes the food look less appetizing, but, if you’re shooting with your phone, can also cause photo distortion due to a phone camera’s wide-angle lens.”

Don’t be scared to prop out your food shot

. It sounds cheesy, but you want your photo to tell a story. There’s a difference between a bowl of pasta shot on white with no forks or napkins versus a bowl that was shot with moody lighting, on a beautiful wood surface with utensils that look straight out of the home of a Sicilian grandmother. You want your photo to be representative of the experience you’re having.

“Put the camera down and just eat! Some of the best meals I’ve had are the ones that I didn’t photograph. Believe it or not, not everything has to be posted on Instagram. Don’t worry, there will be more avocado toast in your future.”

Written by

My name is Randy Patterson, and I’m currently looking for a job in youth services. I have 10 years of experience working with youth agencies. I have a bachelor’s degree in outdoor education. I raise money, train leaders, and organize units. I have raised over $100,000 each of the last six years. I consider myself a good public speaker, and I have a good sense of humor.

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