I was invited to a “Brunch and Learn” with award-winning food photographer Lou Manna that took place last Friday. I was excited to attend, because I like to learn from the best in every industry and Mr. Manna has worked for the NY Times and he is also the author of Digital Food Photography. Unfortunately, I was sick this past weekend, so I missed the “brunch” that was hosted by Evolution Fresh (the cold-pressed juices that I sometimes buy at Starbucks). Fortunately, I was sent the tips that Lou Manna reviewed during the “learn” portion of the event so that I could share them with you. Whether you are a food blogger and/or simply want to improve your food photos (Instagram!), I think that you will pick up something helpful. I know that I did.
HELPFUL TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY
By Lou Manna (His Blog/Social Network: www.digitalfoodphotography.com)
Try these helpful tips for styling food so it looks better in a photo.
- Work with contrasting colors and shapes of the food items whenever possible.
- Undercook the food a bit so it doesn’t look dried out.
- Brush food with vegetable oil to add shine and highlights.
- Spray a mixture of glycerin and water or just water to create moisture droplets to make fruit and vegetables look fresh and drinks appear cold.
- Manipulate small elements with tweezers and skewers.
- Clean up plates with Q-tips, paper towels, and glass cleaner.
Select props and elements to create an appropriate mood and an environment for the image.
- Keep the props simple so that the food is the star, try to blur them in the background.
- The color of the food will determine what color props should be used.
- Experiment with solid and textured background fabrics instead of stripes and patterns.
Having the ability to control the light on a subject is the key to successful food photography. Lighting is what truly creates a great photo that will make your mouth water! Here are some lighting tips to keep in mind.
- Take a custom white-balance reading off of a white or grey card for accurate color rendition.
- Avoid using direct flash or any light source from behind you since it flattens the subject.
- Bounce the flash or light off to the side and slightly from behind the subject to give it some shadow for depth and more dimension.
- Use wax or parchment paper as a diffuser to soften the light source.
- Put detail in the shadows with household items such as white paper and aluminum foil and create specular highlights with mirrors.