Restaurant Food Photography Tips
Restaurant Food Photography Tips
Restaurant Food Photography. Hey guys so a little while ago, I did a read on how to edit food photography in Lightroom. But what I want to do today is go a step back and talk a little bit about photographing food. So I want to run through with you some tips for better food photography, but in particular some tips for a better restaurant and cafe photography. So, let’s get straight into it with tip number one, and that is angles.
So there are a number of different ways: You can shoot food and different angles you can shoot from. But to me there are three main ones: three that if possible, and the dish permits that you should take for every dish, you’re photographing for that client. So the first of those angles being a 90-degree angle or straight on this – is kind of at eye level, getting a level with the dish and shooting it straight on the next. One is moving up a little bit so shooting from above, but on an angle, and that is a 45-degree angle shot. The last of the three is the classic flat way or top-down. Now not every dish suits each of these three angles where possible shoot all three. But what you can read here in this example is that the dishes in a bowl, so that the straight on angle doesn’t really work. Yeah it’s a nice photo, but the straight on angle doesn’t work for this. One
All you’re really reading is that little bit of garnished a little bit of basil on the top of the dish. This one is better shot top-down. So just keep that in mind. All three aren’t always going to work, but where you can shoot all three do it? So tip number two is to sacrifice ISO for aperture, so this to me is one of the more important rules. What I read all too often is that, in an attempt to get a really beautiful depth or bokeh in an image, people set they’re aperture way too low and often as low as the lens will go, shooting at 1.8 or 2.8 or depending on what lens you’re. Shooting with this, where this often get you into trouble, is if you’ve got a layered dish or a dish with quite a bit garnish, you often end up getting the closest spot to the camera in focus and the rest of the dish and the plate is out Of focus so with these examples that I’ve got up on the screen now this is exactly the same dish shot from the same distance, but in the first one, I’m shooting at the lowest aperture
My lens will allow and that’s 2.8. What you can read is the top piece of fried chicken is in focus. But as you move down the dish, the focus is less and less to the point where you can’t even make out the branding on the paper that sits on the plate by increasing the Iso to 1000 in the second image and shooting at f5. I’Ve got that whole dish in focus all the way down to the plate. Now I’m lucky that I’m shooting with the Canon EOS R, which handles the low-light and the higher ISO really well. But what you can read is that shooting at ISO, 400 and 1,000 hasn’t really made as much of a difference to the image quality as increasing the aperture, which has made a lot of difference in getting focus right through the dish. So sticking with that topic of depth, what I want to talk to you about with tip number 3 is image: depth.
So I like to use depth in an image to create not only a more dynamic image, but also help focus or highlight the dish that I’m actually focusing on. This can be done by having something a little bit out of focus in the foreground and layering up a background of an image to also be out of focus, bringing that up the viewers eye into the middle. So you can read here with the examples that I’ve got up on the screen. You’Ve got that little bit of out of focus in the foreground and then again in the background tip number four is branding
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So what I often like to do – and this particularly relates to restaurant and cafe photography – is use things like menus coasters if the restaurant has branded chopsticks or other little branded elements. I’D like to use those in anyway to not only help create awareness of the brand but to also film negative space and create little pops of color throughout an image again just making a nice overall dynamic look, so you can read here. We’Ve used the little dessert menus that have got those nice blue colors. Through it, I’ve slid them under the plate. We’Ve got a placemat which has the restaurant name on it. These all add elements to make these images distinct to that brand or restaurant
The next tip is one that relates to pretty much any type of photography for any client, and that is to remember to shoot landscape. Often too many of us, myself included, are always shooting and focusing on portrait style images, because the first thought is always Instagram. But landscape images are really important for your cafe restaurant clients and others so that they have access to web banner images when they need them, and also a lot of the media agencies that promote restaurants and cafes, for example. Here in Australia we have brought an urban list; they always require landscape, shot images to promote a restaurant or cafe or when they’re writing reviews. So my final point is what I like to call isolate and group. So what I mean by this is for each dish that I’m given to shoot. I like to shoot the dish by itself with a real focus on that dish, so this could mean having the dish in the center of the image with a few dishes around it. Where you can just read the edge of the plate, but can’t really make anything else out, so that the eye is focused on that particular dish.