The union image-food is a long-standing association. If it is difficult to establish the beginning, we can certainly say that "eating with the eyes" is a practice that has reached its maximum expression with contemporary photography. Nothing could be truer in a country like Italy, where gastronomic richness is recognized as a symbol of excellence of Made in Italy all over the world.
Food photography is, for a professional photographer and for those who work in the restaurant industry, an indispensable resource to enter the market and to put in place a good communication strategy that conveys the corporate and personal brand identity. If we add to the communicative power of photographic art the immediacy and effectiveness of social networks like Instagram and Pinterest, we have a revolution!
To try your hand at this what is considered a true art, you will only need to know and master 4 basic ingredients:
A good use of light is perhaps the essential ingredient, the one without which the dish will not live up to the customer's expectations. The ideal for food photography is natural light, as long as it is not direct. It is always better to use a diffuser (a simple sheet will do the job better) between the light source and the center of the scene, in order to soften shadows and light and disperse the sun's rays in the desired places.
The ideal would be to have a studio with a large window that illuminates the environment, but sometimes you will find yourself working in dark and cramped environments. In this case, the advice is to use the flash: a close and diffused light will give three-dimensionality to the dish.
Unlike what happens in photography tout court, in the field of food photography the preferable angle is the one from above, more flexible and impact, which allows you to highlight the geometry and the care of the planting. Ideal for telling stories on social networks, it is preferable when, in addition to the dish, you want to tell the set: the table and the set of geometries composed of dishes and details, when present.
The right angle, on the other hand, the famous straight on, is excellent if the subject to be photographed develops in height, a dimension much appreciated by chefs. On the other hand, diagonal shots and slopes should be avoided at all costs, as they would create an uninteresting visual effect. Remember: always keep the horizon line fixed!
The importance of color matching in the representation of food was already known to Caravaggio, author of the "Basket of Fruit", the first known work in which food is not an accessory but the absolute protagonist of the canvas. From canvas to pixels, color and texture matching define the aesthetics of food photography. Creating a consistent color palette and matching foods with similar textures (smooth, woody, jagged, etc.) will make your shots true works of art.
Choosing as a background a surface that suits the dish, not only chromatically but also thematically, can be the detail that makes the difference. Using a wooden base, rather than a stone wall will allow you to enhance the context in which the dish is placed, adding originality and uniqueness to the shot. But remember, as for interior photography, the rule is "less is more". The undisputed protagonist is the food, so prefer a shot that is as clear as possible. Word to the plate!
These were the 4 key ingredients Wesual recommended to best photograph a dish. If you are a restaurateur and need professional photos, we at Wesual are the right partner for you! Comment below or write us on our social!