Food Photography for Chefs, Our Top Tips

The Staff Canteen

We are always excited to see our member’s photos, with great new dishes being uploaded daily. Unfortunately we can’t taste the food, but a great image is almost as good.

Make sure you do your dish justice, by following these simple tips and avoiding some of the most common pitfalls. You don’t have to be a pro photographer to take a good photograph, or even have all the fancy gear (a half decent smartphone can do the trick), but be warned, a bad picture can make even a Michelin starred dish look dull and uninspired. So do your dish the justice it deserves by following our basic tips.  

Duck breast%2C confit duck raviolo%2C prosciuto crisp%2C sweet potato puree%2C oyster mushroom%2C & orange sauce.jpeg.640x480 q80

Duck breast, confit duck

raviolo, prosciuto

crisp, sweet potato puree, oyster

mushroom & orange sauce

How do you light a food picture?

Many photographs are let down by a lack of lighting, and as we all know most kitchens do not provide the best lighting options for pictures. To overcome this, take your photos in the daylight near a window, the natural light of the sun will make your photos look much better than the harsh artificial filament bulbs of the kitchen.  

Make sure the flash is off on your camera!

Make sure the flash is off on your camera, as it can create a harsh reflection from the food. In professional circumstances, a flash can work well by reflecting a small amount of light from the dish, however, setting up a shot like this requires a lot of equipment, expertise and more importantly time. Which makes using flash not ideal during service!     

Always make sure your dish is in focus

Basic but essential, always make sure your dish is in focus, to avoid blurry or unclear photos, and make sure it sits in the foreground of the image. Most modern cameras and phone cameras will automatically focus on the object in the foreground, so keep a steady hand after taking your snap to make sure your dish looksclear and sharp.  

How do you frame a food picture?

Just as the right plate frames the dish, so should the photograph. Try a few angles and see what looks best, try to get all of the dish in shot for context. Some dishes that have a strong visual impact work best when shot directly at the top. Other dishes such as burgers work better with a side shot, think of the presentation of the dish and think about weather each component is visible. You can find some of our favourite members photos here

By James Euinton    

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 16th May 2018

Food Photography for Chefs, Our Top Tips