My Art of Food Photography Part 1

The purpose of a food photo is lot more than portrayal of an uncluttered and systematic meal. Beyond presenting, it is introducing to “delectable foods”. So, the quality of a food photo should never be underrated from the tasty food.

They say “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach … pause…can never reach his stomach without a sight of “yummy food”.

Here are some great tips to enhance the beauty of the food and to add an artistic touch.

  1. Create food to look voluminous :

A delectable dessert or a main course looks best when mounted on a plate rather making it lie flat. The picture of a full-fledged plate is inviting. It’s unappetizing to see food spread out on the table, lying flat and sticking to the surface.

For instance, Pancakes appear adorable when stacked one on another with maple syrup dribbling from top to bottom.  Dosa, a kind of sour rice pancakes (South Indian breakfast) appear so scrumptious when served as a topi dosa (resembling a hat) than the plainly arranged ones. Choose the appropriate size of plate. Some prefer to create food – laden effect .

Pancake stack
Topi Dosa

2.Exhibit the personality and character of the dish:

This is capturing the smallest of details which entice the audience at the first look of the image and magnifying the character building textures. It is the exhibit of the very nature of food. The properties of ingredients and process applied in making of foods pertain to unique personality types of food. The purpose of food photography is to intensify the love for food.

Example:

The crumbling effect of KFC chicken, maple syrup dribbling on pancakes, wafting steam from sizzler, the signature cut on bread loaves, quails flambéing, spiral & twiggy noodles, colour–rich salads, granular couscous, multi-layered puff pastries and so on.

These characters can be the inception of appetite.

Spiky coconut flakes on Coconut Burfi
Roasted chicken
Signature cut on a bread loaf
Onion-Soup-Flambee
Sizzling Sizzler

3.Garnish and arrangement:

To pick leaves for garnish, choose the young & fresh leaves especially the ones at apical end…Ex: Coriander leaves, mint, parsley, edible silver, chocolate curls, chocolate drizzle, cut outs… Without the garnish, food photo is incomplete. Over garnish masks the beauty of the dish. People prefer to garnish at the centre or around the dish.

To mark the symmetry and neatness of the food, do not use the light coloured plate for light coloured dish. Use contrasting colours.

Young Coriander leaves
Young Mint leaves

4.Creating a natural look:

Some prefer to intrigue the audience by creating a natural effect rather than studio effect while preparing or presenting the dish and allowing other elements besides delicious food. It gives a context what one puts on it. It can convey the audience the hint of the occasion whether it’s good for a perfect Friday night dinner/ brunch/ Valentine’s special / Perfect lunch for two. It may include napkin, glasses, knives, forks, spoons, table-cloth.

Examples: Some classic photos include light beaming through the window near the plate, creating a glistening look on pastries, a missing bite on the bread sandwich showing the delightful mouth-watering filling, a plate of luscious lamb roast clicked with a herd of fatty lambs in a farm as a foreground to show the richness of farm produce, Banana leaf as a background for serving authentic Asian foods.

Authentic Indian food on a Banana leaf
Cole-slaw
Brownie

These are the basics to enjoy learning photography.Part 2 will continue with much deeper into camera operations.

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