Pay attention to the surface as much as the plate.
Shoot in threes.
“I always shoot in odd numbers, both in styling and photography sequence. Visually speaking, a photo will always look better if the amount of dishes in it add up to an odd number – you can also try to have a variety of plate sizes to create a more compelling image. And when it comes time to shooting, take at least three photos in the same spot – one might be blurry, so this way you’ll have a few backups.”
Don’t rush the shot.
“With the immediacy of social media, I’ve noticed people snapping away as SOON as the food comes out to the table. There’s nothing wrong with simply documenting, but if you’re looking to elevate your food post, take time to pause and put some thought into it. Like in any type of photography, look to understand your subject— what’s so special about it? What’s it made of? What are its most interesting features? Once you’ve pinpointed that, you’ll be able to tell a story on the plate rather than have it be just another pretty photo.”
Shoot your latte within two minutes.
Make people hungry.
“I think my biggest piece of advice is to look at the subject matter with a bit of greed — if I made this dish for my lunch, what has me excited about it? The thing about food photography is that you’re not just trying to capture the look of a dish, but also make the viewer feel as if they can already taste it. If food is too perfect or overly styled, that can get in the way of a visceral reaction – it ends up being more of a still life. If that’s your intention, run with it, but I aim to make people hungry. I want them to feel that they are at my table.”
Get creative with what you have.
“When it comes to taking that perfect food shot, you have to get resourceful and get creative with what you include in your frame. Use your surroundings, stand on chairs to get more in the frame, include props (e.g. flowers, plants, napkins, menus, magazines, cutlery, handbags, jewelry), and move things around. We were just at brunch the other day and thought the bottom right of the table needed a little ‘something’ to fill the space – we simply wrinkled the tablecloth, which not only transformed the boring black background, but also created more texture and depth to the photo.”
Fake freshness with oil & water.
Go beyond the table.
“Think beyond the table. Don’t be afraid to photograph your dish in alternate locations if you find interesting backgrounds. On your chair, a pretty windowsill ledge, on the floor – anything goes!”
Use Snapseed to edit.
“I love using Snapseed to edit my photos. This (free!) Google app allows you to adjust everything from brightness, to contrast, to removing blue or yellow tones from photos (which is key when it comes to food photography). I always up the “tonal contrast” – it makes my food photos pop when used in the right amount.”