POV: you have just spent your Friday night recreating a recipe you found online. You’re super proud of it and want to show it off to all your Instagram followers and post it in the family group chat so you go to take a photo of it… You look at the photo, then the dish, then the photo again and realise the photo really does not do it justice.
If the above sounds like a scenario you’d find yourself in, then keep reading for some DIY at home tips and tricks for food photography!
Firstly, let’s talk equipment. You really don’t need a big fancy camera to get some nice shots of your cooking. Most of the time, just a smartphone will do. But if you are a die-hard foodie who regularly photographs their dishes then you might want to consider investing in a ring light, a tripod and a backdrop.
Your background should be clear of any clutter, clean and uniform (ideally a plain colour or wooden/marble etc). This is where a backdrop can be very helpful, they are very inexpensive and can solve many of your at-home-photography issues. If you have any leftover wallpaper in your garage, now’s the time to use it! (assuming it’s not from the 1970’s).
Lighting is probably the most important element of any type of photography, hence all the fancy lights you can spend thousands of pounds on. Luckily, the best light is natural light, which is free! If you can get natural light coming from either side of your dish, you’re guaranteed a good shot. You should try to avoid direct sunlight as it can be a bit too harsh. If your photography spot is in direct sunlight, you can try hanging a white sheet on your window to defuse the light. This will soften the light and leave you with just the right amount without bleaching out your shot. We must be honest with ourselves though, around this time of year in the UK we seem to get about five minutes of natural light a day… this is where a ring light or a light box can be your saviour.
Food styling can also make all the difference between a good shot and a bad one. When styling your shot, you should try to surround your hero (your dish). If you have any props or accessories such as herbs, cutlery, tins, jars etc. then use them to add value to your composition. Give your dish and shot that extra oomph by layering. Top your dish with whatever works, it could be cheese, herbs, a drizzle of vinegar or cream… whatever it is, it’s bound to give it that extra va va voom. When dishing up, less is more. You should not dish up the same portion as you usually would if you were eating (not that you eat a lot, but you know what we mean!) Too much food will look messy, so go easy on it. Finally, avoid highly decorative crockery and tableware. Again, less is more. You want the focus to be on your food rather than your fancy plate.
Following all the above tips and tricks, you should get that perfect shot next time you spend hours recreating a recipe (or just microwaving your shop bought soup for your WFH lunch). Tag us @JellybeanAgency on Instagram or Twitter to show us your masterpiece!