To some people, a plate of food is just that–a plate of food. But if you’re an Instagram photographer, you’re probably familiar with the idea that anything can be art. And a well-crafted meal, with pleasing colors, delicious seasoning, and carefully arranged plating can be just as artistic as a painting or sculpture in a museum. But to do your plate justice, you’ll need some special photography techniques to make it look like a delicious dish and not a plate of sludge. Are you interested in sharing your meals with the world? Here’s some advice on getting the right photograph every time.
1. Choose an Eye-Catching Composition
If you’re a first-time food photographer, your first instinct might be to take an overhead photo of your plate and upload it. Simple compositions can be effective, but remember that you want your picture to stand out from the thousands of food pictures on Instagram. If you choose an overhead shot, try arranging the silverware, glasses, side dishes, etc. in different ways around the plate until you find an appealing composition. Experiment with different angles and close-ups so your audience can really “taste” the food. A good close-up can make your audience’s mouth water.
2. Find a Place with Good Lighting
If you’re in an area with weak lightning, your picture will look dull and murky. Find a place with good lighting that fits the dish. For example, an ice cream cone will probably look great in the daylight, while a Mediterranean dish might look better in more subtle, subdued lighting. Rich, heavy foods typically look better in warm lighting. If you’re in a dimly lit restaurant, work with the lightning as much as you can.
3. Take a Picture Before You Start Eating
For some foods, like cookies or lasagna, a single bite or two can create an interesting composition and give your audience a peek inside the dish. But once you really start to dig in, your food typically becomes messy, muddled, and crumbly. Your food might taste delicious, but it probably won’t make for an appetizing photo. Make sure you take a picture before you start eating when the plating is still perfectly arranged.
4. Write a Scrumptious Description
A good description captures the flavor of your dish and leaves your audience eager to try it for themselves. Avoid getting technical–a long list of ingredients or ways to prepare the dish isn’t that interesting unless you’re running a recipe blog. A simple description of the colors, textures, and flavors is the perfect complement to your delicious-looking photography. You might also write a bit about the location and the atmosphere, to give the dish some context.
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