Now, who doesn’t love food?

We all love food. The sight of food is so appealing, so appetizing, and so wonderful to behold. But do you know how the pros take great food photography? It’s a skill, an art, as well as a science. I’d like to share with you four simple secrets or tips that all the great food photographers use.

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1. Use a DSLR Camera for food photography

There are some great shots that have been taken using an iPhone, an Android phone, or even an iPad. But if you want to take your food photography to the next level, get a DSLR camera. It’s what all the pros use. Why? For the simple reason that you have greater creative and technical control of the camera and all its settings — especially in manual mode. And for best results, many pros recommend shooting food in 50mm using a medium focal length macro lens, like the highly reviewed Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro lens, among a few others.

2. Stabilize Your Camera With a Tripod

Food photography is all about the details. If you have a shaky or blurry shot, it really wrecks everything. So it’s very important to make your camera stable. A tripod isn’t terribly expensive, so buy and use one. Another tip is to use a two-second delay timer when releasing the shutter. So when you press the shutter button, the camera will wait two seconds before taking the shot. This would prevent any shake from your finger pressing the shutter button — even on a tripod.

3. Shoot in Natural Light

Perhaps the biggest mistake beginners make is to fail to take into account the existing lighting conditions. So by far, the biggest consideration in any kind of photography — especially food photography — is lighting. Unfortunately, there are so many well-composed food photographs that are either underexposed or overexposed. And sometimes, the lighting is just plain horrible.

But food looks best and most appetizing in natural light. In contrast, fluorescent light makes the food ugly and unappealing. So for best results, shoot in natural light. Position your food close to a big window where you can get nice natural light. Now if the light is too harsh, you could soften it with tracing paper that you can easily buy at any bookstore or office supply store. Another helpful tip related to this is: Never use pop-up flash. The harsh light and shadows will ruin it.

4. Shoot With A Large Aperture (Shallow Depth of Field)

The fundamentals of exposure (aperture, shutter speed, and ISO) is a topic for another blog post. But here’s the point: You’ll want to shoot the food with a larger aperture, which means a bigger hole through which light can pass through your lens into the camera’s sensor. Food looks most attractive when only a portion is in focus — and the rest of the image is blurred away (this effect is called bokeh). This shallow depth of field is exactly what you want to achieve by using a larger aperture, corresponding to a smaller f-stop number, like f/1.7. In contrast, a smaller aperture corresponds to bigger f-stop numbers like f/22 — giving you a wider depth of field.

The Bottom Line

These four tips are what all the pros use to take amazing and delicious food photographs. To recap: Use a DSLR camera, stabilize your camera with a tripod, shoot in natural light, and shoot with a large aperture setting. If you have a hotel, restaurant, or bakery and you’re looking for a really awesome food photographer, check out the food photographers here at Daiokan today.

More tips about food photography here.

Book your own food photoshoot here.