By Charity Craig at YoHo Disney
When it comes to being a food blogger, visual presentation is so vital to the success of your blog. With Pinterest and Instagram being the most popular social platforms, we’re visually driven, so the photographs you take are just as important (if not more!) than the recipes themselves. It doesn’t matter how fabulous your dishes taste, if they’re not Pinterest worthy, then your views may suffer. As you cook up your delicious recipes, think of yourself as a student of photography. It may feel overwhelming. Keep practicing, keep studying, and keep taking pictures! Here are five tips that can help you step up your food photography game without buying a brand new expensive camera.
Become the best photographer you can with the camera you’ve got! — It’s so easy to get frustrated with lousy photographs, and it’s easy to get caught up in the train of thought that you need a better camera to capture better images, but the truth is, better photography has nothing to do with getting a newer and better camera, in fact, you can be a food photographer with only an iPhone camera, but if you do buy a big fancy “professional” DSLR, here’s one thing to remember: it’s not the camera body that’s the most important thing, it’s the lens. The kit lens that comes with the DSLR camera is NOT the lens that you want, so I recommend investing in a 50 mm or even a 100 mm macro lens. Just keep in mind, expensive camera equipment won’t make you a good photographer. Learning the art and science of photography will.
“A photographer went to a dinner party. As he entered the front door, the host said ‘I love your pictures – they’re wonderful; you must have a fantastic camera.’
He said nothing until dinner was finished, then: ‘That was a wonderful dinner; you must have a terrific stove.’” ~Sam Haskins
Lighting is everything — When it comes to photography lighting is everything. Food photography especially benefits from good lighting, because it’s important to capture the different textures of the dish. This does not require expensive lighting set-up. A window with indirect natural lighting is all you need, in fact, I think it’s the best option. I have a table in my dining room that never gets direct sun, and to capture the textures of the foods, I make sure the light always comes in from one side to create plenty of highlights and shadows.
The Devil is in the details — The difference between an ok photograph and an excellent one could be something as simple as an added detail. Just like in blogging or cooking, you’re looking for your style, your voice, your “look”, the same is with photography. It’s important to work at discovering your look, your style of photography. One way to capture your voice is in the extras you place in the picture with your food, so begin to collect props to add into your images. Be careful not to add too much in, but plates, non-reflective utensils, linens, and backgrounds will keep your images interesting. When shooting your food, be sure to try all sorts of different angles. Get up high, get down low. Move things around. Move yourself around. Sometimes one small adjustment can make all the difference.
Learn to edit — If you’ve been doing photography for any amount of time, you’ve figured out that the pictures you see on Pinterest did not come straight out of the camera that way. So, on top of learning the art of photography, I recommend learning how do simple edits. If you’re not computer savvy, you can still learn how to brighten photos, and add text. That’s all you really need to learn when it comes to food photography, since you want your pictures to stay as natural looking as possible. You can purchase Lightroom and Photoshop for $9.99 a month through Adobe.
Follow other food photographers — One of the best ways to learn how to be a better photographer is to follow the ones you admire, and who are willing to share their tips and tricks. Look for the photographers who best display the images you desire to capture, and study their work. Then, don’t be afraid to mimic their work (read the book Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon), until you are confident in your photography. Instagram is the best place to follow people for inspiration. Some of my favorites are @goeatyourbeets, @cecilemoli, and @linda_lomelino. Who do you like to follow?
Charity Craig is a blogger and mom of four who writes about everything disney at YoHo Disney. Charity says, “It’s a Disney life for us! We’re a family of six who love #allthingsdisney, whether it’s Disney food, cocktails or Disney parks, we’re here to share our love with you. You know what they say… a family that Disneys together, stays together.” Charity is the Missouri Women Bloggers April Foodie Friday editor.