I’VE been shooting food lately, and I’ve realized that my obsessive-compulsiveness with lighting fits perfectly with this genre. My brain works like an XT8086 computer when it comes to photography. I deal with things one at a time. I want everything in place to the last detail and lights behaving my way.
In my last project, I was asked to shoot food for a seafood restaurant. The challenge was not the photography but trying to understand what my Korean client wanted. In the end, I decided to just shoot it the way I saw it and find out later if he approved. To add to my predicament, I had to hone my sign language skills as the chef was Korean as well.
I wanted to use a particular base that would complement the dish. I thought of using a rock-finish material to match the seafood. I specifically wanted a granite slab. They’re expensive slabs, all right, but luckily we found a broken one and thanks to Home Depot, they gave it to us for only P300.
The first thing to consider when shooting food is to find the angle where food will be best presented. Typically, food is best viewed at a 45-degree angle since that’s the angle we normally see it when sitting on a chair. However, there are certain dishes that stand out when viewed from the top or even from the sides.
The rules of composition where you try to use the corners of your frame as points of direction also apply in food photography. Position the dish to follow a diagonal line between the facing corners of your frame, and tilt it just a bit to show more surface of your dish.
Lighting in food photography is very critical. Although a standard backlight is essential, you must also look for the right angle to bring out the texture and the right shine or highlights. Every dish is different, so no standard lighting setup will fit all.
You may want to set your picture style or picture control in your camera to more saturation to make the image look more tasty. The ultimate judge of your food shots will be your salivary glands. If the images trigger them, then you got it right.
Meanwhile, good luck to all the photographers who will be joining the Sinulog Photo Contest. Safety first, guys. No “buwis buhay shots,” okay? I would also like to congratulate Ceasar Azanza for the opening of Macys APM Mall Branch.
Keep on shooting, everyone!
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