Look in many magazines, be they women’s or men’s interest, television guides, fitness and health, lifestyle, in-house supermarket magazines or just simply food magazines and there will probably be at least one, and often several recipes.
And the food appears so good that you can almost smell it and taste it. That is down to good photography.
A studio product light tent is almost an essential piece of equipment for this type of work – see http://www.fotogenic.com.au/Tent_Cube_Studio_Lighting
I have mentioned this in other articles, and it applies here equally. Just about everything I wrote on macrophotography applies here too.
But food photography does create a few problems of its own.
- Hot food produces steam;
- Frozen food melts;
- Cameras don’t like rapidly changing temperatures, and especially don’t like condensation.
So those who shoot food occasionally have to be “creative”. The ice cream you see in photography occasionally isn’t ice cream. Years ago they used finely mashed potato. Nowadays there are other things you can use, and even d-i-y materials such as wall filler used to get into food shots sometimes. Nowadays, with advertising standards dictating the quality of the image, what you see should be what you think you are seeing.
But assuming you want to shoot the real thing, then you need to work quickly.
- If you want steam rising from hot food, then you do need a darkened background and the gentlest of back lighting.
- If you want ice cream where the little curl at the top is just touching the ball of ice cream below then you have a window of perhaps ten seconds to get the shot.
- If you want that hint of condensation on a Black Forest Gateau, then take the shot perhaps twenty times over a two minute period after the gateau comes out of the fridge or freezer, and remember that condensation has a texture that requires balanced side lighting, just the same as when you are shooting the engraving on a piece of jewellery, so you’ll need to set that to the right position first.
Thank heavens for digital cameras.
Food Photography – original article © 2011 Barney Douglas at http://www.bdfoto.co.uk and http://www.bd-shop.co.uk
Article produced for Fotogenic Photographic Equipment of 3a Averill Street, Rhodes, NSW 21380, Australia
The republication or reproduction of any part of this article without the permission of the both Fotogenic and Barney Douglas is a breach of copyright.