The art of food photography
With the rise of social media, the phrase ‘eating with your eyes’ has never been as true as it is today.
Most of us sharing our gastronomic creations on Instagram are armed with nothing more than a smart phone and an appetite, but there is a growing number of professionals whose pristine food styling and specialist photography techniques are highly sought after by chefs, restaurants and publications to bring their meals to life.
To look at how the amateurs differ from the pros, we faced-off Lisa Barber, an award-winning photographer who’s snapped the likes of Gordon Ramsey, and Jennifer Forbes, a London-based foodie who loves filling her Instagram feed with delicious Scandi cuisine from her beloved Sweden.
Both photographers were given five meals purchased from London eateries, and a selection of props to style however they wished. Scroll below to see how they approached the challenge of photographing five of Instagram’s favourite foods.
Camera equipment used:
- Camera: Canon 5D Mark 2
- Flash: Canon 580EX
- Tripod: Manfrotto – 20 years old from the photographer’s university days
- Lenses: Canon 28-70 f2.8, Canon 100 f 2.8
- Seeds add freshness when sprinkled on salads
- Salt helps keep the foam on beer and champagne
- Kitchen towel for wiping any smudges on a plate
- Gaffer tape to hold napkins and tablemats in place
- Splashing oil on meat creates the illusion of heat
- Toothpicks and cotton buds for positioning delicate items
- Paint brush for dabbing water and oil to add shine
- Lemon and lime can add colour to almost any dish
- Bulldog clip for clamping backgrounds in place
- Assortment of napkins for expressing colour and mood
How to take better food photos:
- Think about the colours and style that you want before anything else
- Look at the food with your eyes before looking through the lens
- Position larger props towards the back of a shot to make the food the hero
- Kitchen towel, cotton buds, tweezers and toothpicks are essential items