Paris Report #4: Better Food Photographs

Over the last three days I’ve sent you a series of “what pregnancy can teach you about good photography” tips. If you missed any of them, you’ll find them here:

•  You don’t need to carry around a lot of equipment

•  You can cheat and get away with not using a tripod and still get great night shots

•  You don’t need to be physically fit to get great photos

… and, since this pregnancy sure has given me a big appetite, today I thought we’d talk about capturing great food photographs.

What pregnancy can teach you about good photography, tip #4

My “what pregnancy can teach you about good photography” tip for you today is: When you’re photographing food, angles are your friends. Stay away from shooting everything straight on.

Here are some examples:

Food Photographs

Notice how the dishes typically start in the bottom left corner and stretch to the center of the photo.

If you’re taking food photos at home and you’re more interested in getting a good photo than you are of eating the food you’re photographing, here are a few more tips from our new Food Photography Tip Card…

It might not smell or taste good (and I don’t recommend putting it in your mouth), but if you want to get the perfect pancake shot, don’t use syrup. Instead, dribble your hotcakes in motor oil. Motor oil won’t soak into a pancake like syrup does, giving you more time to get your lighting and composition just right.

Another eye-fooling, food photo trick? Make “ice cream” out of mashed potatoes… or vegetable shortening with powdered sugar added in. You can make it any color you want… and it won’t melt while you’re working the angle of your shot.

And glycerin spray, a hair- and skin-care product, can be brushed on meat or fish for a glistening effect… or sprayed onto fruit, veggies, or other items to mimic sparkling water droplets. It works on anything you want to freshen up, or give that “just washed” look, like lettuce, apples, cucumbers, tomatoes, grapes, etc. Again, I wouldn’t recommend eating it, but it can help you take some better-than-real, saleable food photos.

Note: We’ve been paying a lot of attention to food, lately, and it’s not just because I’m pregnant. For travel writers and photographers, food is unavoidable, these days. The “foodie” culture is running rampant… and including a food element into your stories and photos makes them more saleable.

-- Lori

Lori Allen
Director, Great Escape Publishing

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]