Follow these steps from Digital Photography School to up your game in food and other close-up photography.
If you’re still unsure of how to use these tips in action, you can watch the video below and see how a professional creates delicious and inviting close-ups of different dishes. You can do it, too!
Shoot on a tripod
I actually love shooting on a tripod and I use one anytime I can. Try it! It will completely free up your hands to style your dish, in order to work on your shot. I am a commercial food photographer, so I am either shooting in my studio or some other controlled environment where I can use tripods, so this tip is for those situations.
Please use props – but not too many
I see so many food blogs with shots of food in a plate, or a bowl, with nothing else in the shot. This to me is just a documentation of a food dish. There’s no story behind the image when you have no props. I get it – it takes more time. But, if you start real simple, props can dramatically improve your photos. Notice in the shots below that all the props are secondary – meaning the first thing your eye goes to is the pasta in both shots. All the props are low key and not distracting. It’s still all about the food, but it gives the food some visual support to get your viewer to look at your photos. There is a fine balance between just the right amount and too many props that take your eye away from the food.
Many people take all their photos in a horizontal format. I understand why, it’s a lot more comfortable to work that way. When shooting vertically, all your settings are now on the side and if you’re on a tripod you have to keep cranking your head over to see them. Well, you just have to suffer through it! Shooting vertically can give you nice depth in a photo from foreground to background. This also enables you to have large photos on your blog, if you have one. Shooting vertically can give you room for text like a title. Many sharing sites like Pinterest are better with vertical shots, so think about how this image will be shared and go from there. Mix up the images on your blog. Have some vertical photos and some horizontal ones as well. If you do everything the same way it can get very boring.
Use a small f-stop number to get shallow depth of field
The f-stop, or aperture, controls the opening of your lens that lets light into the camera. The f-stop also controls how much of your image will be in focus, and how much will be out of focus.
When you are just starting out, f-stops, or apertures, are very confusing to learn about. You see, the smaller the f-stop number, the LARGER the opening. It’s very counter intuitive. What I always say in class is, the smaller the f-stop number, the smaller your depth of field and the larger the f-stop number, the larger your depth of field. This gives you such creative control with your images. I always suggest you shoot your food with a very “shallow depth of field”. This means less things in focus.
Source: Digital Photography School