X-Rite Quick Tip: Six Tips to Produce Mouth-Watering Food Photography
by Alan Winslow – April 19th, 2018
Have you ever wondered how to capture an eye-popping mouth-watering food photograph? We traveled to New Orleans to take in all the sights, sounds and flavors to develop six tips to get you started on your path to better and more delicious food photographs.
Color Color Color:
If the color is off, then all the food will look unappetizing, so proper color management is crucial in food photography. Think of a menu that you have seen where the food appears yellow, blue or any other hue; this is from not correctly setting the cameras white balance. As always we recommend using an X-Rite ColorChecker Passport for proper white balance. Remember to photograph the ColorChecker Passport every time the lighting changes and apply custom camera profiles using the Lightroom Plugin for Camera Calibration software. A complete workflow on how to use the ColorChecker Passport is at the bottom of this post.
Establishing the Scene:
Don’t be so focused on the food that you overlook the rest of the restaurant. Take establishing images of the exterior of the restaurant, details of the decor, multiple angles of the food, and restaurant staff whenever possible. Develop a story around the food.
If you are working in a restaurant and do not have the luxury of ordering endless dishes or working with the kitchen staff previsualization is critical. Before the food arrives think of the framing and any props you might want to include in the image. Try to have everything set up before the food arrives so you can get the shot while it’s hot and the garnishes have not shifted.
Move away from the table:
Some of the best food photography isn’t even at the table. Walk around the establishment and look for additional shots. For instance the image of the oyster tank (below). The oyster shucker was more than happen to allow us to photograph his work station. He stepped aside for a minute as we got the shots. The added detail of his knife vastly improved the image.
Keep the Dishes Clean:
Plates, dishes, tables, and food should be as clean as possible. When you are working in close quarters, all the imperfections will show up. If you can’t accomplish this while shooting a little retouching in post-production will help.
Add a human element:
Hands are a great way to direct the viewer’s eye to the food and to add an exciting component to an otherwise dull scene.
ColorChecker Passport Workflow:
– Capture images in raw – Shooting in RAW allows you the ability to create a custom white balance before processing the image.
– Use any White Balance setting EXCEPT auto white balance.
– Take a well-exposed photo in each lighting condition.