Saturday, March 04, 2006

(Misc) Taking Better Pictures

I'm trying to focus on getting more "food porn"-worthy pictures, and found this link and thought you guys might be interested.

This post was written by Sweetnicks.


Lara said...

It's surpsring in general how little info there is specifically on food photography. One thing you also might look for is information on still lifes and macro photography.

This was something I have been looking for too, and decided that I'd start YAB (yet another blog), this one focused just on food styling and photography. I just got the domain (, so there isn't anything there yet, but check it out in a week or so. I don't claim to be an expert, but I can share with people that I learn along the way!

Elise said...

Some useful tips, but more geared to those with $1000 cameras. The best advice I ever got was from Clotilde who told me to

1. Never use the camera's flash!

2. Use the macro setting on your camera.

I would add,

3. Use a tripod. That way you can still take a decent photo in low light conditions. If you don't have a tripod, stabilize the camera some other way.

4. A white tablecloth and a plain white plate, will reflect the ambient light and show off the food the best.

5. Take shots from the side of the dish, the camera maybe 2 or 3 inches higher and a foot away from the plate.

MM said...

I so totally agree on never using the camera's flash and I use the macro setting more often than my telly's remote control.

I tried to look around for tips on how to take better food piccies but there seems to be a dearth of those. The only really useful site I found was one on food styling and presentation on egullet. So, the site you mentioned was quite useful. Lara, looking forward to your site content!

Granny J said...

Strange there's so little on food photography -- it's a big segment of the commercial photo biz--for advertising and for publications. Years ago, I had my first food photo situation, getting a pic for a story on Playboy Clubs. I got Playboy's HQ studio, where they had imported two home economists, given me a girlie photog for the day & I had to make a beautiful picture of the typical Playboy Club steak plate. Brown meat. Brown potato. Brown plate.
So I quick put those home economists to work doing (ugh) classic (and red)radish rosettes, spreading sprigs of bright green parsley (that's why it's so ubiquitous) and finally we were ready to shoot -- about 2 hours after I get there. Of course, the girlie photog had been pacing the floor all this time & was glad to get out of there! When the picture was published, the VP/Opns. for Playboy Clubs
was tremendously pleased -- and wanted to know how we had made his food look so good.

If they'd given me a food stylist instead of home economists, I'd have been out of there in a lot less time!


PS -- you wouldn't want to eat those good looking foods after the stylist is through -- the highlights are usually oil or glycerin...

Kalyn said...

Some of the newer cameras have a "food" mode. That's what I use on my camera and it does use the flash automatically in food mode unless I override it. I find that if you hold the camera a long ways away and zoom in for a very close photo, you can use a flash without washing out the colors of the food. But I do agree that for the most part the food looks better without a flash.

I'd love to get a tripod but haven't gotten around to it yet. Also, when I get a bit more confident I'm going to get a digital SLR camera, but for now my food mode gets some good photos once in a while. (This is a Casio camera. It has a docking station that charges the batteries in the camera, which I love.)

nika said...

I gave up long ago trying to find how-tos online (but one must always keep looking at food shots to grow..)

I have found several good books that address this need.

First off try Lour Manna's "Digital Food Photography" (

I have some others that are much more geared to old-school film and can clue you into those if you like but I suggest starting with Manna's.

He also runs workshops that may be of value if you can spend a saturday in NYC. ( I hope to make it to one of his workshops oneday, budget willing.

I have emailed with him and he seems like a super nice guy.

nika said...

heh .. not lour but Lou Manna.. sorry about that extra "r".