Posts Tagged ‘photography’

Food Photography Tips, Part III.

February 26, 2008

Part III – The Continuation of the Composition of Food Photography

Today I’ll be covering Focus and the Message.

1. Focus

There are 2 types of focuses:

a. Limited Focus – Photos with an ‘artsy’ feel

When I took a photo of this Colourful Kueh Lapis, I wanted to focus specifically on one Keh’s multiple layers. Such photographs are used more in Naked Food Photography.

b. Maximum Focus – Photos including display components

I’m not sure if this is the best example, but it does show many different Chinese dishes that my Grandmother cooked for dinner. You can see her (at the top of the photo) pointing to the food and encouraging us to start eating. Such photographs are used more in Packaging Photography, which allows the photographer to showcase an array of items like a different food products distributed by a particular company. For example, Procter and Gamble.

2. The Message

What is the message you want your photographs to bring across to your viewers? Do you want people to see your food as “I so got to get myself some of that now!” delicious, sweet, soft, hard, sour or even mysterious? Here are some of my examples.

The message: Fresh and naturally sweet strawberries.

The message: An absolutely scrumptious pasta dish.

The message: Artificially and sinfully sweet donuts, that are incredibly delicious.

The message: Unusual Durian Chee Chong Fun, only for the adventurous and not for the faint-hearted.

I hope you’ve all learned something today. 🙂 More tips coming up tomorrow.

Food Photography Tips, Part II.

February 25, 2008

Part II – The Composition of Food Photography

Now let’s look deeper into how we can compose better photographs of food.

Today I’ll be covering Cropping, Propping & the Two types of Camera Angles.

1. Cropping

There are basically no real rules in food. The shape of the food determines the placing of it, but that could be challenged as well. Author of the Food Photography Blog puts it in a very candid manner.

“Good composition is sort of like p0rn0graphy.  You know it when you see it.  We could discuss things like shapes, tangents, compositional flow, balance, and all kinds of other high-faluten words, but they wouldn’t mean much.  The trouble is that Art is so damn subjective.  One man’s garbage is another’s Rembrandt.”

So a photo of a banana muffin could be taken these two ways (below), and still look good both ways. It all depends on the story you want the photo to tell. Rules are there for us to break them. 😛

Source: Mad Baker


Source: My Recipes

2. Propping

This really sets the mood for the photograph. The colour, texture (I’ll be covering this in another post) and style of the entire photograph should complement each other. Everything should just come together with ease and it should allow the viewer of the photograph to ‘get it’. Keep it within two to three props per photograph. The Stand Up and Cook blog says this about propping.

“Good propping will appeal to the subconscious of the viewer without detracting from the food itself.  Sample props would include glasses, table decorations, interesting serving ware.  It’s best to use props sparingly.”

Check out the amount of work that goes into propping and taking this photograph.

3. Two Types of Camera Angles (To create a 3D effect)

It is best to avoid a 90 degree angle in photographs, it makes the food look flat and unattractive. I’m sure the first photo below looks much better than the second one (90 degrees).

Photos that are taken at a lower levels usually turn out better.

a. 10 degrees (Almost at eye level, you could see inside the food)

Source: Diva Gourmet

b. 45 degrees (There’re more components involved, for example a glass of wine in this photo)

I hope you’ve learned from this post! 🙂 Check out Part III tomorrow for more tips on food photography.

Food Photography Tips, Part I.

February 24, 2008

Part I – Types of Food Photography 

I attended a food photography lesson last Friday, organised by the Singapore Management University‘s Visual Arts Society (SMUSAIC). This society was formed by members with an interest in photography, digital imaging and cinematography.

With the permission of Kejie and Gabriel (the two student instructors), I am going to do a series of tips on food photography which I picked up from their class on my blog. Let’s all strive to capture the gorgeousness of food in our photography. 🙂

Today I’ll be covering the different types of food photography.

There are 3 types of food photography:
1. Packaging Photography
2. Naked Food Photography
3. Display Food Photography

1. Packaging Photography

This is one of the toughest types of photography. It is the responsibility of the photographer to create a 3-dimensional effect out of boxes, sachets of packets of chips, etc. One tip would be to tilt to packages at different angles before taking the photograph.

2. Naked Food Photography


Source: Gastrofotos

Naked food photography simply means food that is out of a package and is styled. There is usually only one or at most two components in this type of photography. This type of photography is great for beginners with compact cameras.

3. Display Food Photography


Source: dkimages

Display food photography simply means that the photograph showcases a range of components. It could be a set meal with drinks and dessert or perhaps different types of food that used a particular ingredient, etc.

The most important thing before you plan to photograph food is to settle on your objective. Ask yourself, what do you want your photo to portray and which type of photography would suit that objective the best?

My personal favourite is Naked Food Photography. I love taking close up shots so that my viewers can almost touch and smell the food. In my opinion, the ability to do that is what sets great photography apart from good photography.

Here’s a behind-the-scene video on food styling and the hard work that goes into food photography.

My photographer friend Amos Wong takes really awesome food photographs too, check him out here.