Hey friends! It’s great to see you all again. Today I’m taking over MWOA to share the art of food styling and food photography with you! You’d probably think I’m kidding if I told you that styling food can be more difficult than photographing a toddler, but it’s true! Finding the right surface without creating too much distraction, getting the right light, and creating the proper lines in the image setup can be incredibly overwhelming… but have no fear! I’ve got 3 styling tips to make your food photos stand out. You are going to look like a professional photographer before you know it. All you need is a camera (I use my iPhone, my Fuji, and my Canon depending on the circumstance) and your own creativity! Oh yeah, and some really great food that you can totally eat after! Ready? Set? Go!
First things first, find a background that is aesthetically pleasing. This means that you should find a spot that fits with your blog/Instagram style. If you like light and bright photos, it’s best to find a spot that reflects that- a white or neutral table setting will really get the viewer’s focus to your subject- your food! In the photo below the table isn’t necessarily white, but having a light wood surface keeps the eye from being distracted from that delicious-looking fruit!
A quick tip: I find that if I’m at a restaurant that doesn’t have a light or neutral tabletop and I’m dying to take a photo of my food, I will use my white napkin in order for it to work with my style.
Next, ask yourself: where is the light coming from? Your source of light is so incredibly important when it comes to getting a light and bright image, and finding a natural source of light is best. This could mean a window by your dining room table, putting it outside (before 10am and after 4pm for the “golden hour” light) on a chair, or even putting your plate of food on your floor in front of a bay window. I’ve done all three! The goal in this is to get soft, natural light that gives natural highlights to your food and still brightens your food subject: remember, bright means yummy! Dark-looking food with lots of shadows doesn’t look appetizing.
This photo above was shot at the table in the photo below in the bottom right corner. Look at all of the light coming in! The natural light from this shot really brings out the color in the fruit and gives depth to that delicious cinnamon roll in the background. See that table in the bottom right of the photo below? That’s where I do my best work because it’s so close to the natural light.
See this sweet little latte? This teddy bear with glasses and a beauty mark (!!!) was taken at a table right next to a window, and the natural light eliminated a lot of potential shadows to clearly show that I’m eating a croissant with my latte. No filters needed!
I’ll be honest, I embarrass my husband on a weekly basis by asking for the table that’s closest to the window! I have no shame in asking, and neither should you!
It’s rare that food has “movement” in a photo, but it’s easy to create movement in the photo and catch the viewer’s eye! I really appreciate depth in an image, but when I’m shooting a flat lay of a table with plated food, it’s nearly impossible to recreate any depth on a flat surface. Instead, I really try to catch the viewer’s eye by creating diagonals in the image. Vertical lines and horizontal lines are stagnant and calming to the eye, while angles and diagonals force the eye to follow those lines. This keeps the viewer’s eye looking at everything in the photo, from the direction of the fork and knife to the two pastries. To make the image look “busy”, I turned the cappuccino in the opposite direction to add more diagonal lines.
And just like how I turned the cappuccino in an opposing direction for more movement, I created the same opposing diagonals with the chopsticks in the (really yummy) sushi photo below. Adding these minor diagonals will give your viewer a busy image without too many distractions!
With these three tips, you’ll be snapping gorgeous and beautifully styled food photos before you know it! And don’t worry, standing on a chair to capture the perfect flat lay is totally acceptable because you’re a blogger! Thanks for reading today, and I hope you have a wonderful Thursday!