Here at PamLloyd we love taking photos of food and drink wherever we go, whether we’re out visiting restaurant clients, at foodie events, meeting journalist contacts or on set taking recipe photos. On our phones or with a professional camera, we’re always looking to make food and drink look its best, just check out our social media feeds on Twitter, Instagram and You Tube.
Take photos under natural light: The best food photographs are taken in natural light. Lamps or a flash can create a yellowy hue to your photo, or wash out the colour. Move around to find the best possible light source, don’t feel confined to taking photos in your kitchen. The best light for food photography is soft, diffused daylight. Our in house studio is set up next to a large window and we use a range of reflectors bounce light to get the best possible setup.
Fresh ingredients: We are very lucky to work with wonderful clients who supply us with some of the freshest and most beautiful products to photograph. When you pick food and drink to photograph you should always check it carefully and pick the best, freshest bit/side to capture. If the label isn’t straight get another, if the food looks damaged don’t use it.
Great food styling: Here in the office we’ve been on hundreds of professional shoots and know how to make food look good. To create a beautiful image position each element carefully in the scene, always thinking about your final composition, keeping plates and portions on the smaller side. Try your hardest to make the dish look fresh and natural, if you’re photographing something with a slice removed, leave the crumbs, serving up something from a dish, add a drip of sauce and a food covered spoon.
Shoot from the best angle: Always think about which angle to shoot from to make the most of your subject. Try out different ways of shooting (from above, from the side, at an angle) until you have the best setup. Shooting from above is great if the food is arranged on a plate or bowl, it’s also good for eliminating any distracting backgrounds in a busy room. Shooting from the side can be best for drinks, cakes or layered dishes, allowing you to include all the detail. Shoot diagonally to include both the side and top view in order to capture the size and shape of the subject.
Backgrounds: When shooting a food photo, background and surface is very important. We use loads of different backgrounds, natural wood, painted/wall paper boards and boxes full of different fabrics. It makes it easier to have these resources but you can be creative at home. A tiled floor, a colourful tea towel, coloured or brown paper and even the end of a scarf can be used to add colour and texture to your photo.
Props: We have cupboards full of interesting props collected over the years but you don’t have to spend a fortune to create a great photo. You probably already have items at home that will look great in photos. Patterned plates and bright colours can be a great way to add some character to plain foods, a well-worn baking sheet can make an interesting background and fresh flowers always bring life to an image. Before you go prop shopping, think about what style you’d like to create. Pinterest is great for getting ideas (do you like bright and colourful patterns, or clean white lines and pastel tones). Decide what you like and shop accordingly, you only need a few pieces. Charity shops can be great for picking up interesting pieces and vintage accessories.
Editing software: Here we use Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom but if you don’t have these there are plenty of photo apps for your phone, my favourite is Snapseed. Here are a few useful techniques you can use: Fix white balance: usually this involves selecting the white balance tool, then clicking on a spot in your image that is white. Brighten or darken your image: play around with it to find the perfect level. Adjust contrast and saturation: This should make your images pop. But don’t overdo it and make them look radioactive.