6 Weeks to a Better Blog: Taking Delicious Food Photos
I’m sad to say, 6 Weeks to a Better Blog has come to an end, but I’m happy that the last post is coming from Jess of Tenpenny Splendid. I’ve been drooling over her recipes and photos for months now, so she’s here to help your photos go from ‘hmmm…’ to ‘Mmmmm!’ (yes, I did just write that completely cheesy sentence :p)
I am in no way a professional photographer but these are some tricks and tips I’ve picked up along the way that work for me!
1. The first thing to consider is lighting. The better the lighting, the less photo editing you’ll have to do. Your best bet at getting great food photos, as with any photos, is to use the sun! When I know I want to shoot a recipe, I always try to plan it for morning or afternoon. My kitchen table is right next to a big window so I turn off all the lights, open the curtains all the way, and shoot. Sometimes the photos turn out a little darker than I’d like but you can easily brighten them up afterward in Photoshop. Of course, things happen and I’m not always able to shoot a recipe during the day and have to give in and just do it at night. That brings me to the next tip!
2. White balance. I’ve only ever used Photoshop so I can’t really speak for free programs out there, but if you can’t use natural light, white balancing is your next best bet. The camera I use shoots raw so a handy little tool appears when I open the file in Photoshop that will auto-white balance for you, but it can be done by hand too. Most likely if you shoot in a kitchen at night, your photos will be crazy yellow. Open the color balance tool and play with the sliders. Usually adding blue and taking out some magenta will do the trick. If your photo is a little dark, instead of messing with the brightness, open up the levels tool. Drag the slider at the far right over to the left slightly until it looks bright but not blown out.
3. There are also some less technical things you can do to make your photos look better! The first one is to eliminate background clutter. If you’re shooting a recipe for chocolate chip cookies, no one should be able to see a bag of chips, your dirty dishes, some trash, whatever has accumulated on your kitchen counter throughout the week, *especially* if these things are in focus. We all have messy kitchens and most bloggers don’t clean a room from floor to ceiling before shooting. They tidy up the small area they’re shooting or at the very least crop out the mess! When I see photos with all that stuff in the background, I’m thinking less about the recipe and more about the fact that I also have dirty dishes to deal with in the other room. ;)
4. Props can also add a little something to your photos. I’m not an expert on this as I don’t have the funds right now to buy the adorable little plates, cake stands, boards, and bowls that I’d love to have one day, but I often just use what I have to try and make a photo more interesting. For example, if the recipe has to do with fruit, I’ll position a fruit bowl so it can be seen in the background, or I’ll even just position whatever I’m working with, like measuring cups and spoons, to make a more interesting photo. If you want to see some seriously cute food props though, check out this post from Joy the Baker.
5. Finally, seeing something from different angles is always more interesting than just one straight on shot. Get down next to the food and shoot it from the side. Take some onto a spoon and shoot a close up. Detail shots add a lot of interest to a post. Think about outfit posts.. most bloggers shoot their full outfit and then do close ups of the finer details like shoes and jewelry. The same applies to food photography!
Thank you Jess!
Now it’s your turn…