Styling food for photography
Styling food for photography I never work with a food stylist; if you aren’t rich, you will most likely take on this role yourself or make friends with a good chef . While you may lack the massive collection of props that a pro food stylist would own, you should have at your disposal some place settings, backgrounds, and typically some degree of control over how food is presented. I do tend to use bits and bobs around the studio to get the results that I want. Bits of old wood rusty metal sheet anything that will give a shot depth. Whether I am in the studio or out shooting at restaurants, I am always challenged to use my on-hand supplies and creativity to create the right mood and draw the viewer in without distracting them. Getting started in styling food images is not as difficult as you might think.
Place solid or simple patterned papers as a background. Figure out what works and does not work in terms of contrast and similarity. Also, make sure that you have enough paper to completely cover the entire field of view.
Experiment with incorporating serving pieces, whole place settings, napkins, place mats, and tablecloths. Set the table with silverware, drinks, and even candles to convey the right mood. If your budget-conscious, you can always find these items at thrift and bargain stores.
My natural inclination when I started photographing food was to anchor myself somewhere, pick one zoom length for the entire shoot, centre the food in the frame, and look down on it at a 40-degree angle after all, this is how food appeared when I sat down to eat dinner. What you will realize is that it didn’t make for interesting photos. Better shots play with angles and perspective:
Zoom – with both your lens and your feet to put the food in its place. Whether you are using a prime lens or a zoom lens, you can always get in close to magnify a detail of the food or loosen the shot up to show the food as a component of a larger meal.
Rotate along all three axes. Some food looks best when looking directly down on it, while other food has an interesting side profile that can only be seen when shooting across the food at its level. Slightly tilting the camera clockwise or counterclockwise can add some interest to an otherwise dull photo. Take advantage of the low cost of experimentation since you’re shooting digitally.
Use the rule of thirds. In general, the rule of thirds helps to easily give you well balanced images, and this holds true not only for landscapes and action shots but for food as well. Practice following it to learn when you should treat it as a suggestion rather than a rule.