Food Photography Tips for the Festive Season

Whether it’s Christmas or New Year, or any other festive season, there is always a lot of food around to enjoy. And, taking holiday food pictures is not only a fun photographic challenge but also creates a good opportunity of telling your food story. However, capturing the festive energy and the delicious food in one frame could be quite a task.

Food photography is not just about snapping food for Instagram or any other social media platforms. It is a fine art of storytelling where you try to capture a balanced frame of art, where food being the main subject in focus with the right elements and composition of lights, complementing the subject and occasion. Ultimately, a good picture captures the textures & colours of food and gets the viewer emotionally connected to the mood of the picture by virtually evoking their senses, as if the food was on their plate.

If you have a natural flair for photography and culinary arts, then food photography becomes second nature to you. However, these skills can also be developed in a professionally trained enthusiastic culinarian by learning some basics of photography.  Now, since the festive season is on, I would like to share some tips and tricks that I make use of in the making of a perfect food picture.


Nothing Like Natural Light

Photography is all about playing with lights in the right way, and when it comes to food photography, sunlight plays a crucial role. I personally don’t prefer artificial lights in food photography as I feel it takes away the visual essence of the food.

When you are shooting for a festive season, you can always use decorative led lights or candles as props but avoid using any of them as a source of light for photography as it will never show the actual colour or texture of the food. Also, for best results, stay away from flashlights too.

Best time to photograph food is either early morning or in the afternoon when the sun shines at its best during those times of the day. If shot in perfect timing and place the early morning light can even add a beautiful bokeh effect to the image giving it a natural festive touch.

Use your props wisely

Props are very important in food photography. More than food, it is the accessories that create the tone and mood for the picture. They tell the story and communicate with the viewer. At the same time, one thing you have to keep in mind is that no matter how tempting or blah your food looks; a prop can easily make or break the whole image. Also, while using props make sure it complements the food without overpowering it. After all, bling is not what we are looking for in a food photo.

Keep it Natural

When photographing food, consider its taste aspect and highlight that in the picture. For example, a piece of chocolate cake with some ganache dripping down through it is more appealing than a fine dining worth piece of cake. It feels natural and by default puts you at ease. The thing is, try not to make the plate look restaurant perfect but keep its natural self, which will enhance the overall effect on the image.

Be Instinctively Creative

Although there are so many rules in photography to get things right, food photography is to have fun and follow your instincts. Even though I will have a vague idea at the beginning of a shoot, I still wouldn’t have a clear picture of what I want to see at the end. I try so many angles and styles to get that one picture on which my mind agrees with.

When you follow your instincts, you will know the right composition, light, and angle of the picture. Just keep the basics in your mind and let your creativity go with the flow to capture the essence of the chosen food in the frame of art.

No Phones Please

You don’t need a high-end DSLR camera to take a good shot of your food but at the same time, your mobile phone won’t do much justice to the final outcome either. Invest in an entry level DSLR and a good lens such as 50mm portrait lens and that will just do great for your blogs and other digital media platforms. This option not only gives a good quality picture but is very much affordable also. As your interest and experience grow you can switch to better cameras and lenses too, although 50mm will always come in handy when you deal with food.

Image Credits:

Shruti Raj

A simple writer, with hands on experience in Public Relations and Communications. An ardent lover of food with a natural flair for culinary arts, who loves to write anything and everything about food, with a career background of more than half a decade invested in various communication fields. Now being a part of ICCA Dubai Digital Marketing team, she intends to showcase her professional expertise in web & print content development and food photography, and adapt to learn more with the team.

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