Food Photography Basics

Food Photography Basics | The Fresh Exchange 5

I am going to give you one of the first photography lessons I give anyone who asks, “How do I make my photos better?” Which usually means, “How do I make my Instagram images better?” This really means, “How do I make the photos of the food I post on Instagram look better?” Which I am glad you asked…

I studied design, photography, video, multimedia, and more in college; but I really learned how to shoot food and people when I shot weddings in the summers in Traverse City. It really allowed me to understand how to quickly get the shot I needed before it was gone.

After a while, I started to notice a pattern with my own food photos and many of the food images I was Pinning. Inadvertently, it turns out the three natural angels we view our food are also the best for shooting. I would suggest beginning with these angles first then getting more creative.

Food Photography Basics | The Fresh Exchange

Angle 1 – The Low Angle
To get this shot you want to be eye level with the table top. This is great for dishes that have a lot of vertical layers, or a wine bottle that you want to clearly show the label. Many times this will be the angle of product photography images.

Food Photography Basics | The Fresh Exchange

Angle 2 – The 45 degree
This is probably the most natural angle as it is almost exactly what you would see seated at the dinner table. This is great for giving a bit of perspective to a dish, without totally distorting the proportions. I also feel like the light and shadows fall at the most natural places at this angle.

Food Photography Basics | The Fresh ExchangeAngle 3 – The Overhead
We could also call this the Instagram angle. It is a classic way to show the entire setting of the table and the full layout of a dish. I love this angle when there are multiple plates on a table or when the background of the first two angles doesn’t work. Now there is no way I have found to shoot this angle without looking like a creeper, but that is the cost of a good photo. I do however use the “live view” feature on my Canon 5D Mark III to help me frame the shot and ensure that it is in focus.

These are my three basic angles for getting the best food photos. I would LOVE to hear some of the go-to angles or shots you like to use! Have you ever done The Overhead at a nice restaurant? Come on be honest…


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