Friday, April 22

Top Tips for Food Photography with The Weegie Kitchen

Mairi is a full-time PhD researcher who blogs over at The Weegie Kitchen to escape academic life. She’s a self-confessed junk food addict whose one true talent in life lies solely in her roast potatoes. Her blog has a host of easy recipes which can be whipped up after a long day in the office.


The first rule to remember when photographing food it to never, under any circumstances, use the flash. I think this rule applies to all photography in fact. Unless you’ve had professional training that beautiful dish you’ve created will look wholly unappetising if you use the flash. Aim to shoot during the day and in northern light. North light is cleaner, sharper and will produce more naturalistic looking photographs. This may mean you have to schedule cooking and photographing to coincide with the hours of daylight, which can be very problematic during the winter months. However a blog schedule should help overcome this. If that isn’t possible try creating a lightbox, you can find a tutorial here. 

2.Depth of field

Playing around with depth of field can add a really interesting dynamic to your pictures. This allows you to focus on areas of interest or get up close and personal to elements of the food you want to showcase. So have a flick through the camera manual and look for information on the AV (aperture priority) mode. A small aperture setting on your camera will produce a shallow depth of field (i.e. where the background is blurred) while a larger aperture will produce sharper images overall. 

3.Before and After

When reading blogs or online food magazines I find it very reassuring to know what each stage of the recipe looks like so I know what I’m doing is correct. Take bread for example. The process of mixing the flour & water together can be a worrying phase no matter how many times you’ve made it. It’s gooey, lumpy and just doesn’t appear to be coming together. So consider taking pictures of the preparation as well as the final dish.

To capture those critical action shots you may need to adjust the shutter speed on your camera, a fast shutter speed will produce sharp images of action shots. Also set the camera on continuous shooting mode which will produce a selection of images.

4. White crockery

In my opinion, the crockery on which food is served for photography should always be white. White plates mean the food is the focal point of the shot and you then have flexibility with adding colour via props and background, or you could stick to an all-white theme (beautiful in my opinion) and add interest by layering linen and crockery. Yes there are exceptions to this rule and you can achieve some beautiful shots by contrasting the colour of the food with the colour of the plate.

If you do want to upgrade your crockery for blogging then don't bother buying a whole new dinner set. Just invest in 1 white dinner plate, 1 white side plate and 1 white bowl to get you started and then start to add a random piece of colourful crockery. This is where IKEA and TK Maxx becomes a food bloggers dream. 

5.Set the scene

Consider the dish you're creating and the theme of the meal then scour your home and garden for props to set the scene. Most food bloggers accumulate a cupboard-full of props over time but if you're starting out you’ll be amazed how your home and garden can produce props from anything. For example, I've used a tartan bow tie as a napkin holder for a Burns night meal and foraged golden leaves from the park for my pumpkin pies. Anything can be used to set the scene if you let your imagination wander and Pinterest is a fab place for inspiration.

While you’re hunting for props think about the surface and backdrop of the shot. My favourite surface is my white dining table pushed against a white wall. This neutral backdrop means I can play around with different themes, colours and props. Alternatively my reclaimed pallet coffee table is excellent for creating a cosier rustic feel to the shot. So play around with surfaces (dining table, coffee table, kitchen counter) and materials (tablecloths, marble paper, tarnished baking trays) to reflect the tone and theme of the dish.

A final point to consider when setting the scene is to make the shot look ‘lived in’. Think about catalogues and pictures of beds where the bed-covers turned down oh-so invitingly and apply this same concept to your food photography and draw the readers in, make them WANT to take a bite of that delicious meal. 

6.Scrap perfection

Plates, glasses, cutlery etc. should all be scrupulously clean before photographing however that doesn't mean you need to aim for perfection in the whole shot. You'll never find me plating up food with tweezers before photographing. I'm a blogger after all, not a professional food stylist and in my mind, home cooking isn’t supposed to look like an advert for a Michelin-starred restaurant. So within reason, embrace the mess. Icing dripping down a cake, cookie crumbs and cheese oozing out of a burger are what draw me in and make my mouth water.

Find Mairi... 

Blog | Bloglovin | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Why not click here to see Mairi from the Weegie Kitchen's last guest post for us. It is all about how to make a coffee table from an old pallet! 

No comments:

Post a Comment