The beginners guide to gorgeous photos will help you find everything you need to bright, beautiful and gorgeous photos- no matter your equipment or ability.
Food photography is one of the hardest things to master- I constantly feel like I doing an “I’m not worthy” chant when I look at fabulous food blogs- but there are a lot of ways to improve your photography that don’t have anything to do with your equipment- really!
So many people assume you need the fanciest most expensive equipment, but it’s more important to know how to use it- and how to set the stage for successful photos.
(Yes, equipment is a big part of the photography puzzle… but we’re going to get back to basics here and talk about steps you can take to get a gorgeous photo before you even hit click, as well as some minor settings to take you to fab overnight! However, please check this handy list of my photography essentials in my Amazon Affiliate shop at the bottom of this post. These are all things I love to use! )
First, let’s start off with lighting.
You want as much natural light as possible coming in through your windows- which can be tricky in kitchens. Time the shot if you need to so that you can get the most sun shining in!
Since we moved, I gave up my west facing kitchen with massive windows that would pour gorgeous light onto our dinnertime meals- making the perfect environment for shooting food- for a north facing kitchen with much smaller windows.
I’ve learned to become a lot more creative- using a light reflector can help a lot- as well as knowing how to really shoot well in manual mode– and I will often set up my subject as close to the window as possible, in light that is not direct (you don’t want sun shining directly on your subject or it will look weird- check this intro to lighting for more info).
Next, you will want to set up a story for your shots.
Are you going to document your shots, step by step? Is there a specific shot you’re hoping to get from a recipe? Do you need to get something in the shot for a sponsor? These are all things it helps to think through in advance before you start a photoshoot.
This will help you plan and really let your creativity flow instead of being rushed and flustered – and help you create a story! In the photo above, it’s easy for the reader to imagine themselves sitting down to eat that portobello burger and wash it all down with a cool beer. It’s realistic, simple, and inviting- which draws people in.
Plan out your shots, even so much as setting up styled areas before your shoot happens, so you can easily add your subject to the space you’d like and won’t have to rush anything.
Be sure to move props around and take your photos from tons of angles as you shoot- and don’t be afraid to try new things. Some of my favorite shots come from trying a weird angle, adding an odd prop, or trying to shoot in different light.
Bust out the Bokeh.
Bokeh is basically, in very dumbed down terms, anything in your photo that is blurry in the background. It is a lovely touch that people absolutely fawn over in shots- and really easy to control with a decent DSLR and a good command on aperture. Check this tutorial for more info on bokeh , and be sure to brush up on aperture and how it can make or eliminate a blurry background!
For a point and shoot camera, adjust your angles and get in really close. It won’t blur the background this much, but you will still get some good blurring. Some point and shoot cameras have a little tulip icon on them that designate the macro setting – this will help you get more bokeh.
For every food shot I do, I try to take photos of my food from each direction. That means into the light, with light to one side, to the other side, and with me in between the window and the food. I’ll try shots up above, from the side, from an angle- you never know what will look the most compelling until you try lots of shots!
The best tip I can give you is to invest in good editing software. I use Adobe Lightroom, and I am a HUGE fan of Lightroom. It is easy to learn, offers great organization for your photos, and makes your photos look professional.
And since it comes in a super easy month to month plan, it’s the best investment for your photos you can make! Find more about lightroom here.