4 Tips to Make Pictures of Food Appetizing

If you’re a foodie who wants to share pictures of your favorite meals, you’ve probably noticed that snapping a photograph with your camera phone rarely gives you an appetizing image. A recipe that looks delicious on your plate can lose its attractiveness with the click of a button. Food photography is notoriously difficult, so you’re not alone.

Instead of sending unflattering pictures to your friends and family, follow these four tips to make pictures of food appetizing.

Use Natural Light

Color plays a large role in how people decide what looks delicious and what looks disgusting. Try dyeing your mashed potatoes black if you want to test this theory. You probably won’t be able to force one forkful into your mouth.

Natural light brings out the best color in food. You don’t want to use overhead lighting, which can make gourmet dishes look like they were prepared at a greasy diner.

You may need to plan ahead to get the best results. You’ll get the best results by taking pictures during an overcast day. Sit near a window or outdoors so you can take advantage of the sunlight.

There are several light meter apps that you can use to improve your pictures. Most of them only cost a few dollars to install on your mobile device.

Choose a Neutral Background

You want food to play the starring role in your photograph, so choose a neutral background that won’t distract viewers from what’s most important. A white or black table will work well. You can also choose textured backgrounds like picnic tables to add something extra to your picture. As long as the background has a neutral color that doesn’t compete with the food, you’ll get a good image.

Add Some Decoration to the Scene

When you look at a plate of food on a table, your brain edits out images that don’t pertain to the meal. Even if there are some decorations on the table, your brain won’t let you focus on them for very long. It wants to concentrate on the food, not pretty things sitting around your plate.

The smaller size pictures make it easier for your eyes and brain to take in the full scene, so add a few decorative elements that will make your pictures more attractive. Again, it’s important to think about color. If you’re enjoying a cappuccino with a deep brown color, sprinkle some coffee beans around the cup. It often makes sense to deconstruct the dish’s ingredients. Fresh herbs are especially attractive.

Experiment With Camera Angles

Unless you use a camera that requires real film, you should feel free to snap as many pictures as possible. Experiment with different angles to get fresh perspectives on food. Even a few degrees can make a big difference on how people see color and shadows. When you’re ready to share your pictures, choose the angle that you like best.

Taking delicious pictures of food takes some trial and error. Over time, though, you’ll develop instincts that help you make the right choices quickly. The results are worth the effort.


Image via Flickr by Michael Stern