If you ask me my biggest challenge when it comes to blogging, I would instantly answer: "this". THIS right here is my challenge. Staring at a blank screen and waiting for the right words to enter your brain so that you can start writing a blog post. The first two sentences of any blog post are the most challenging to write, but thankfully it just flows after that. After receiving love on this post where I talk about my routine and practices as a part time blogger (also a small example of my food photography set up), I thought of more ideas to connect with my readers and to help fellow aspiring bloggers. Today I am going to share with you my 5 basic tips for food photography for beginners. Lets get started. (All images below are linked back to recipes.)
Tip 01: Invest in a good camera
One time investment, totally worth it! No matter how good the camera of your phone is, it can not match the quality of the image captured on a DSLR. All images that you see on the blog are captured on a canon DSLR camera.
Tip 02: Use an editing software
One word: LIGHTROOM! I used to edit my images on the basic Apple photos editing tool but I will be honest, Lightroom has changed the game for me. The monthly charge of INR 800 is totally worth it, plus there are thousands of free tutorials on the web that teach you the basics. (example below) My favourite tool is "shadows". See how much of a difference that makes:
Tip 03: Do not over invest in props
Now this is something I wish I had learned much earlier! Much earlier before I spent a lot of money in buying kitchen clothes, beautiful paper napkins, designer plates etc. only to realise much much later that LESS IS MORE! Since the last 6 months, my style of photography has completely changed and the focus is more on food and less on props. This arugula chickpea salad for example. There is not much difference in before and after because the image (before) is almost good as it is because of the colours. Instead of investing in props, invest energy by thinking the right colours that would go together, that would pop up and make your dish look vibrant, where you do not feel the need of any additional items except for the basic bowl in which you serve the salad. Same recipe, another style -by adding a pop of different colour (here red/ pink for example) Or place different colors behind or around the focus image. Also this banoffee pie recipe: Again, not much of a difference in before & after (except for shadow). The focus is on that piece of pie that is calling your name & begging you to eat it and not on the blue pie dish or other props.
Tip 04: Natural light
This is an important one and honestly the most challenging for me! As a part time blogger, I only get to shoot my recipes on holidays/ weekends which gives me around 4 to 5 days a month for shoots (considering I also have to maintain a social life on weekends!) - I truly have to wait until Sat morning (best time= 9am to 11am & 3pm - 5pm) to shoot my recipes in natural day light. Here is a little example of how the shoot set up looks like:
Tip 04: Don't ignore the garnishes
My grocery list for weekend shoots differs from recipe to recipe, but there is one thing that I order every time: spring onions! Never run out of them, or sesame seeds, or black sesame seeds - a sprinkle of these basic items pops up your dish and also adds that vibrant colour. Here is an example for spring onions: And here is one for sesame seeds: As you can see, the picture did not really need much fixing before and after. I always like using both: white and black sesame seeds. Her is another example where I used both of favourite garnishes: spring onions & sesame seeds. Or use other ingredients (from the recipe) as "props". I did the following assignment for product photography and the main ingredients were peppercorns which are nicely placed near the product.
Tip 05: Create a personal style + look for inspiration.
My personal style for food photography has changed every 3 months and I am sure it will continue to change. I was a big fan of taking picture horizontally and now all my pictures are taken vertically. Plus, I was never a fan of tripod, because I wanted to feel "free" when using camera with hand, but now all my shoots are incomplete with a tripod shot, especially if there are dripping shot like this one: Lastly, get inspired - from pictures online, from fellow blog accounts and food bloggers. Get inspired, but don't copy. Create your own style, experiment with different set ups, ingredients and take inspiration from food you eat at restaurants. There will be bad days and no matter how many pictures you take of that one piece of brownie, you will not be satisfied! I have been there. I have re-shot entire recipes after being dissatisfied with the pictures, but the whole point is to really keep learning and enjoying the entire process 🙂
I hope these tips will help you. Feel free to share your thoughts and comments.
What great ideas. It definitely helps seeing the two pics being compared.
Sheenam & Muskaan
Thank you so much.
Some great tips here! I love your drizzle shot!
Sheenam & Muskaan
Thank you 🙂
Hey. I love your blog! I just have one question. If you have so many views on Pinterest and your blog, how do you have only around 5k followers on Instagram?
Sheenam & Muskaan
Hey Mahi, thats a great question - the answer is: because Pinterest and Instagram work differently! Pinterest acts as a search engine and people are looking for recipes and end up making them (for real!) which gives us a lot of organic traffic, while on Instagram, the life of the post is just a few seconds and people just view it, like it and scroll down. I have never been a huge fan of Instagram personally, therefore the small (or big) number or followers truly does not matter to me as long as my site is organically viewed via google or Pinterest or Facebook... 🙂