How can you make pictures of food look stunning?

There is no doubt that food is an experience. From a young age, we are taught about flavours, textures and colours of food and how certain aesthetics change our perception of food. While in the past, this experience had to occur in person, the advent of social media means we can be encounter this joy simply through the photographer's lens.

With social media applications such as Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter gaining momentum, those in the hospitality or event management sectors have a unique opportunity to showcase plates of food to a wide audience. In fact, all they have to do is capture the dish at the right angle.

Here is a guide to taking good photos of food for social media.

What is the best way to capture food on camera?What is the best way to capture food on camera?

Get up close and personal

For many photographers, there is a temptation to simply take a picture of the full plate of food. While this will show the full context of how big the plate is and the overall aesthetics, it is not as personal as it could be.

It is then recommended to get up close and personal and take macro shots of the food. Highlighting the yummy textures and details can certainly add a layer to the food experience for those engaging with the image. By taking this approach, the audience will see how much time and effort has gone into making the dish stunning.

Think about the background

Of course, in any image, the food is the start of the show – not the background. As such, it is important to think about the colour contrast between the food on the plate and the background. In addition to keeping the background uncluttered, photographers might want to consider a plain white background which doesn't take the focus off the plate of food.

Another consideration is what the food is sitting on. Whether a board, plate or bowl, the colour of this object needs to match the background and not distract the eye from the delicious food on top.

Additionally, in recent times, the concept of 'flatlays' has grown in popularity. This is where an image is taken from a top angle, capturing the various surroundings such as kitchen equipment, people or other food items. A flatlay provides wider context, drawing emotion into a picture.

Lighting can make all the difference when taking photos.Lighting can make all the difference when taking photos.

Use natural lighting

To cast the best glow over the food, it's vital to remember that natural light is much better than its artificial alternative. Natural sunlight, either from a window or outside can ensure every aspect of the image is highlighted correctly and looks great when published on social media.

In addition, experiment with what angles you are taking the shot from. Photos from different angles will showcase various elements of the food and can combine for a great social media post. Of course, you can also rearrange the plate to develop further image compositions.

Engage with the audience

As much as food looks great when it is presented to a customer, the plate still needs to appeal after the first, second or third bite. This is where a photographer can play on the emotions and senses of the audience. Perhaps place a few crumbs next to a broken chocolate cookie or slice a piece of cake showing the colourful middle.

Your plate doesn't have to be perfect, just delicious for the viewer.

Take the audience to the kitchen

Playing on the point above, food can also be presented in the state before heading to the table. This rustic view can show how a dish is made, adding dimensions and layers to an image. For restaurants and cafes, this type of photo also showcases the homemade element – showing customers that food is made on premises and with care.

To add this type of effect, use tools or ingredients as props. For example, a bowl of sugar added to cake mixture.

If you wish to learn more about the art of food in the hospitality or event management sectors, feel free to get in touch with the team at Kenvale College today.

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Thank you for inviting us – we really did appreciate it. I must say I was really impressed by the Briar Ridge team – one of them (… Aiden) did a really great job explaining who they were, what they were about etc., and really took the time to give us the background on the person behind it all (Gwyn Olsen). He’d clearly immersed himself in the project, and I think she’d have been really pleased if she’d seen that. Happy to reach out and tell her so if you think it would help pave the way for future events.

- Anonymous, Winefest Guest 2015

I just wanted to express thanks and congratulations to all at Kenvale for the magnificent lunch provided on Thursday.

I have been to many hatted restaurants this year and can honestly say that they would have struggled to produce such fantastic dishes.

The lunch was a credit to your students and your staff.  It would be a privilege to enjoy another visit next year.

Best wishes to your graduating students for success in their career and to your staff to continue to guide students to reach such a high standard.

- Anonymous public guest at Kenvale Restaurant 2015

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