Tips for Creating Fabulous Photos of Food

 

Easy Ways to Make Your Images Look Edible

You don't have to be a professional photographer to take mouthwatering images of food.  Here are some simple ideas for improving the look of a dish.

Helen Rosner is the editor of SAVEUR.com, the website of Saveur magazine, for which she also styles and photographs. Follow Rosner on twitter at @hels; follow Saveur at @SaveurMag. These are her words.

Easy Ways to Make Your Images Look Edible

You don't have to be a professional photographer to take mouthwatering images of food.  Here are some simple ideas for improving the look of a dish.

Helen Rosner is the editor of SAVEUR.com, the website of Saveur magazine, for which she also styles and photographs. Follow Rosner on twitter at @hels; follow Saveur at @SaveurMag. These are her words.

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Easy Ways to Make Your Images Look Edible

Photo by: Todd Coleman for SAVEUR

Use Natural Light

Nothing will make your food look as good as natural light -- even the most expensive professional lighting equipment. That said, direct sunlight can often be too bright -- in many cases it washes out colors and blows out whites. But a north- or south-facing window any time in the middle of the day will deliver even, warm light that shows off your food at its best.

Use Natural Light

Nothing will make your food look as good as natural light -- even the most expensive professional lighting equipment. That said, direct sunlight can often be too bright -- in many cases it washes out colors and blows out whites. But a north- or south-facing window any time in the middle of the day will deliver even, warm light that shows off your food at its best.

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Use Natural Light

Photo by: Todd Coleman for SAVEUR

Use Colors Wisely

The food isn't the only thing in the frame: using plates and linens in complementary hues helps your dish pop. In particular, brown foods benefit from a hit of contextual color; they look especially lovely against blues and purples.

Use Colors Wisely

The food isn't the only thing in the frame: using plates and linens in complementary hues helps your dish pop. In particular, brown foods benefit from a hit of contextual color; they look especially lovely against blues and purples.

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Use Colors Wisely

Photo by: Helen Rosner for SAVEUR

Don't be Afraid of a Mess

Restaurants might pride themselves on precisely-plated dishes decked with tweezer-placed garnishes, but not too many of us actually eat like that at home. Let things be their natural selves: a few crumbs or a smear of dressing can be beautiful, if you let them.

Don't be Afraid of a Mess

Restaurants might pride themselves on precisely-plated dishes decked with tweezer-placed garnishes, but not too many of us actually eat like that at home. Let things be their natural selves: a few crumbs or a smear of dressing can be beautiful, if you let them.

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Don't be Afraid of a Mess

Photo by: Todd Coleman for SAVEUR

Create a Sense of Place

Use a macro shot's limited frame to your advantage by using tableware and linens that are evocative of another time or place. Our Executive Food Editor Todd Coleman, who photographs many of our stories, has a dozen cabinets full of dishes, bowls, platters, tablecloths, and napkins; he’s a master of combining materials and textures to create an immersive visual environment. All of these photos were shot in the same corner of the SAVEUR office!

Create a Sense of Place

Use a macro shot's limited frame to your advantage by using tableware and linens that are evocative of another time or place. Our Executive Food Editor Todd Coleman, who photographs many of our stories, has a dozen cabinets full of dishes, bowls, platters, tablecloths, and napkins; he’s a master of combining materials and textures to create an immersive visual environment. All of these photos were shot in the same corner of the SAVEUR office!

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Create a Sense of Place

Photo by: Todd Coleman for SAVEUR

Get People Involved

Take the food off the table and emphasize its homey, made-with-love feel by having someone present it to the camera. SAVEUR’s editor-in-chief James Oseland has an uncanny knack for creating intimacy in photos, and he often uses this trick.

Get People Involved

Take the food off the table and emphasize its homey, made-with-love feel by having someone present it to the camera. SAVEUR’s editor-in-chief James Oseland has an uncanny knack for creating intimacy in photos, and he often uses this trick.

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Get People Involved

Photo by: James Oseland for SAVEUR

Think in Three Dimensions

You might not naturally serve chocolate-chip cookies piled in a vertical column, but stacking them -- or any flat food, like pancakes, fritters, or onion rings -- is a great way to show off texture and create visual interest.

Think in Three Dimensions

You might not naturally serve chocolate-chip cookies piled in a vertical column, but stacking them -- or any flat food, like pancakes, fritters, or onion rings -- is a great way to show off texture and create visual interest.

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Think in Three Dimensions

Photo by: MacKenzie Smith for SAVEUR

Get Close to Ugly Foods

Some foods, no matter how good they taste, just aren't attractive. But the closer you get to your subject, the more the visual story becomes about texture and color, rather than pure mouth-watering beauty.

Get Close to Ugly Foods

Some foods, no matter how good they taste, just aren't attractive. But the closer you get to your subject, the more the visual story becomes about texture and color, rather than pure mouth-watering beauty.

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Get Close to Ugly Foods

Photo by: Helen Rosner for SAVEUR

Take Something Away

Tell a visual story by undoing one element of a perfectly composed picture: take a bite out of a cookie, pick up just one dinner roll from the pan, cut a slice out of a pie, lift one macaroon from the cookie sheet. This technique, which draws its strength from the tension created by a broken pattern, is particularly effective on an overhead shot.

Take Something Away

Tell a visual story by undoing one element of a perfectly composed picture: take a bite out of a cookie, pick up just one dinner roll from the pan, cut a slice out of a pie, lift one macaroon from the cookie sheet. This technique, which draws its strength from the tension created by a broken pattern, is particularly effective on an overhead shot.

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Take Something Away

Photo by: Todd Coleman, Helen Rosner & Anna Stockwell for SAVEUR