Food Photography with best possible setup, food styling and proper lighting will bring outstanding results.
In food photography in addition to choosing, preparing and composing plated food, stylists use numerous techniques to make it appear as attractive as possible.
The process of food photography begins with the purchase of the food and ingredients. Only the most visually perfect foodstuffs are acceptable and multiple backup or test items are usually needed. As a result, purchase of the food and ingredients is a very time-consuming process. The best-looking of the purchased items is selected and marked as the “hero”, i.e., the item that will be featured in the photograph. During the setup and for test shoots, it is represented by a cardboard stand-in.
Food photography can take place in a studio under controlled lighting conditions, or under natural light. The light, background and setting is carefully prepared so as to present the food in an as attractive way as possible without distracting from it. The color and texture of the background is selected so as to effectively complement that of the food and to assist with its lighting.
A stack of artificial ice cubes, used in place of real ones in situations where they would melt.
To create the effect of a thin layer of condensation forming on the outside of glasses containing cold liquid, dulling spray may be applied, with paper or masking tape protecting the non-“frosted” areas. More pronounced condensation and dew drops are imitated by spraying the glass with corn syrup or glycerin.
Ice cubes used in shoots are made of acrylic, so they do not move or melt during the shoot, which may take place under hot studio lighting. Fresh-looking bubbles on the surface of drinks are created by applying a mixture of the drink and detergent to the surface with an eyedropper. White glue may be used in lieu of milk, and a mixture of brewed coffee and water instead of tea.
Salads in food photography are composed with a view to creating appealing textures, shapes and colors. To improve support and aid in composition, salad in a bowl is built around a smaller bowl placed upside down in the outer bowl. Salad greens are kept fresh and crisp by misting them with cold water prior to composition. Salad dressing is not normally used, as it makes the salad slippery and difficult to style, but the appearance of dressing may be created by sprinkling herbs and spices over the wet salad, or mixing them in oil and applying it with a brush.
Fruit salads are particularly challenging to shoot because of the short time the fruit pieces, which are cut immediately prior to final photography, retain their appearance. As only the outer layer of the salad is of interest, the concealed interior of the salad bowl may be filled by mashed potatoes or another mixture. Thick or heavy dressings do not photograph well; they are usually thinned and applied by brush.
Hamburgers and sandwiches
This cheeseburger’s buns and toppings appear uneven in shape and position, making it look not as attractive as it should be.
In food photography, Hamburger are difficult to photograph, because the buns dent easily and an assembled burger is quick to lose its visual appeal. When assembling the burger, the ingredients are held in place with toothpicks and the meaty interior of tomato slices is removed to avoid juice discoloring the ingredients. The meat patties are superficially cooked, the edges browned with a torch and the meat made to look more appetizing with a colorant. The edges of melted cheese slices may be brushed with household cleaner to make them look freshly melted longer. Condiments such as mayonnaise are applied to the edges with an applicator bottle. Steam is normally used to suggest the burger is hot.
Sandwiches are assembled using similar techniques. Wet paper towels are used to prevent the bread from drying out. If a half sandwich is to be depicted, the bread and the components are individually sliced with scissors and assembled in place.