How to shoot your food famous

Our food photography experts share tips on how to make your snaps stand out

Every day, nearly 100 million posts are uploaded to Instagram. If the accounts we follow are anything to go by, the majority feature gorgeous photos of food. Which begs the question – in a field so beautiful, how do you make your snaps stand out? Searching for answers, we went behind the lens with our jolly pros Sukaina Rajabali and Amy Fullwood for a masterclass in the art of shooting stare-at-the-screen images…

#SweetComposition

Let’s get technical

How you compose your image is key to its effectiveness. Take this shot: with the left side totally vacant, the focus is on the primary element, the tart. This is known as creating negative space, and is a classic composition technique.

Play by the rules

Often you’ll want to adopt the rule of thirds, which sees a frame split into three sections – here that’s the negative space on the left, cream in the middle and tart on the right. This gives an image nice symmetry and even balance.

Numbers game

In the food photography universe, odds beat evens every time. Three plates look better than four, seven glasses look better than eight – or in this case five slices looked better than six.

#HeadOverHeels

Let’s get technical

One guaranteed way to make followers fall in love with your photos is to shoot from overhead. This angle works a charm with beetroot, for example, because the intrigue is rooted in the rustic feel of the bulbs, stems and leaves more so than any aspect of height. Shooting from above provides an equally good vantage point when photographing a feast you want to appear both in focus and abundant.

Can’t beet it

If you can, shoot on a background that complements the natural hues of the food. This blue-grey scheme works perfectly with the pretty purples, pinks and greens of the beetroot.

Perks of the job

Those swerving beet leaves aren’t just visually appealing – a quick wash is all they need to be used for light, summery salads and simple pasta dishes.

Did you know?

Our ‘Naturally I’mperfect’ range of veg is ideal for kooky shots like this.

#StraightShooter

Let’s get technical

This image, which depicts the simple, everyday act of pouring milk over coffee, looks so alive because it’s been shot from a straight-on angle. This approach works best when you want to catch movement and lifelike elements – the hand, the pour, the swirls.

All a blur

Shooting straight at your subject gives you scope to blur out the background and as a result, increase the focus on what’s really important – those coffee waves.

Want to win on Instagram? Amy’s got a few top tips for you this way.

#SoStylish

Let’s get technical

How you style your food is what will cause people to sit up and say ‘Wow’ rather than offer a ‘That’s nice’ shrug. Nail the art-gallery look by paying close attention to detail:

  • Use micro herbs, edible flowers and sprouts as garnish. They’re achingly delicate and have a softening effect on the main elements of your shot.
  • Bold seasoning makes colours pop – black pepper on cooked egg whites, sea salt flakes to accentuate salted caramel, cocoa powder or ground spice dusted over creamy desserts and icing sugar to decorate cakes.
  • Add a few dewy drops of water to salads and veggies so their peak freshness is retained for the shoot.
  • Keep ingredients like fennel, celery, radishes and herbs in iced water while you compose the shot – that way they’ll stay nice and perky.

Did you know?

All these flowers and herbs can be found in the spinneysFOOD range. To keep them fresh while you’re shooting, leave on damp kitchen paper.

#SeeTheLight

Let’s get technical

Whether you’re shooting inside or in the great outdoors, being in control of the surrounding light helps food realise its full, most beautiful potential:

  • Aim to set up near natural light and have just one source of light – block out the rest using cards or heavy fabric.
  • Soften the strength of really bright light with tracing paper or a sheer curtain.
  • If you find light to be weak and lacking, use foam boards, white tissue or a mirror to reflect more on to your set.
  • When there’s too much light bouncing around and it’s disrupting your attempt to create deep shadows, take advantage of equipment like black boards. They will bring a moody tone to shots.

#PropCulture

Let’s get technical

Props are the freckles and frowns of food photos. It’s these extra nuances that will bring much of the charm, creativity and character to your shots:

  • Choose rustic surfaces, not ones that are shiny – your lens definitely doesn’t want to be dealing with any glare.
  • Use props to tell a story: stack plates (communal!), show cakes cooling on a rack (freshly baked!) and drape fabrics around your cutlery (homely!).
  • Mix modern and vintage ceramics – this stylish juxtaposition brings a novel touch to trendy pictures of in-vogue recipes.
  • Make sure that your props tonally complement your food rather than hog the limelight. If you have even an ounce of doubt about a prop’s suitability, don’t use it.

HAVE YOU HEARD?

Are you an aspiring food photographer? You could see your recipe feature in a future issue, win Dhs 500 in shopping vouchers plus an invite to one of our photo shoots. To enter, cook a dish from our July issue, take a pretty picture and post it on social media using #SpinneysSnaps.

*Ends 31 July 2017