Food photography rant

People love photographing food. I can understand why. I love food. I love making food and I love looking at food and above all I love eating food! However, there is much room for improvement. We all tire of seeing pictures of food and I believe it is because we may not know how to capture the many heavenly aspects of a dish.

Salmon Delight

Take a look at the shots in this post and ask yourself something: are you hungry? Chances are there is something in you wanting to dig in. There is something about the look of food that can be so tantalizing. Sadly for food and foodies the smartphone has done some damage to the art of capturing the multi-sensory experience that is eating.


Within a couple of seconds someone can snap a shot of their dish and automatically upload it to the Internet for everyone to see. Sadly, more often than not these shots appeal.  If there is too much direct flash the dish can look greasy, if there is not enough light the dish’s colour just won’t pop. Of course these are concepts which many people may not think of while dining. However, I do believe there are a couple of principles that can be learned and if practiced can change your friend’s groan from “ugh. Not another food shot” to “ugh, I want that now!”


Clean Your Lens

Smartphones, especially Blackberry phones are often stuffed in pockets, purses or bags. These are often filled with dust and other particles that stick to the lens. I’ve seen one too many mobile photos of food that seem foggy or blurry simply because of the dust on the lens. Do yourself a favour and clean that lens and your picture will look so much better.

Don’t Use Tacky Filters

Instagram (and similar photo sharing apps) have reintroduced the world to the look of film from days gone by. Sure, it may be fun but please remember: just because it can be done doesn’t mean it should be done. Taking a shot of your hipster friends and adding a retro effect can be cool but doing the same thing to a shot of food is pointless. Imaging technology has advanced a great deal, so much so that we can capture the essence of delicious foods in great detail. So please leave the effects off. Your food looks tasty without them. The picture below is the same dish as the one at the top but with some old school effects.

2011-02-07 03.34.12

Food photography can be beautiful even without a D-SLR camera. If you want to share the image of your exquisite dessert with the world then please, take a little effort to help us see the beauty of that crème brûlée. Remember, we weren’t there to take in the scent of the caramelised sugars, the sound of cracking the candied top or the creamy flavour in all its delight. Use the technology you have to capture as best you can that glorious image.

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