As a brand-new social platform supporting and embracing the beauty of food photography, one of the questions we get asked most is: what’s the best angle to use to take pictures of dishes in restaurants? There’s no one answer to this – every dish and location is different. But the good news is, today we are letting you in on three quick and easy ways to instantly up your food-photography game:
Light and shadow
How often are you frustrated with the unwanted shadows of your phone caused by the spotlight on your table? Or the dim environment that literally makes everything unrecognisable? Unless you are lucky enough to be seated near a window or are dining al fresco, chances are you will need to deal with the unfavourable lighting situation on the spot before your dish gets cold. So what can you do about this if you don’t have professional camera equipment? To start, find yourself something – like the menu – to block the light from above in order to avoid unnecessary reflections and shadows on the plate. Once you have that covered, you now need your own controllable light source. Sometimes the flash on your phone will work just fine; otherwise you can purchase a portable ring light that can be attached to your phone to brighten up your dishes. The good thing about a ring light is that it creates a lucent, round reflection on the plate when you are shooting from above and even lighting when you are shooting from the side, which is exactly what you need to up your food-photography game in a limited space with limited resources.
Does your photo still not look as tempting as the one you see on our visual menu? That’s because you haven’t thought about the styling. Ask yourself this: when was the last time you looked at a picture of a dish with a plain white background and found it enticing? Never, right? That said, upping your food-photography game is not just about light and shadow – the extra bits of decorations on the side make a big difference too. In fact, just about anything on the dining table can be used as a prop: napkins, cutlery, the dishes themselves and even your hands!
- With a napkin, twist or fold it in a casual and seemingly effortless way to create a frame for the dish, rendering a focal point for the picture.
- With cutlery, place the utensils on one side of the dish (or both sides) – or hold them with your hands in a ready-to-dive-in gesture to engage viewers’ attention as if you were inviting them to try the dish along with you.
- And if you’re not confident with utensils or napkins, try to do a flat lay of multiple dishes on the table, which usually works like a charm.
We did say there’s no all-inclusive answer as to the best angle in the world of food photography, but since we’re here, we think an either-or rule of thumb may help you to better understand the composition. Generally speaking, for dishes with three-dimensional presentations, such as burgers, sandwiches and desserts, a side angle better portrays the texture and details of the dish, while a top angle does a better job at capturing the surfaces of dishes with flat presentations, such as pizza, soup and steak. Of course, if you take the drinks and decor into account, you still need to experiment with the right angle yourself based on the environment.
Becoming a food photographer...
Behind every beautiful photo on the Dishtag platform are some young and passionate food photographers whom we value and support. We give them job opportunities and time flexibility so that they don’t have to struggle with getting paid as freelance creatives. If you’re also passionate about food photography and want to get involved with visual menu creation at Dishtag, check out our website for more details or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!