Friday, February 12, 2010

Food Photography - Choosing the backgrounds, props and angles for your food pics

Hello everyone,
Hope all is well with you! Finally with a photography post - Choosing the backgrounds, props((bowls, plates, towels, supporting props for the backgrounds etc)) and angles for your food pics.Not that I am gud at it....but wanted to share few of my learnings/observations in this 1 yr of food blogging!

The most impt thing that attracts me to a recipe is the pic, You may have used the right ingredients, with right proportions and the dish has come out perfect but the end viewer cant see/feel any of these, so ur pic should speak for all the above.

I am fond of sambar satham esp the ones served in hotels. I made this sambar satham sometime back, noone can even try to spoil it like how I did......;) ha ha anyways I m not going to post the recipe, but will surely when I excel in it!

NOTE : All the pics below in this post are straight from my camera except for the image size reduction and sharpening of pics.I really dont like much editing as I feel the natural feeling is lost.Daylight always works best!

First let us get into choosing the props: I admit that my sambar sadam was super flop so pls see only the content of the pic not the food ok?!;)

The first confusion is the bowl: the boat shaped brown one or the white one(only 2 becos I ruled out the other bowls due to shape and size).Hmm ok I have made up my mind with the white one as I felt yellow rice wud go well with white bowl.

Now having finalised the bowl, next comes the base...I am trying with a white cloth.Actually white goes gud with everything either bowl or plate or base like the ones I hve used in Marie Biscuit dessert & Masala Kuzhipaniyaram. But here I feel the white base gets totally merged with the bowl.

Now going in for my fav chocolate brown cloth.Hmm...this is kind of ok for me but not much appealing .....

Now the same choco brown napkin on the white base hmm this looks fine to me so going ahead with this setup.

TIP: You dont even need neat napkins specifically for your food pics, Just pull out ur chudis, dupatas, saris like how I did for peanut ladoos, rose milk and what not?! sometimes even ur babies nappies wud go great like what I did for the corn pic series which most of u liked :) But remember white base always has its own professionalism so just mix and match to see which compliments best for ur food.

Now coming back....the set up of the below pic is ok but looks boring without any colors.....
So for the background I m keeping some colorful vadams, does it give an extra touch to the pic?! The white plate of the vadams still merges with white but dont worry its just going to be in the background. Ok now all set, so next comes the angles.
Angles for your food pics:
This is the most important area which makes ur pics appealing.
Angle1: This is just a closer look of the above pic......hmm not bad. This is a top angle which is a most easy shot as you can cover everything on the table easily.

Angle 2:
This has been taken from a bit of side & front angle...In most cases side front angle works fine when u get closer to the food.


Angel 3:
No major difference between A2 and A3 its only the bowl base showing off

Angle 4:
Hmm now my fav...blurring the background. I usually take most of my pics in auto mode with no macro setting on. So it means any simple setting wud do to get this blur.

The simple 2 things you need to understand are :
1.Assuming that u have a background for ur food, lets go ahead....Just focus ur eyes on the food which you want to highlight...just dont let ur eyes see the other areas at all.

2.First click the shutter button halfway to lock the focus(also called as setting focus lock) then click to capture the pic. Actually this was the first tip I got when I purchased my digicam from the shopkeeper & that seem to be very useful till now. If you dont understand the locking thing read more here

Angle 5:
Another side-front angle with slight blur of the vadams

Angle 6:
This side-top angle covers all props in the pic.

I usually take around 20-25 pics per dish but I'm seriously trying to minimise it as it leads a confusion when I come to editing. Now If I am to post this recipe, the pics I'll choose will be Angle 3,5 & 6. Before I wind up, would luv to hear your choice of angles!

Also do give me ur suggestions on what food photography topics you'd like to read and whether this post reached you or not. So to end up I wud say, it all comes by experience....the more u click the more u learn :) Happy Weekend!
Written by: SHARMILEE J


  1. This is quite an informative post...Well written. I like the side-front angle and occassionaly the top angle.

  2. Well written post Sharmi..thanks for sharing, will be really helpful for me since am not good in photography..thanks once again..

  3. A very interesting and informative post!!!!

  4. Intresting and informative post..thanks for sharing..

  5. Great info. I always have trouble clicking liquids in glassware!

  6. Nice post and very informative. If you don't mind asking .... What camera do you use?

  7. @Latha : Wud be pleased to answer :) I use Olympus FE280...its a point & shoot camera!

  8. thanks a lot for thinking of doing this post. its very helpful.

  9. This is so helpful! Thanks alot for sharing all these is going to be a big help!

  10. Good info, I like to keep my bowls/plates white, so that doesn't distract the reader! The food will be focused! The white backg I adjust in camera WB mode! Light is one of the great factor of sucess!

  11. very useful post... like you, i also love to add colors to my pics. bowls, background, colors are very important for picture to look appealing. I just wish you posted this content along with your pongal pictures. they were so so awesome!! why did you choose this sambar sadham that you admit you sodhapified? I really appreciate your effort in posting photography tips.

  12. So many info on taking pics.. good ones. thanks for sharing..
    Personaly i prefer white on white.. gives more attention to the food and good light is alwyas the best way to take pics..

  13. thank you for the very informative post... we do try to take the food fotos in different angle... this post gives us more details especially angle 4...

  14. Hi Sharmila,
    first time here.. so helpful tips about photograghy..
    i liked sesame roti and rava idli..

  15. Wow great information and interesting post Sharmi...I am still learning with regards to photography...will definitely use all your tips...thanks dear :)

  16. @Mahima : Pongal post itself was not a planned one so no thought of photography post at all.

    I took so much strains to set up everything for this photography post....not expecting the sambar satham wud sothapify so thirumba elam inoru naal set pana enaku porumai ila so went ahead with it.Next time foodum pakra mari podren :)

  17. I was waiting for this post from the moment i saw it as coming soon in the side bar, you have very well written, with enough clarity. I too am planning to reduce the no of pics i take, sometimes it goes upto 45 to 50 pics per dish and its really confusing :)

  18. Oh i forgot to ask..which camera model are you using?

  19. Great post..You have written it so well. Great week end and happy V day !

  20. Great post and well written dear. And the dish is yummy too .. abt the photography nice tips. Happy Valentines day!!!!

  21. Very Informative,thanks for sharing some of ur skills..Great entry...

  22. I was looking for somewhere with these sort of info.thanks for sharing have book marked your blog for more info.:)

  23. Thats indeed informative and very useful post to me, learnt so much today:)

  24. thx for sharing this great info..will keep them in my mind when take pictures !

  25. Good effort sharmilee to start a series like this ,so many are going to get benefited! I cook with ease but take so much effort to take pictures coz thats the first thing that will attract you to try it out ;)
    I love sambar sadam and some times it clicks and some times not ,still I am too mastering to get a settled to a fixed recipe :)

  26. Good post!Very informative

  27. So nice of u to take so many pics to help us.Thanks

  28. That is a good session on photography for a new blogger like me!

  29. Good session about how to take photos.. Thanks for doing this!!

  30. wow this is my first visit,loved this post.Thanx a ton for posting such useful info,really helping amateurs like me.Looking forward to seeing more..

  31. Thanks for sharing this with us!! i'm really impressed with your blog! love your picture sense!

  32. that was a good read, the macro/ background blur mode works magic. btw, great snaps on your blog!

  33. thanks for sharing this informative post sharmi..

  34. Thanks for this informative post. Thanks so much for taking time to share this :)


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