If you have a passing interest in taking photos of dishes you create in the kitchen but you are not a professional food photographer, I have compiled a few basic techniques you can use quite easily (and cheaply) at home to create your own culinary photography magic.
These simple considerations are key to any food photography and are used by food photographers regularly.
Do not use a frontal flash on your subject, flashing from the front will wash out the texture of a dish or food subject. In food photography texture is what you want to achieve.
Do use lighting from the side or rear, this gives depth to your photo, it helps give the viewers eye an interesting perspective to focus on.
Natural lighting, ie the sun, works well in the above positions also. However it may not always be in the right place for you to use, especially when doing indoor shoots if you have windows that are not facing sunny positions.
Small mirrors work very well for focusing light on to particular parts of a dish to help reduce very harsh shadows or to draw attention to areas of interest in your composition.
Most importantly occasional, food used for food photography should always be fresh. This means check for blemishes on fruits and vegetables, make sure items are not too soggy or burnt or crumbly. Small imperfections are easily picked up and will degrade the overall look of your photo.
Arrange the composition to suit the camera you are using. Depending on what type of camera you use this means constantly check the viewfinder or LCD to see how the camera sees your presentation. If you use a digital SLR and lens for example this will be even more noticeable as the camera's perspective can be different to that of your eye.
Food photography is an art form with many techniques that can be explored in depth if you are interested in furthering your skills. Just keep in mind these most basic of tips to use as a solid foundation to building better looking food snaps at home.
All it takes is a camera and a natural light source to start with, you can very cheaply add to your food photography equipment by using household mirrors, lamps and even torches. Experiment a bit and you will find you can come up with a method that works best for you that may not even be written about yet.