Food Photography – Part 1 – Preparing for the Shoot


Food is a fascinating and challenging subject to photograph, and done
properly can evoke both an appealing and emotional response. The art of
photographing food requires a vision of how the item should be printed in
an appetizing and appealing manner. Lighting, surrounding props, and
background all add to the success of a winning image. Most importantly,
however, is the display of the food item itself. How fresh does the
product appear, does it look juicy, is it hot or chilled, does it seem as
if it just came from the kitchen? All of these considerations should be
thought-out and planned to make the item look as appealing as possible,
and go into making the shot a success.

The first step is planning the food shoot. The client should have a list
of items they want photographed, and an idea of ​​how and where the
photographs are going to be used. For instance, if an item is going to be
used on a horizontal menu board and a vertical print ad, then the
photographer needs to make two versions of the shot to accommodated both

One of the most important things to consider is who is going to prepare
the food for the photos. If the client is a food establishment such as a
restaurant and has chefs, and has a set presentation for serving an item,
then they need to be involved in the efforts. However, the chef may not be
the best person to prepare the food for the photo session. You may need
to add valuable member to the project called a food stylist. The stylist
can do several things, like prepare the food for the shot, or guide the
chef as to how to prepare the item, and then put the finishing touches on
the item to make it look as appealing as possible. Usually an item is not
prepared the same way for photography as it is for consumption. This is
because many times a less heated food item just looks better than a fully
cooked one.
A stylist, in addition to preparing the food, also helps to construct the
photograph by helping to prop the shot. Items surrounding the food, such
as a colored napkin of a fork, can greatly enhance the scene. The
stylist can also be responsible for buying the food and props.
Props, such as forks, knives, glasses, ingredients, etc. should also be
Decide what props should be brought to the shoot and who is going to be
responsible for supplying them. Oftentimes the client, photographer, and
food stylist will all contribute props to the effort.

The location of the photography is very important to a successful food
shoot. If the client has a restaurant or kitchen then many time its more
convenient for the client to do the photography at their facility. Ideally
there needs to be an area cleared of tables, chairs, and free of
customers if the photographer is going to do his best "on location". When
shooting packaged items or produce, its often necessary to do the shoot at
the studio. Usually a photographer has more control over lighting, more
room, and a greater access to equipment and props in the studio. A studio
with a kitchen is ideal, or at least there needs to be is a decent sink
and prep area to work in.
Planning carefully before the shoot helps to organize your efforts, and
serves to ensure a smooth and productive exit for the photo session.

Source by Robert Bruni