Shoot hungry. I know it will sound strange, but food photography is like fashion photography. You have to like/want/DESIRE your subject in order to take great sensual shots! They talk about “food porn” don’t they?
Shoot at an angle (about 45°). It’s nice to have at least a few tri-dimentional shots in a series
Tilt your camera for a more interesting shots
Colors: after composition and light, probably the most important aspect of food photography
Don’t stage too much: props are here to make the food look more appetizing. I should care more about the chicken than the chair or the cat passing by. Focus on the food! It’s called “food photography” not napkin or furniture photography
Don’t style the food too much. A good barber makes you look like you didn’t just have a haircut
Use people if you can. It helps your viewer relate to the shot. Children and older people are best. Few people can relate to a stunning looking man or woman (I’m in luck)
Show hands holding stuff or pouring stuff on stuff :0)
Natural, soft light from North is best. Shoot inside by a window or outside in the shade.
A 50mm lens gives you great flexibility and great depth of field if it allows for lower f stops (1.2 or 1.4). It is by far my favorite lens to use for food. I like the Canon L135 f2 for portraits but the 50 for almost everything else.
Translate senses like smell, texture, taste… YES you can taste with your eyes! Your food should not look like it could be made out of plastic (butter melted, croissants with crumbs, steam, oil spray…). I put the raspberries below in the freezer for a few hours. This shot was taken about 5mn after I took them out…
Compose your picture well. Let people imagine/guess what’s outside of the shot…
I rarely use a tripod. Use your breathing, your body, elbows on a chair or table… This way you’ll have more freedom and flexibility to play with the angles and the light
Don’t shoot auto. Use AV or M and just pick the right aperture (the camera will choose the speed). You want to avoid using your flash! Choose your point of focus and exposure (lighting, composition and focus) remember it’s still photography: you can afford to take time to a certain extent
Take lots of pictures. Then be ruthless in your selection process
No shame in touching up your shots with a photo app. What counts is the end result. Just make sure it all looks very natural. It’s like makeup: apply lightly!! I use Lightroom.
Find the face of your food by rotating the plate and moving around your subject. Shoot from above too:
Use backdrop and support materials like wood, natural slate, craft paper, newspaper or cloth. I like darker, earthier shades: grays, darker blue, silver, dark tin, natural deep red, brown and green like in old still paintings. Softer lights and earthy colors in the background help bring up the unprocessed, organic quality of a produce
Use supports (table, plates, bowl…) that reflect the personality of your dish and yours. The wooden table I use can be seen in 80 year old family pictures. I think it’s a lucky table :0)