Here's Food Photography Advice From Marian Braccia, via Linked In (I don't know her, just saw the advice on a board). I agree with most of her suggestions, except the shooting overhead bit. With good props and styling, overhead pictures can be very interesting. Curious what others think of Marian's list, particularly people like +Nicole Pearce
and +Alaska from Scratch
who put a lot of effort into making gorgeous photographs.
Cookbooks and Food Photography. Advice on how to shoot great food images.
I think if a cookbook writer wants to try and photograph their own dishes, I'd definitely encourage them to do so. Here are 10 tips I can offer. Others, please feel free to add your own tips and advice.
1. Rarely shoot directly overhead. It's usually a dull angle and almost never works when plates are round, because photographs are rectangular or square.
2. Don't use a flash camera. Use natural light and a few bounce cards if you need them. Flash produces a very flat shot and glaring highlights. If you absolutely have no other option, back way up creating distance from the subject and zoom the lens in. Then the light won't be so hot. (This is much more flattering for people, too.)
3. Never, ever use a light box. This light is too even and looks fake. If you do use one, your food will not look real. It will look more like a Hallmark card circa 1970's.
4. The other trick to making sure your images don't look like Hallmark cards is to have some of image in sharp focus and allow that focus to soften toward the background. Photos where the entire image is in focus don't look natural because if the dish were actually in front of your reader, their eye would not see it that way.
5. Make sure you look at everything in the frame and take all extraneous things from the background out, unless you specifically want them there.
6. Shoot so that your photographs have a very large file size that will equal at least 300dpi so that when it goes to print, the images will remain clear. There's nothing more disappointing than a great photo that doesn't have enough resolution to be printed.
7. If you don't absolutely love the photograph of a particular dish, omit it. If there are poor photographs it very quickly lessons the perceived professionalism of the whole book.
8. Don't ever grab photos off the web to use on your own material. You must have copyright for all images. If a publisher finds out one of your images isn't being used legally, I can promise you they won't work with you again. Their liability risk for being sued is too high and too costly.
9.Be sure to choose props that are unique to each shot. It's important to have other things in the frame, not just your food. It should look like we just arrived a talented host's home where everything was beautifully laid out. I shop thrift shops constantly for tablecloths, napkins, utensils, dish and bakeware. Make sure everything you use is laundered, polished and immaculately clean.
10. After a few attempts, if your work isn't top shelf, find another photographer and negotiate a rate you can handle.