Fun Photo Tip #3
Feb. 9, 2009 7:58 pm
Updated: Oct. 21, 2010 4:58 am
Hi Everyone! I hope there has been some fun, exciting photo taking going on! :)
So in my last blog I talked about shooting in different angles and how it helps make the food look more interesting. In this blog, I will talk about how to make your shot more compositionally interesting. Composition is the placement of all of the objects, including anything in the foreground and the background.
When I set up my shot I generally like to place my main object to the left or to the right of the frame (most my shots are done vertically). It's ok to cut out part of the dish and part of the food, as long there's enough of it showing for others to be able to tell what it is. Also when you crop in part of the plate and food, you're given the chance to zoom into a specific area of the food getting a great detail shot (works great for desserts). The reason why I like to place my main subject to the right or to the left is because it makes the shot look a little more interesting. Instead of looking right into the middle of the shot, your eyes will move around, giving it a sense of movement (the technical term is called the rule of thirds).
When an object is placed to the right or left of the frame you could add silverware/utensils in the foreground. I generally like to place them on the opposite side of the main dish (i.e. the food is on the left so I place a fork on the right). You can also add something to the background such as bowls, stacked plates, the casserole dish the food was cooked in, a beverage, etc. Personally, I like to place my background objects on the opposite side of the main dish too (it's almost parallel to the foreground element). Now with all of the objects combined in the shot there's movement. Your eye will to go one element to another. When placing objects for the foreground and background make sure there's enough distance between them and the food (especially the background). If they are too close to the food everything could blend in together which can cause a lack of dimension. Also when shooting with a point and shoot camera try using the macro feature. In most cameras the standard set up will focus on everything in the shot, therefore everything in the shot will be in focus, which could cause confusion as to where to look first and what in the photo is the dominate object.
You don't always have to use utensils or bowls for the foreground or background. You could also use more of the same object. For example, if you have appetizers you could place one to the left of the frame of your shot and place the second behind it to the right and place a third one behind the second one off to the left a little. If you're using a DSLR camera you have the choice of which object you want to focus on, the one in the front, middle, or background. Point and shoot cameras generally focus on the foreground or in the middle, dependng on how close the lens is to the object. Sometimes they will focus on the background and it's usually because the camera is too close to the objects in the foreground.
Now give it a shot! Try arranging objects around and see how movement can be formed. There's really no right or wrong way to arrange the objects, so just have fun and experiment with it.
There you have it! Now you know some of the key elements of taking a great food shot. I hope you have fun experimenting with lighting, angles, and composition, as well as getting that great shot!
Happy cooking and shooting!
These cucumber appetizers are placed in a way that creates movement.
I cropped into the plate and part of the crepes, which allowed me to get a more detailed shot.
This cherry treat was shot with a foreground and a background as well as placed off to the left.