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10 tips on food photography

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and photographer David Loftus reveal the secrets of food photography. So whether you’re a food blogger or simply enjoy photographing your latest creations, their tips will help you capture food images like a pro

Photographing food is a trend that has swept across social media sites over the past year, and the topic is a firm favourite with bloggers all over the world.  


So how can you get the most out of your D-SLR (digital single-lens reflex cameras) to make your food photos look good enough to eat, and impress your food-loving friends?


To explore the food photography trend and find out exactly how the professionals make their culinary creations look so tasty, Nikon has teamed up with celebrity chef, Nikon ambassador and D-SLR photography enthusiast Jamie Oliver, and his collaborator – professional food photographer David Loftus – to discover the tricks of the food photography trade.


Speed is of the essence

According to David, speed is a critical element in food photography, where the freshly prepared ingredients in a steaming hot dish have a ‘photo life’ of a matter of minutes. Using a D-SLR camera like the Nikon D3200, you can keep your finger on the shutter to make sure you capture all the theatre of the creation of the dish, tell a story with your food, and most of all, make all your dishes look appetising.


Everything is beautiful

Using a D-SLR camera, taking pictures of food can become much more than simple point-and-shoot photography. By using a versatile, all-round camera with a wide focal range and numerous shot settings, getting up close with a clam and then zooming out to capture the coiled spaghetti beneath it needn’t require a change of lens. Cooking is all about “the reality of mess” says Jamie. By slowing down shutter speeds you can capture the moment you crush a clove of garlic with the side of a knife, or crack an egg into a pan.


Set up creatively to spark a trend

David and Jamie both agree that in order to stay ahead of the trend, you have to be creative with your kit. With modern lenses you can get your camera into some really imaginative places in the kitchen. According to David, with a lightweight D-SLR camera you’re equipped to capture high quality food photos at any time of day when cooking at home; “with a D3200 you don’t have to use a flash, turn up the ISO settings and you can shoot in low light”.


Background story

The right coloured background can really enhance a one-dimensional food photo. Jamie and David recommend using neutral colours like natural woods and brushed steels to bring out the texture of the foods. David carries a selection of stained wooden boards and rich cotton cloths to shoot lots of dishes in different colour combinations at any one time.



Top tips for capturing great food images:

1. Use neutral backgrounds to bring out textures in the food.

2. Embrace natural, ambient light to show off fresh ingredients.

3. Shoot quickly, especially when dealing with heat.

4. Shoot often, and capture the mess. Cooking is messy!

5. Take action shots using slow shutter speeds to portray energy.

6. Set the scene to tell a story and don’t be afraid to get your hands involved.

7. Use macro settings to capture stunning close ups.

8. Use colourful ingredients and off-white plates to serve up.

9. Get creative. Find an interesting angle, even if it means shooting from a height or leaning inside a cooking pot.

10. Adopt the point of view of the creator. The same applies before eating!



Here Jamie Oliver and David Loftus demonstrates some of the above mentioned tips:


Courtesy of Nikon.


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