Honing in your food photography skills
We’ve got the inside tips from Le Cordon Bleu’s online food photography course!
These last few weeks in lockdown have seen a flurry of home chefs experimenting in the kitchen and proudly posting the delicious results for all to see. From banana bread bake-offs to stacks of scones and sourdough flooding our feeds, foodies are uniting by turning their time in isolation into an opportunity to cook up some new skills!
But what good is a mouth-watering masterpiece if you can’t show it off? That’s where the Le Cordon Bleu culinary experts come in with tips and tricks from their online food photography course, to help self-isolators create food pics that look good enough to eat.
PLATE UP LIKE A PRO
Ever wondered how a photo of a plate of food can just bounce off the screen or make you feel a pang of hunger? It’s usually because the food has been cleverly styled by a professional food stylist… Yes, some lucky folk actually get paid to play with food for a living!
Le Cordon Bleu says the best way to style food is to not overthink it. Plate up the food as you normally would, keeping to the centre of the plate. Let sauces and pieces ‘spill as they will’ to emphasise the natural beauty of the food, then clean up the edges so the plate looks neat.
Always remember less is more—minimalism is much more appealing to the naked eye than an excess of ingredients.
In saying that, always choose simple crockery and tableware. If you style food on patterned or bold coloured dinnerware, you will take away from the star of the show–the food itself. You can add a pop of colour by plating a pale coloured food on a dark plate, using vibrant colours on a simple white background, or adding a patterned ‘drop plate’ underneath for oomph.
LIGHTS FIRST, THEN CAMERA, THEN ACTION
When it comes to lighting your world, Le Cordon Bleu says au naturale is best!
Try cooking during the daytime to take advantage of flattering sunlight and stay away from overhead lights or built-in flash. If you’re taking photos at night, move around your kitchen with the plate to find the best light source and play around with the settings on your iPhone or camera, which usually have features to mimic daylight.
Once you’ve found the right light, take lots of pictures from multiple angles. A flat-lay is a favourite as it’s a great way to feature all of the ingredients in your tasty creation.
If you want to show off a beautiful cake, why not add a bag of flour that is ever-so-slightly spilt into the frame, bits of orange peel and sticks of cinnamon, or any other ingredients featured in the recipe? This is a simple way of letting your photos tell a story.
BE SNEAKY TO SUCCEED
Le Cordon Bleu says the best-looking food photos may not necessarily taste the best in real life—and that’s because the dish has been manipulated for camera-readiness. Some sneaky tricks for producing the best-looking photographs include brushing oil on hot food to make it look fresher, not adding dressing on salads so leafy greens don’t look limp, and even undercooking food to make it look fresher and brighter. Cooking with lots of greens or herbs? Soak them in icy water for a few minutes before the shot so the colour really pops!
Le Cordon Bleu offers short courses in food photography, food writing for publication, gastronomy and nutrition, and a range of other topics developed with foodies in mind. All are currently available online, so why not take advantage of honing your skills while you’re bunkered down at home? Find out more about Le Cordon Bleu here.