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The secret to food photography – it’s not just about the food, it’s about storytelling

Snapping a photo of your food, how hard can it be? An hour later and you’re sweating, your neck is becoming stiff and your lower back is aching. Furthermore, that delicious cake that you thought looked amazing looks like shit on each and every photo. You’re asking yourself what you’re doing wrong and why every photo looks worse than the one before. And you’re used to take epic photos of nature, of people, maybe you’ve even managed to successfully shoot a wedding. So how is it possible that this suddenly seems like the most complicated task inte the world. What the h*ll is going on??!

There are several areas that are easy to overlook when you’re new at food photography. Some major ones in my opinion and experience are; the art of storytelling – how you work with composition & styling elements. Focus – food photography needs too be super sharp, or else it will not look as good as it could be further more few clients will accept photos where the focus isn’t on point and razor sharp. And finally angles – you can’t just shoot food in whatever angle and composition you feel like. There needs to be a purpose and a functionality to the angle you choose.

It’s basically all about storytelling. If your story isn’t consistent in all aspects and details, the photos aren’t going to come out looking good. Some questions to ask yourself to become a better food photographer are;

  1. Why are you placing the food and surrounding styling elements the way you do? What story are you telling and does it makes sense?
  2. How are the textures and shapes of the styling props adding to your story. Food photography isn’t about the food, it’s about telling a story. 
  3. How’s your focus? What angle and what field of depth are you combining and how does that affect your storytelling? If your focus isn’t on point shooting handheld, you need to learn how to use a tripod. 

Of course, the questions above are simplified and there are much more too it than just answering a few simple questions. The good thing though is, that there are a methodology to both styling and shooting food, a methodology that makes the process easier and the result better. And that is what I teach in my workshops and one-to-one courses as well in my up and coming online courses. My aim is to help you go from food photography trauma, to food photography triumph! If you’re curious to know more, you can click here, mail me at hello(at)northernheart.se or use the contact form here