We are very visual beings and tend to eat first with our eyes, and commercial food photography takes advantage of this to entice the appetite and prompt more sales for their clients. However, there is art behind each photo.
The Unique Challenges of Commercial Food Photography
Food photography, in general, requires a keen eye for detail and a creative knack for problem-solving. This is because food photography comes with its own set of unique challenges, including:
- Limited time – food doesn’t stay fresh for long.
- Unphotogenic foods – coffee, for example, is naturally oily and doesn’t photograph well.
- Brand image – photos much match the company’s brand image.
The First Rule of Food Photography
The most important thing that each photo absolutely must do is keep the food the main subject. The goal behind food photography, particularly for commercial use, is to draw the eye and make people want to eat that item. To do this, professional food photographers use their knowledge and experience to craft the best, mouthwatering, photo they can.
Using Light and Shadows
Lighting or lack thereof plays a huge role in the overall picture. Photographers can use light to draw the attention to the main dish, highlight the food’s most tempting features, and invoking emotion in the viewer. Lighting is also used to create or soften the angles and lines in the picture.
The Role of Angles and Lines
As with lighting, the angles in each photo can either make the viewer’s long for a taste or turn them away. Angles create drama in the photo, pulling the eye this way or that way along the curves of the subject, to settle on the main point of interest. Knowing how to use these lines to your advantage takes practice and an eye for details.
Tricks of the Trade
One of the hardest parts of commercial food photography is getting the food to look its best on camera. To do this, photographers often used tools and materials that are less than appealing but produce mouthwatering results. Food coloring may be painted onto the items, for example, or cotton balls may be soaked in hot water to simulate steam.