#1. Guest Post – Season One- Namitha Manoj – Food Styling and Composition
As promised, here I am with a splendid series of guest posts on “Food Photography and Styling“. Season 1 of this series is all about basics, tips and techniques of food photography and styling. Take your food photography to next level by following this series completely. Sometimes during blog hopping we land into a blog and get mesmerized by not only recipes but photography too. Food photography is not just a topic that you discuss out in a single post. There are many aspects of this concept and I tried my very best to cover many of them through this photography series.
Guest Post Author – Namitha Manoj
To start with we have Namitha Manoj, co-author of Collaborative Curry. Despite being busy on personal front , Namitha graciously accepted my request and sent me this wonderful post. Namitha, through her blog takes us on a virtual treat of yum delicacies. Her pictures are so perfect and tempting that we often feel like grabbing them right from the screen. As there are many aspects in food photography, Namitha choose to deal with Food Styling and Composition. I must say Namitha has done a fabulous job in making this post. Scroll down to see what she has to say about food styling and composition.
I would like to thank Lubna for giving me this wonderful opportunity to write my first guest post! I was surprised and flattered when she asked me if I could write about styling and composition in food photography. Few days back, I was thinking to write about it some day on my blog, but since Lubna’s request came before that, I decided to write one here. I will talk about styling and composition in food photography, the way I understand it. I am in no way an expert, this is just a humble effort to share what I know. You may differ about some of the points I will make and I encourage you to write and let me know about them. If you agree, I am not averse to compliments either.
The topic of food photography is vast and beyond the scope of one single blog post. Therefore here is just a snippet of what I have learned over time. Hope it will be helpful to you.
Food Styling – How to style food for photography
Less is more that’s my motto when it comes to food styling. I try to avoid any crowding in my pictures. When tempted to use several things at the same time as props, I step back and look hard to delete or add props until I am sure the props do not overpower the food. This can be mostly achieved if we use props related to what you have cooked, like raw ingredients sprinkled around or focusing only on a pretty garnish.
IMAGE SOURCE: Peter Reinhart’s Buttermilk White Bread
Color Composition in Photography
The color composition is also important. When choosing props, if we keep the color to contrast the food, or sometime match it, the overall appearance is more appealing. If you are a beginner, I would recommend taking a lot of pictures with various napkins, flowers or any other prop you choose to use, until the photograph is pleasing to your eyes.
IMAGE SOURCE: Kurukku Kalan
Capturing the texture in Food Photography
Talking about serve ware, which plays a major part in food photography, I prefer white. It is a personal choice and no golden rule of thumb. You may use different color server ware and still render amazing photographs. But in my experience, starting with white as a canvas is helpful. It gives us time to learn how to use colored napkins, flowers or any other prop you may use to your advantage to make pretty photographs.
Capturing the texture of the food itself can be an amazing way to showcase your food to make people go, wow! For example if I say moist chocolate cake, then I should be able to make you believe by focusing and showing it in the photograph. A close-up with out the nuances of props can be delightful to achieve this end.
IMAGE SOURCE: Moist Chocolate Cake
Creative Food Photography Composition:
Composition is the placement of elements that make a photograph. Basically, how you frame your photograph. In food photography, food is obviously the main focus – and everything around it is to enhance, or draw the eyes of the viewer to the food. The way each photographer chooses to do this depends on his own perspective. But since there are rules laid down by artists and photographers over time, I will talk about some of the general rules that I picked up along the way. Today, when I look back on the pictures I took earlier, I wish I could click them again. Therefore, it is good to know some basic rules.
Another rule will be the rule of lines. Make horizontal, vertical or diagonal lines with the elements to draw the eyes in. It can be just the prop arrangement or the lines on a table or a table cloth that you use. Though this is not a food picture, I thought I can explain the lines in a photo easily using this picture. Note the triangles made of flowers and the vertical lines on the table and diagonally placed utensil. These are some examples to show how to incorporate this rule.
IMAGE SOURCE: Happy Vishu
Making geometrical patterns and shapes in your picture also gives visual appeal to a photograph. For example, in this picture of lassie, note the triangle forming achieved by the placement of the glasses.
IMAGE SOURCE: Strawberry Lassi
I use my viewfinder as my canvas and crop the picture to my liking before taking the shot. But you can always crop in post production. If you see that some part should be removed to render a better composed picture, go ahead, do it!
Thank you Namitha for accepting my request and making a perfect post. Hop down to Namitha’s Collaborative Curry to gratify your senses. This is just an beginning…..more on food photography in coming days. Comments and suggestions are most welcome…..
If you have missed any of the entry under this series, then you can check by clicking on Food Photography and Styling (Season 1).