5 tips for taking spectacular foodie photographs

Photographer Mike English reveals a few of his secrets to getting the perfect picture

Festive season is not truly festive season without an influx of foodie photographs on all of our favourite social media channels. People across the world take to the Insta-stage to reveal their holiday feasts and sometimes, cooking faux pas. To make sure your shots are a cut above the rest, we asked Mike English – the master behind our New Year’s desert camping feature in the December issue – for handy ways to make sure you capture a cracking snap:

  1. Understand what makes your subject unique. Is it its colour, texture or how the light falls on it? Focus your shot on that unique detail.
  2. Never light food from the front. It makes the food look 2D and flat. Light it from the left or back. If the shadows are too harsh, use a white card to reflect light back to the subject – experiment with different distances to spread and soften the light when further away or concentrate the light when close.
  3. Use cutlery or a pan handle to lead the eye towards the food.
  4. Add a human element to the shot – a hand, scoop out of the dish, the model’s shoulder, a dish on a lap – this makes it more relatable to the consumer.
  5. Composition: At university I studied landscape photography for 3 years learning about the rule of thirds. Now when I set up a shot, I imagine the background is the sky, the bowl or plate is the mountain and the spoon or fork is the river. That's what works for me. Funny how old techniques are still the best.

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