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It doesn’t take much scrolling on Instagram to see mouthwatering food photos with hashtags like #foodie or #goodeats. Food is the most photographed subject on the app, according to Social Media Today. In Edmonton, #yegfood has been used well over 300,000 times.
Appreciation for food photos on social media is growing and no one understands or appreciates this trend quite like Abraham Wornovitzky (Culinary Arts ‘04), who specializes in creating drool-worthy shots.
As one of the owners of EyeCandyTO, he works as an image consultant for the culinary industry. His life revolves around stunning dishes and making them come alive through equally stunning photography.
Various studies have explored the psychology of snapping photos of a food before eating. For some people, it’s a matter of staying accountable with particular eating habits, like eating more fruit or having a salad everyday. For others, it’s simply to show off a delightful dish, whether homemade or in a restaurant. Some research suggests photographing your food before eating it can actually make the meal taste better.
Regardless of why you choose to take food photos, Wornovitzky has some advice to help you achieve the perfect snap.
A pretty plate
“The plate is your canvas,” says Wornovitzky. If the food doesn’t look good, your photo won’t either.
If you’re preparing a meal yourself, he recommends using fresh, colourful ingredients, and to find balance when you plate everything. Try to leave space or use objects like utensils or a napkin to frame the dish.
“Think about where the eye is going to go when you’re plating the food,” he says. “It’s fine if you have garnishes and sauces, but make sure they don’t compete with the main item.”
Light is everything, Wornovitzky says. If you’re snapping photos for social media or starting out as a food blogger, you might not have lighting equipment to cart around with you.
If that’s the case, “you need to be close to a natural source of light,” he says. “Never use the flash on your phone for food photography. The flash is just one source of light, and if there’s nothing bouncing [the light], the food will look flat.”
Consider the angles
Look at the dish from various viewpoints and consider how the food should be portrayed, Wornovitzky says. For example, if you’re trying to show the height on a layered cake, don’t shoot it from the top. Take the photo from the side to illustrate how tall the dessert is.
“What makes a photo appetizing are those little bits that you can almost taste with your eyes,” he says. “The crispy edge on the bread, the oozing cheese out of the sandwich, or the juiciness of the sauce.” Those shots can be achieved by snapping at different perspectives.
Easy on the filters
After you snap the photo, you may need to tweak it. There are so many editing options, it can be easy to overdo it. One edit you should make is with colour temperature, says Wornovitzky.
“Food that is warm should have warmer colours, and foods that are cold should have cooler tones,” he says. “If you’re photographing ice cream, if you add a blue tone through a filter, it could look really good. But if you add a cool hue to a roast, it won’t look so appetizing.”
Bright, bold colours are great for food photography, he says. Boosting colour saturation can help with that, but add too much and you’ll make the food look fake. Follow the rule of less is more, and you’re bound to get stomachs rumbling with your food photos.
Snapping photos in restaurants
If you’re pulling out your phone while dining out, be mindful of others’ dining experience.
“Don’t annoy the people around you,” Wornovitzky says. Make it quick, if you can. There’s no need to take 25 photos of one dish while others are waiting to dig in.
“You can read other people’s faces,” he says. If they’re not feeling the impromptu photo shoot, put your device down. Take a mental picture instead and enjoy your food.