Fresh Ingredients: The recipes I photograph are typically pretty simple, but the main element in all my food photos is fresh…straight from the garden, farmers market, or best grocer. This applies to flowers too if I include them in the food shoots. Fresh foods and flowers have the best colors and are just the most appealing, which is usually the whole point of food photos.
Color Palette: It’s best to stick to one basic color palette, using just a few colors that complement each other. Think about the background and foreground as well, using a scene that goes with the colors of the food. For example, I use a rustic dark wood background for the ice tea below, you can see it’s an outdoor backyard type scene. The backyard roses add just a little pop and contribute to the setting, but match the gold in the lemons and tea, and accent with red and pink.
Lighting: Always use the best light for food photos. When indoors, I use window light enhanced with reflectors and outside I like open shade or soft evening light. Use the lighting to enhance the mood or emotion of the photo. For example, when styling a summer salad, you may want a bright, light colored scene. But for a chili or soup, maybe you want a lower light and dark colored setting, see my previous blog post on creating moody style food photography.
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