Food photography is a still life photography genre used to create attractive still life photographs of food. It is a specialization of commercial photography, the products of which are used in advertisements, magazines, packaging, menus food styling for photographers pdf cookbooks. Professional food photography is a collaborative effort, usually involving an art director, a photographer, a food stylist, a prop stylist and their assistants.
For a long time, food photographs tended to be shot and composed in a manner similar to the way people were used to encountering their food: laid out on a table setting and shot from an overhead perspective, i. Stylists accordingly arranged the food to appear good from above, with the items arranged flat on the plate and clearly separated from each other. A still life photograph of a Chinese dish using the technique of selective focus. Later, romantic lighting, shallower angles and more props came en vogue, with extreme cases leading to the term “food porn”.
Most recently, the prevailing trend in Western commercial food photography is to present the food as simple, clean and naturally as possible and with little props, often using effects such as selective focus, tilted plates, and extreme close-ups. This complements trends in professional cooking to make the food more visually interesting. For instance, the height of dishes tends to increase and their elements are often layered, which lends itself well to narrow-angled shots.
The role of the food stylist is to make the food look attractive in the finished photograph. The time and effort a stylist takes to carefully and artfully arrange the food, is the cause of differences between the way the stylist presents it and the way a home cook or chef may. Visual know-how is also a requirement, as is the knowledge of how to translate the perception of taste, aroma and appeal that one gets from an actual dish, to a two-dimensional photograph.
In addition to knowledge of nutrition and cooking techniques, food stylists must also be resourceful shoppers. As creative professionals they envision the finished photograph and style the food accordingly. Often, to highlight the product, only a piece of it it’s focused. The process of food photography begins with the purchase of the food and ingredients.
Only the most visually perfect foodstuffs are acceptable and multiple backup or test items are usually needed. As a result, purchase of the food and ingredients is a very time-consuming process. The best-looking of the purchased items is selected and marked as the “hero”, i.
During the setup and for test shoots, it is represented by a cardboard stand-in. The actual photography can take place in a studio under controlled lighting conditions, or under natural light.