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Food photography isn't just for people who want to show off their home cooking on social media. In fact, it is a crucial part of the business for those who sell food. Restaurants, grocery stores, take-out establishments, and more rely on delicious-looking pictures to get their customers' mouths watering – and make sales.
Restaurant food photography can be done by professionals, or it can be done by owners and staff to try to save some money. The easiest way, of course, is to hire someone who is already in the business of providing food photography packages. This is not only because the pros already have the skills, but because they also have the hardware needed to produce the best images.
The first thing most people think of is the need for food photography backdrops. A backdrop ensures that there will be nothing in the picture to distract from the main subject. It also should be chosen to provide good contrast with the food being photographed, so the dish really stands out on the screen or on paper.
Next, food photography lighting must be considered. It is rare that the normal lighting in an area is good enough. Therefore, photographers put up special light sets which direct illumination toward the subject. The size and brightness of the lighting rig are selected based on factors like the size of the field to be lit, what is being lit, and the camera being used. Cost is another factor.
The cost of lighting is highly variable. It's possible to get light rings that are meant to work with phones for under $20, and it is also possible to get giant light sets for several thousand dollars! A home-based food business will likely find that the best LED light for food photography starts at around $100, but investing another couple of hundred can bring in some great options that will be found very useful.
One option that is essential for food photography lighting is the ability to change the warmth of the light. Getting it wrong can make food photos look gray, washed-out, or even greenish. A light with adjustable warmth prevents this problem.
If you decide to hire a food photographer instead of mastering all of this yourself, the first thing to remember is that they aren't all the same. Be sure to get details about packaging, editing, and everything else included in the costs when asking about food photography pricing.
In many cases, you won't need to hire a photographer as a full-time employee. Instead, it can be better to create and set up a large number of dishes for a photo shoot, and then have someone come in and take pictures all in one day. However, if you run a restaurant or other establishment that generates new dishes on a constant basis, it can make sense to put a photographer on staff. A food photographer salary ranges, but on a per day basis, may be less than what you'd pay to bring one in for a single day.
For many home-based food businesses and even small restaurants, the cost of photography training, an expensive camera, and the right lens is prohibitive. Using a good cell phone camera eliminates this extreme expense, and in the right conditions, can produce food pictures that look just as good as those made with the expensive equipment.
One of the reasons this is possible is that modern phone cameras are actually quite good. This isn't the only important factor, though. The other key ingredient is the ability to control the conditions in which the pictures are taken. Unlike live, moving subjects, food can easily be placed under perfect lighting and in front of a perfect backdrop.
It is possible to see many great food pictures on Instagram and similar sites, and almost all (if not all) of them are taken on phones. However, if you pick up your phone and snap a shot, you might find that your images don't look nearly as good. What can you do to improve your results?
There are several food photography tips iPhone users should follow. One is to learn the best light for iPhone food photography and to read all about how to take good food photos with phone. If you have a different brand, be sure to look for tips that are specific to it, such as by searching for food photography with Android phone or food photography with Samsung phone.
Despite the abundance of phone-specific tip sheets, some being as specific as stating they're about iPhone 11 food photography, you'll find that many of the key factors are the same regardless of brand or model. For example, you should always mount your phone on a tripod to take pictures of still subjects like food. Even the best image stabilization program won't work as well as ensuring that the phone is physically immobile. It's also important to find the right distance for taking pictures with your specific camera. Finding this by taking some test shots will often be faster and easier than searching up 20 sites, all of which are likely to have different opinions.
That said, some things will vary by phone maker. You will likely find that you'll need different iPhone food photography equipment than you would for Android. Sometimes, this is caused by compatibility issues. In other cases, you'll need to adjust the warmth of the light because of differences in how the camera perceives this factor.
Once you've seen some food photography tips for mobile phone, the best thing to do is start practicing. Soon, you will have no trouble figuring out how to do it.
There are many food photography tips you should keep in mind in order to get the best results. Some of these you might expect, such as to make sure that the staging area is well-lit and has a plain, clean backdrop behind and under the dish. Others fit into the category of food photography hacks, and may surprise you.
One of the most important factors for any photography is the lighting. It can be as simple as pointing a couple of small portable spotlights at the food, or complex enough to require a food photography lighting setup pdf to really master. Many swear by using a softbox for food photography. This is a type of light that spreads bright, but diffused, light over the subject. Your best bet is to try a few variations to see what works best for your dishes. You can find many options for food photography lighting on Amazon or from online photo shops.
An unexpected example of food photography tricks is to spray your sample food down with glossy polyurethane. This makes it look wet, so it's only good for foods that are supposed to be visibly moist. Use this hack for things like eggs, puddings, vegetables, the cheese on a cheeseburger, and the like.
When it comes to choosing your backdrop, be sure to pick one that doesn't have an eye-catching pattern or overly-bright colors. It also needs to have a matte finish, so it doesn't reflect bright spots from your professional or DIY food photography lighting. Black, white, and subdued gingham are all popular choices.
Even though all camera phones come with included apps for running their cameras, it can be a good idea to install a different one. That's because the standard phone apps often don't produce the best results.
Thanks to the popularity of food photography on social media sites, there is plenty of demand for food photography apps Android as well as ones for iOS. Fortunately, many developers have risen to meet this demand.
According to Butterpolish, there are several options which qualify as the best apps for food photography 2020 and 2021. The Foodie app tops their list thanks to its many free filters. If you've seen food pictures on social media, you have likely seen a Foodie app filter in action. The app works on both Android and iOS. Next is Snapseed. It even has a filter that erases food stains from the background (though with a good backdrop, this shouldn't be needed). Number Three is Adobe Lightroom, which comes with a step-by-step guide for getting professional results. Adobe products tend to be very powerful, but also fairly complicated. Butterpolish mentions several other apps, as well.
Many of these are thought of as the best apps for food bloggers, but they should also be great for creating food pictures for listings on delivery apps or to be shown on online restaurant menus.
If you prefer guided education over the "mess around until you get it" method, there are several options available. While experimentation is still a good idea in photography, taking a food photography course will speed you through the beginner's stages so you can produce acceptable pictures quickly. Then, any experimentation you do will be to refine your skills, rather than initially build them.
There are many options for learning photography in person, though most of them aren't focused specifically on food. Community colleges, night classes offered by public school districts, and similar options are most commonly found. However, you may find that this changes depending on where you live. For instance, you can look for a food photography course Dubai or a food photography course Egypt.
For many, taking classes via an online service is a better bet. This is because it eliminates the need to find options near you, and opens up ones that are actually based far away. Not only that, online teaching services often serve narrower niches than physical educational facilities. For example, if you look up food photography Coursera, you will find a wide variety of related offerings, including a food photography with phone course. Even better, you don't have to use a PC to partake. The ability to sign up for a mobile food photography course, or any mobile course, makes learning this way as convenient as it can get.
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