For National Donut Day, the BPW wants to share some tips and tricks to help you grow your skills, elevate your photos, and get you ready for the next step in your food photography journey. To do that, we’ve invited BPW student and avid food photographer and blogger Amanda Reiter to guest blog for us this week! Take it away, Amanda...
Let there be light
Light is the key to any good photo; if you don’t start with good light, your photo will suffer. When shooting food in natural light, I ask myself these questions before I get started.
1. Where is the best light in my house? What time of day is the best?
My bedroom is best for natural light.
2. What direction do I want the light to be coming from? Is this backlit or side lit?
3. Do I want the light to be soft or hard?
Soft light: These images were made using a diffuser.
Hard light: These were made without a diffuser. You can tell because of the very defined shadows along the edges of the plates and donuts.
Bonus tip: Don’t have a diffuser? Tape some white parchment paper on your window to filter the light.
Steal like an artist
Food photography is everywhere and it’s perfectly acceptable to be inspired by another person’s work. This doesn’t mean copy their image—but it does mean do your homework.
Look at magazines, TV shows, or Pinterest for ideas. You can even look outside of food photography; I enjoy still life paintings for inspiration. Have fun with it and make it your own.
Once I have some ideas in mind, I like to sketch out my compositions to help me visualize. And I can get all the bad ideas out of my head too, instead of doing it while the ice cream melts :(
Less is more
You don’t need a lot of “stuff” in your photos. The only items in your photo outside of the food should only be there if it’s adding to your story or complementing the food. Check out your local Goodwill and be creative with what you already have. I always say, “One person’s trash is another photographer’s food prop.”
Bonus tip: Try to incorporate your ingredients as your props. It gives texture and color and helps to tell the story.
I’m not going to get into the specifics of Lightroom as BPW offers a class on that. I just want you to see the difference with one of my photos out of camera, and then after doing some editing. If you’re not editing yet, get to it!