Picture perfect: How to take fabulous foodie shots
4th April 2019
At Dad’s Table is a foodie blog and Instagram account run by Tunbridge Wells new dad and food fanatic Adam Shaw. His social media success is down in some part to the striking photographs he takes to accompany his posts. Here he lifts the lid on how to take fabulous food shots
I spend all day thinking about food. Whether it’s what I’m going to eat, how I’m going to make it or how it looks on a plate, not a second goes by when I’m not planning a dish in my head.
However, as we all know these days a plate of food can be the tastiest dish around but if it doesn’t look good, you may as well not have made it. Here are my top tips for taking great food photos.
TRICK OF THE LIGHT: Natural light is your friend. Your plate of food will always look 1,000 times better when photographed in natural light. Winter light is harsh so make sure you get enough of your pictures taken during the spring and summer months when it’s still light in the evening.
STAY CONSISTENT: Keep a theme going. All of my photos are taken on my kitchen table, hence the name ‘At Dad’s Table’. I may play around with plates, angles, number of dishes etc, but the constant of my table is always in shot. This helps to establish your brand.
VISUAL APPEAL: Think about contrasting vibrant colours in your dish, as this will help to draw the viewer in. Also odd numbers work better than even. If the centre piece of your dish is a large piece of meat or fish, cut it up into three or five pieces. Odd numbers are more noticeable to the brain as they stand out more. A chef at Leiths Cookery School taught me that.
COLOUR POP: Focus on the extra 5 per cent you can add to your dish to improve not only the taste but its appearance. Is it some beautifully rich green herbs scattered over the top of the food or a deep sauce that brings together all of the different elements on a plate? Perhaps it’s flashes of colourful red pepper or pomegranate hiding in some rice or a golden shine from a beautifully browned piece of meat? Whatever you choose, it helps draw your viewer in.
IT’S ALL IN THE DETAIL: Be creative with how you serve. You probably already have some great pieces hiding away in cupboards so get them out to plate up. Whether its stylish matching teacups for soup or some funky retro plates to inject some background colour, be creative. And if you really don’t have anything yourself then head down to your nearest charity shop and pick up some bargains.
BE INSPIRED: Soak up what’s around you. Tunbridge Wells is a hotbed of wonderful restaurants and cafés serving beautiful food in creative ways. My personal favourite places to get inspiration from are The Beacon, Juliet’s, Thackerays, Bill’s and The Kentish Hare. So next time you’re out and about see what resonates with you visually and try to emulate this the next time you want to take pictures or post.
TOP TIP: The best food picture not only draws you in but makes your stomach growl. If your picture doesn’t make you want to eat your phone, then it’s not good enough. Try again.
About At Dad’s Table
I’m a Tunbridge Wells-based, Leiths-trained chef on a mission to overhaul the way we see food and nutrition during pregnancy, early parenthood and family life. For recipes find me on Instagram under At_Dads_Table