1. Take photos using natural daylight
Try to always shoot your food pictures in natural daylight rather than under artificial lighting. Unless you're doing studio photography, artificial light from a lamp can make the food look orange and unappetising.
2. Get creative and try a variety of camera angles
Show off your food in a different way than most people would see it. Things to try out include shooting directly overhead, tilted at a 45-degree angle, and from the side. Move around your plate and take a variety of angles so you can pick out your favourite later.
3. Use a neutral background to ensure the food remains the star
Backgrounds that are too messy or colourful may distract the viewer from the food. Neutral backgrounds ensure the dish remains the star of the shot. There are three main types of background that enhance food really well, light backgrounds, dark backgrounds, and (brown) wooden backgrounds.
4. Make use of a few props to tell a story
Take a little extra time to add props to your pictures to tell a story. Choose props that are low-key and not distracting so that the food remains the centre focus. Simple props to introduce include napkins, cutlery, and raw ingredients of the dish.
5. Crop the plate to mix things up
6. Introduce a human element
Adding a hand holding a plate or the food itself allows you to show scale and adds a personal touch to your image. This can make the food look more appealing and real to your viewers as they can imagine themselves eating it.
7. Use the restaurant's interior design elements as a backdrop
If you're in a cute restaurant, make use of their interior design. Create an instant backdrop with unique wallpaper, neon art installations, brick walls, and so forth. Or if you're at a food truck or pop-up stall, use the street as your backdrop to tell a story.
8. Keep your photos sharp and in focus
Blurry photos are caused by camera shake. There are different ways to solve this. You can use a tripod to ensure your camera stays completely still when shooting, or use a faster shutter speed with a larger aperture, or raise your ISO to decrease the amount of light needed.
9. Play around with vertical shots
It's more comfortable to shoot photos in a horizontal format, which is why it's great to break out of the mold and try shooting vertically once in a while. It gives you a nice depth from foreground to background, and having a good mix of horizontal and vertical photos adds variety to your portfolio, blog, and social media feeds.
10. Never use your flash on food
On-camera flash tends to look terrible on food. You'll end up with weird highlights on any area that has moisture, which makes your food look greasy. Opt for soft, natural light instead.