Four new fave simple food/close-up photography tips

Aaah, food photography - it can be so amazing when done well, but it's so hard to do on your own! At least, it's a fun challenge when I try and capturing the perfect shot often eludes me. So I was excited to get to listen to the food/close-up photography break-out group at the recent Portland Bloggers specialized photography workshop!

The event was taught by three local photographers (Margaret Jacobsen Photography, Linnea Paulina Photography, and Aubrie LeGault Photography) and was hosted by Favery and Elli, local co-companies with a great space in the Pearl District and great stuff to share with bloggers for photography!

We broke out into groups for 1) close-up/food photography, and 2) fashion/style/portrait photography (outside), then came back in for a panel with general blog photography questions. There was SO much great information passed around,. but I took a few notes of highlights to share with you!

I attended the food/close-up workshop taught by Linnea and Aubrie. They both have done some amaaaaazing styled work, seriously - so grateful to hear their wisdom!!

And here you have 4 of my biggest take-aways from the workshop: 4 of my favorite simple food/close-up photography tips! About styling, lighting, composition, and capturing the shot!


Styling

  • Make your own backdrops with $1 foam boards and any fabric or paper you like. You can easily change them out if you get tired of them, or use the same ones for your common photo subjects or Instagram photos for a consistent look.
  • Secure them to a chair or something nearby with clamps! (Why have I never thought of that before?)


Lighting

  • Reflectors are great, but you can also use the $1 foam boards to bounce light off!
  • Use reflectors/foam boards to hide glare, add light, and remove shadow. (Note that they also remove dimension with the shadow, so that may not always be the look you're going for.)
  • Silver or gold reflectors amplify a white reflector/board - add aluminum foil to your homemade board one one side to give yourself the option. Gold shine instead of silver adds warmth to your shots.

Composition/Setting Up the Shot

  • Think about the rule of thirds and negative space when setting up the shot. It doesn't need to be too busy - the negative space will really emphasize the subject.
  • Add life and a dynamic element to your photo with intentional props that go with the food. For example, don't show ingredients that aren't in the recipe you're capturing. And, remember that food is usually eaten with utensils or napkins, so put some of these logical companions in the shot. 
  • Don't over-prop, though, and take the focus away from the subject.

Capturing the Shot

  • Play with depth of field and use different depths in frame. Don't line it all up in a straight line, the same way you wouldn't stand flat against a wall for a lively portrait.
  • Also add life and interest to the shot by changing it up mid-shoot. Food is imperfect, so elements like crumbs are realistic and dynamic. (Half-eaten food looks appealing!)

After the presentation, everyone got a chance to play around with the props. Here's a behind-the-scenes of shots like these being captured!

Elli styled the lovely table for us. Amazing what a little perspective, lighting, and styling can do for the setup, right?! Aubrie's photos above are inspiring!

Here's to trying out some of these tips soon! I'm sure there will be more tips from the workshop on the Portland Bloggers blog soon, too!

Close-ups by Aubrie LeGault Photography.

9 comments

  1. your photos look great! the workshop was a lot of fun :)

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  2. I love it when food shots include nibbled foods. It makes me think that the photographer couldn't resist and took a snack mid-shoot! :)

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  3. Great shots, lady! That was such a fun workshop! I'm excited to get back in the photography swing of things :)

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  4. What a great recap of some of the tips- I'm planning on looking for foam boards and clamps this weekend to start practicing! Another great PDX Bloggers events!

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  5. Thank you so much for sharing these tips, I was so sad to miss this workshop!

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  6. I love seeing what the other group got to work on. Great tips and shots!

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  7. Gorgeous photos (love Aubrie's too). Thanks so much for having me!

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