Food photography is the still life type of photography used in the creation of attractive still life photographs of food. Still life photography is a genre of photography used to show an inanimate subject matter, in typical sense, a small collection of objects. It is the application to still life artistic style or photography. It is a modification to commercial photography and the results of which are used in other documentations such as magazines, advertisements, packaging, menus or cookbooks.
Professional photography is not a one-man activity but employs a team of people including a director, a photographer, a prop, a food stylist and assistants. In advertising, the photographs of food may be used in exaggeration to boost the attractiveness or amount of food being advertised. One example of this is fast foods.
The process doesn’t just start where the food is prepared and served but actually begins with the purchase of food and ingredients. Only the very best looking food ingredients are used and at time,s replacements and backups for the food are required. The purchase of this food is a very involving and time consuming exercise. The actual photography takes place in a studio with controlled lighting or under natural light.
For the longest time, photographs of food were often shot and depicted in the way in which consumers were used to encountering their food. The food was set up on a table and shot from an overhead angle so they could get the eaters point of view. Stylists were responsible for arranging the food to appear tantalizing to the eye from above with different items arranged flat e.g. on a plate and neatly separated from each other.
These were the previously used techniques. As time went on, more detail came into play such as romantic lighting that gave the food photos a very attractive and mouth-watering look, shallower angles and more props. This soon led to the term “food porn,” which is a term widely used these days for food photos.
The most widely used trend when it comes to commercial food photography is the presentation of food with a show of simplicity, cleanliness and as much naturalness as possible. Little or no additional props are used and photographers use effects like selective focus, take extreme close-ups and use tilted plates to make the food visually appealing. An instance of this is where the components of a particular dish are often layered and its height gives the food itself well to a narrower angle of shots.
A food stylist is to make sure the food looks realistic and appetizing in the finished photograph. The amount of effort and time that a food stylist puts into carefully and artfully arranging the food is the main difference in the appearance of food that is prepared by a food stylist versus a home cook.
The process doesn’t just start where the food is ready prepared and served but begins with the purchase of food and ingredients. Only the very best looking food stuffs are acceptable and at times replacements and backups for the food are required. The purchase of this food is as such a very involving and time consuming exercise. The actual photography takes place in a studio with controlled lighting or under natural light.