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How to prepare and make a success of your culinary shooting

Published on December 27 2021 - 5 minutes reading

Food photography is an art in itself. It requires patience, imagination and a perfect mastery of light and cameras. Moreover, it is generally considered that food photography is one of the most difficult photographic styles to master.

Well beyond immortalizing a dish, a dessert or an appetizer, food photography is an invitation to travel and must make you want to taste the dish. Your culinary photographer has to follow many parameters so that the shot is successful.

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Determine the place of the shooting

The first step for the organization and the realization of a culinary photo shooting is to determine the place where it will be held.

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Whether the photo shoot takes place in the kitchen, at the counter of a bistro or on the terrace of a restaurant, many parameters will result from this choice. Whether you do the photos yourself, or whether you call upon a culinary photographer to immortalize your dishes, the place will influence the techniques to be implemented and the material to be used for the realization of the photo shooting.

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Thus, when this place is determined with precision, you should not hesitate to observe the "scene" from all angles and at all times. This will allow you to appreciate the time when the illumination is the best, or, if the photo shoot takes place outside, the time when you will be the most quiet (without passers-by).

Choose your dishes with care

Do not hesitate to determine in advance the dish you wish to immortalize and keep in mind the delicate nature of the food. And for good reason: a food photo shoot can take time. Between the moment the dish comes out of the kitchen and the moment the photographer immortalizes it, a certain amount of time may pass, time that will have a negative influence on the appearance of the dish.

In the same way, it is advisable to choose a dish to photograph with volume. A dish without volume can turn out to be dull during the culinary photo session.

So put all your chances on your side by preparing the dish at the last minute so that all the textures are revealed when the food photographer immortalizes it.

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The art of composition: the staging of the subject

Culinary photography is not limited to taking pictures of a dish, a restaurant or a brigade. Above all, culinary photography tells a story and seeks to convey emotions. It is essential, when organizing a culinary shooting, to think and reflect on the staging of the subject.

For example, if the food photographer wants to show the intensity and dynamism of the team working in the restaurant, he will try to immortalize them at a time when all members are focused on their task.

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In the same way, photos of the restaurant "still life" style will highlight the quietness and calm atmosphere that emerges from the restaurant room. This staging, this composition is essential to effectively transmit an emotion.

In the case of a photo of a dish, the composition of this one will also have to tell a story: the photo will have to transmit the story of the dish, but also its composition, its emotions, etc. The goal will be to make the customer want to taste it... in the same way that the photos of a restaurant must invite the customer to move there.

Natural or artificial light?

It is essential to foresee whether or not you will need artificial light during the culinary photo shoot. Normally, a professional food photographer is able to guide you on this choice.

Nevertheless, it should be said that culinary photography generally favors natural light. This one will allow to emphasize better the various colors and the various textures of your dishes. In the same way, during the photography of a restaurant, the natural light is warmer, and thus more human, than an artificial light.

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So, if you practice food photography indoors, do not hesitate to get closer to the window or a light source. If this is not possible, the culinary photographer will be able to provide his "culinary box" to properly distribute the light within the dish.

So, think about organizing your photo shoot on a sunny day, rather in the morning or early afternoon.

Play with colors

Food photography allows you to play with colors, contrasts, shadows and lights. This is what we call "culinary styling". The result is usually stunning. No reason to do without it.

Don't hesitate to imagine atypical color combinations to enhance your restaurant or your dish during a culinary photo session. For that, you can play on the complementarity of colors which allows to have dynamic results.

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Conversely, a well-mastered monochrome allows to have amazing results. The chiaroscuro and the contrasts thus released will allow to sublimate at the same time your food, your technique and the professionalism of your restaurant.

It goes without saying that this step should be done before the culinary shooting in order to have, on the D-day, all these ideas in mind.

Thus, a few floors are enough to organize a culinary photo shoot with a professional culinary photographer. To find a professional food photographer in your area who will allow you to immortalize your dishes, your restaurant and your brigade, there is nothing like using Utopix, a platform that lists the best freelance photographers near you.

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Maxime Arcari

CEO & Cofounder @ Utopix

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