Whether you like the decorating and the tree, the presents, ugly festive jumpers, or mulled wine at the Christmas markets, the food and drink have to be one of the most important parts of the season.
For photographers, the Christmas spread is fantastic camera fodder. Whether you’ve got a new you want to put through its paces, or want to capture the time and effort it took to make and serve your festive food.
So let’s take a look at how to photograph food this Christmas and answer some of the questions that photographers ask.
1. What lighting for food photography?
Natural light is always best for photographic food, but light levels can be lacking at this time of year, so you might have to set up near a window. Use side or backlighting to best bring out the texture of the food.
If you need extra light, then try using common household lamps. Using flash should be avoided as it results in harsh lighting, heavy shadows, and uninspiring photos.
2. Do you need a tripod to photograph food?
With light levels low, a tripod makes good sense. It will allow you to use your camera at lower ISO levels and longer shutter speeds for better image quality.
3. Which white balance for food photography?
With natural light, household lights, fairy lights and candles, your white balance needs careful thought. While your camera may have presets that will do the job, often a custom or manual white balance setting is better.
You should set the white balance for the main focus of the scene by positioning a white piece of card or a photographic grey card in the same light as the subject, and then setting the manual or custom white balance.
4. Which lens for food photography?
A macro lens is the best choice for food photography, as t will allow you to get close to the subject. However, a wide-angle lens will let you capture the whole scene and table setting.
5. How to photograph food at Christmas
Try a variety of close up and wide shots, and from different angles. From directly above can work and produce interesting images, but look for other interesting points of view that perhaps focus on a ‘hero’ ingredient in the scene. Perhaps you’re rather proud of your roast potatoes, or want to pick out details in the table decor.
When you’re selecting the food to photograph, look for the ‘most perfect’ examples and take care to arrange it attractively. If food styling isn’t high on your skill list, why not try shooting the raw ingredients or the cooking process instead of the finished products? Always try and shoot food while it is still fresh.
6. Pick the right background and props
If you do not have good enough light at the dining table or kitchen, you may want to set up a mini studio near better light. It is essential to pick the right background, ensuring it is the right colour, and you have the right styling and appropriate props, but ensure they do not detract from the focus of your scene.
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