There is a variety of different types of photography used today including for commercial or advertising purposes. These are some of the main aspects of the industry since the beginning in the 1800’s. A large portion used for the purpose of advertising is more specifically focused on food, which has also been popular for a very long time. Today food photography is more popular than ever, which we can thank social media channels like Instagram and Pinterest as they have opened the door for everyone, business or personal, to have a platform to share and grow a following. There are many elements that go into photographing food which means that you need to focus on each part not just the food itself.
A very important piece is the background or backdrop which you are shooting the food on. This refers to either a backdrop hanging or propped up behind the subject, and what is sitting under the subject. Generally, the background takes up over 50% of the image which means that you will be creating a theme or concept of the photo with your choice. The most important part of creating a great background is to have the theme stand out, but not take away from the focus of the photo which is the hamburger, taco, pizza or anything else you choose to photograph.
Creating a theme for photographing food is the same as telling a story. In commercial photography there is a great emphasis on the current season or what it will be when this product will be advertised. The objective is to make the viewer or consumer “feel” the image and the theme so they can correlate with some type of connection or nostalgia. With food you also want to make them hungry just by looking at the photo.
For spring and summer months there is a push towards bright and exciting shades of colour emulating sunny days and bright colours outside. For fall and winter months the background used would be darker shades with more of a rustic look. With shorter days and cold weather, you want to create a dark but warm effect to comfort consumers from the wintery cold.
There are a few types of themes for backgrounds that are widely used in the industry including Modern, Rustic, and Vintage.
– Rustic theme is a casual look where wooden surfaces are a popular choice. This takes advantage of creating a messy or “out of order” theme. It is the opposite of modern and can be used to make the product look more homemade, rather than store bought. Also, a great idea to use when creating an outdoor effect.
– Vintage theme is very similar to looking rustic as wooden surfaces are also a popular choice. Here you must show the history involved in this picture as this dish could be an old recipe or was a more popular dish years ago. Adding in old kitchen utensils or equipment can help crate the vintage look. These images are typically shot with darker shades for the background.
– Props are also very important
– Should be part of the overall theme
– Use ingredients, plates, utensils, spices, salt shaker, etc.
– Background types
– Paper, wood, foam core boards, cutting boards, fabric, solid colours, marble, landscape, etc.
– Create your own backgrounds to the desired look with sanding, staining, and painting.
– Instead of using a huge table, sometimes a small piece of wood or marble is all that you need.
– It is best to try out different angles. Gives you more options and flexibility instead of being stuck with one shot.
– Leave enough room in your photo in case it must be cropped and edited.
– Try out more than one background for each photoshoot. Similar to using different angles, it gives more options for you or your client.
– Start collecting multiple selections of backgrounds.