Mastering the Art of Food Photography
The definition of a selfie may tweak a bit for chefs: Maybe the ultimate self-portrait is not the chef’s face, but his food. Certainly food photos are running rampant from diner phones to Facebook, and restaurants are quickly seeing that food photos attract business. If the photos are well done, that is.
Proper lighting is the first step.
“I light the food so it appears to be in a natural setting without using a flash,” says Peter Scaturro, executive chef at Trevi Italian Restaurant in Las Vegas’ famed Caesar’s Palace. “Also, incorporate subtle background elements that will highlight the food, such as a drink, glass, restaurant menu, or a key ingredient of the dish.”
Another chef’s trick: Remember food continues cooking on the plate, so plate it slightly undercooked to extend the photographic life of a dish, which otherwise might last only a minute or two.
A simple dish with muted colors may look bland, so consider embellishing the plate with a bright-colored sauce to add intrigue and help guide the eyes around the whole dish.
“Chefs today use vibrant colors to entice the diner,” Chef Scaturro explains. “Through high-quality digital photos, this translates into a colorful display sure to get an appetite going.”
Vary shooting angle and take lots of shots, as every photo won’t be a winner.
Digital photography is an inexpensive marketing tool and can easily be used to market a restaurant through social media—plus it works wonders for getting the word out about restaurant specials, explains Tara Punzone, culinary director for Real Food Daily in Santa Monica, California.
“The more photos you post, the more people see and talk about what you are doing,” says Chef Punzone. “It’s simple to grab the attention of your next diner.”