Posted: Tue 10th Sep 2013
Bruce McMichael is author of Cook Wrap Sell (@CookWrapSell) andÂ passionate about local food and food businesses It's no coincidence that glossy magazines and Sunday newspaper supplements make great use of photography, often filling a whole page with a single image, supported but a handful of carefully chosen words. Beautifully styled and lit, images of food draw in the reader and create an appetite to know more about the food, recipe and hopefully the person or business that produced the ingredients or finished dishes. Many small business owners will upload photos onto one of the many social media websites - perhaps Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest - and they may use an app such as Instagram or Snapseed. Bloggers regularly upload photographs of the ingredients or process, recording the steps taken from raw ingredient to finished product, so emotionally involving customers in the company's own journey and ambitions (organic, for example). Posting photos that are relevant to your brand is also vital. The style, size and colouring of your images should be consistent, with customers recognising your company/ brand in the photograph. For packaging, it is best to use a professional photographer to take the shots. So, if you take your own photographs or commission them, here are six top tips to get the most out of your image.
Using your own camera? Then get to know how it works before you prepare for a shoot. Practice regularly, experimenting in different conditions (natural light, outdoors). Learn from the pros; study photographs published in food magazines, websites and books - how did the photographer style and compose the image; how were props used (ingredients, cutlery, plates, tablecloths etc) to enhance the image and the story it tells?
Clicking your camera shutter takes half a second, but a photo shoot can last hours. Get your props, camera (battery charged), lenses, tripod, lights, serving dishes, kitchen utensils ready before you even consider framing a shot.
Natural light is best. Direct flash can leave your food looking dull or shiny, unappetising and flat. But don't rush out and buy lots of expensive lighting equipment; watch You Tube videos of food photography and improvise with lighting you might already have at home.
Scour charity shops, vintage shops, textile shops, car boot sales, auctions, and friends and families kitchens for props that match your food and marketing ambitions. These props will help your photograph tell a story about your food.
Â Vary the position you take the shot from. Three common angles are overhead; side view or three-quarter (angled at 45Â° to the viewer).
A spray of olive oil or cold water can add life to tired looking food.
Carry your camera whenever you are out and about. You never know what you might see, or what exciting and unusual images you might capture on your travels that will add interest to your site or blog and tickle someone's curiosity for what you are offering.
For more advice for food businesses, check out the Enterprise Food microsite from Enterprise Nation and author Bruce McMichael, where you can also buy a copy of Bruce's guide to starting and running a successful food business from your kitchen,Â Cook Wrap Sell Buy now