Saturday 1 October 2016

Photographers share tips on how to create the perfect Instagram-friendly food shots

Published 28/04/2016 | 15:24

The crab, melon, sea herbs and avocado dish shot in amazing natural light . Photo captured using a Sony α7R II. Photographer: Hugh Johnson. Location: Searcys at The Gherkin, London
The crab, melon, sea herbs and avocado dish shot in amazing natural light . Photo captured using a Sony α7R II. Photographer: Hugh Johnson. Location: Searcys at The Gherkin, London
The mint detail on the Baba Rhum, raspberries and Chantilly cream dish. Photo captured using a Sony α7R II. Photographer: Hugh Johnson. Location: Searcys at The Gherkin, London
The yolk of the soft poached egg, with asparagus velouté and Iberico ham. Photo captured using a Sony α7R II. Photographer: Hugh Johnson. Location: Searcys at The Gherkin, London
Baba Rhum, raspberries and Chantilly cream dish. Photo captured using a Sony α7R II. Photographer: Hugh Johnson. Location: Searcys at The Gherkin, London

Making food look good in photographs is harder than it looks.

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Lovingly prepared dishes and quality ingredients can look as good as they taste thanks to some clever photography skills.

Gastronomic photography is a trend that has grown over recent years, with over 178 million images tagged with #food now shared on Instagram.

There is an art to the craft, and following some simple tips can help you achieve a mouth-watering shot.

Baba Rhum, raspberries and Chantilly cream dish. Photo captured using a Sony α7R II. Photographer: Hugh Johnson. Location: Searcys at The Gherkin, London
Baba Rhum, raspberries and Chantilly cream dish. Photo captured using a Sony α7R II. Photographer: Hugh Johnson. Location: Searcys at The Gherkin, London

Photographer Hugh Johnson, who has shot for celebrated chefs including Yotam Ottolenghi, Heston Blumenthal and Thomasina Miers has shared his guide to capturing the essence of a delicious plate in a photograph.

  • Make sure you keep things simple! The biggest mistake professionals and amateurs make is over complicating a shot with too much cutlery or accessories.
  • Shoot the food at the widest aperture possible. This is when the hole within the lens is at its widest so more light can travel through. By doing this you will soften the background of the shot to give you that pin-sharp focus on the food.
  • Speed is key. Make sure you take a picture of the food quickly to capture its freshness and natural glossy highlights. Spraying water is also a great way to spruce up your food if it looks a bit flat.
  • Keep your elbows tucked into your body when taking a photo to keep the camera steady and to minimise distortion.
  • Don’t be afraid to change the placement and the look of the food – for example meat may look better cut in half to show its pink interior and interesting textures.

For those who want to capture award-winning photography of food or any other subject, Sony World Photography Award finalist, Peter Dench has the following advice, “To capture an award winning photograph, don’t be afraid.

The mint detail on the Baba Rhum, raspberries and Chantilly cream dish. Photo captured using a Sony α7R II. Photographer: Hugh Johnson. Location: Searcys at The Gherkin, London
The mint detail on the Baba Rhum, raspberries and Chantilly cream dish. Photo captured using a Sony α7R II. Photographer: Hugh Johnson. Location: Searcys at The Gherkin, London

"Most people will not mind being photographed, and if you’re nervous or new to photography choose a location where cameras are expected, like festivals or markets.

"Also, it is essential to be prepared. Know your camera well and have it with you at all times.

"Finally, make sure you shoot a scene right from the beginning to the end to ensure that you capture the whole event”.

“Images were taken using the full-frame, palm-sized interchangeable lens Sony α7R II camera. Winning and shortlisted photographers of the Sony World Photography Awards will be exhibited at Somerset House, London from 22 April – 8 May.”

The yolk of the soft poached egg, with asparagus velouté and Iberico ham. Photo captured using a Sony α7R II. Photographer: Hugh Johnson. Location: Searcys at The Gherkin, London
The yolk of the soft poached egg, with asparagus velouté and Iberico ham. Photo captured using a Sony α7R II. Photographer: Hugh Johnson. Location: Searcys at The Gherkin, London

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