Capturing movement in food photography

Food photography is a popular form of photography that deals specifically with food products. Whereas in the past, dishes were mainly photographed to promote a product, nowadays images of prepared plates have been elevated to an art form. A simple, static photo no longer suffices. Action in a food photo creates more visual tension and makes the image more interesting, but how do you go about it?

We give you a few simple tips that you can use to make dynamic and interesting photos of food.


Tip 1. Depth of field

First, decide what you are going to photograph and why. What should the main focus be on? What ingredient or dish is the star of the picture, or do you want to capture the overall atmosphere? You adjust the depth of field to that. Do you have a slice of cake that you want to make stand out? Then make sure it grabs all the attention and avoid too many distractions in the background. Or make the background less sharp by focusing on the slice of cake.

Make sure all the camera settings, light sources and composition are right. Take a couple of test shots whereby you focus on various objects. You are best focusing manually to maintain control of the end result.


Tip 2. Shutter speed

The shutter speed is a particularly important part of action photography. It determines whether and when you 'stop' the subject. Furthermore, it determines the amount of time the camera sensor has to capture the incoming light and make a photo.

The shutter speed, the aperture and the ISO have a direct effect on the lighting in your photo. If you are still learning about photography or your camera, it can be tricky to find the right settings.

But it is a good idea to delve into it because you won't get the same effect using the auto mode. Using auto mode, you have no influence on the precise shutter speed or on the end result.


Tip 3. Tripod

The slightest movement can ruin your photo, certainly when working with a long shutter speed. We therefore recommend using a tripod. Using a tripod is not only handy for the sharpnes of the photo but also for the action. It leaves your hands free to sprinkle, pour or stir, for example. It can also be handy to use a remote. That enables you to operate your camera at a distance without touching the camera.


Tip 4. Rather too much than not enough

It is better to take too many rather than too few photos. You can use the interval timer to achieve that. Sometimes the perfect action photo is a lucky shot!

So take as many photos as you can and, during the process, keep checking that the settings are doing what you want them to do. That also gives you the opportunity to change the settings halfway through the photo shoot and it increases your chances of getting that one perfect picture.


Tip 5. Contrasting background

The styling of your photos is important. Consider your background. A contrasting background is a handy tool to enhance red strawberries. Or would you like to focus on sprinkling flour or icing sugar, for example? Then use a dark background.


Tip 6. Be creative

A great thing about food photography is that you are allowed to play with your food! Sprinkle, throw or pour the food while you are taking the photo. That enables you to create the most action and you let your creative juices flow. If you edit the image afterwards using Photoshop, you can even go a step further and make the subjects float in the photo.

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