Just like with anything out there, when it comes to creative work, what sets us all apart is our character and style. Finding your food photography style is not easy. There are million ways of photographing a subject. Take an orange for example. Simple clean shoot on a white background, or sophisticated, moody and dark photo? Both, done with excellence can transport the viewer to totally different world. Or perhaps you are one of those people, who when presented with orange are most likely to make an orange juice (and take an excellent photo of it, of course)?

In modern days, it’s not good enough to just take nice pictures. It is important to differentiate yourself, take a stand, create a brand around your pictures. It would be ideal that you do so well of a job, that whoever sees it, can recognize that it was you who took the pictures.

Whether it’s your profession or just a hobby, having a food photography style and taking good photos, it’s something we all strive for.

How to find your photography style?

Most pro photographers would tell you to take photos, try, try and try again. Only by experimenting you will be able to find the style that suits you best. It takes time to develop it. It takes time to find your voice as a blogger in general. In fact, it takes time to realize who you are as a human being, so don’t feel like you need to know it all straight from the beginning. The type of photos you take, the style you chose for yourself, might change as the time passes. Just as Heraclitus once said

‘The only thing that is constant is the change’.

Heraclitus

Embrace it, emerge in it and watch the miracles happen. And if you totally clueless about where to begin, below is the summary of the most popular food photography styles out there? Perhaps you will find something you like, or maybe you get inspired and create a totally new food photography style of your own?

The most popular food photography styles out there are:

Bright photos with many props

This is probably one of the most common types of photos seen in the blogosphere. Props, background and whole surrounding become as important as the food itself. You can see a bit more action going on in the background than in the typical bold, product photography. Soft, diffused lighting and use of colours create happy, airy images. Many foregrounds and background elements are present. 

Food photography style - what is it and how to find it?

Bold, clean, product photography

The main subject is all that matters here. Just like in product photography in other industries, this is bold, clean, you can’t miss it type of food photography style. If the subject is eggs, as seen below, you don’t have to search for it on the photo. The product won’t be hidden somewhere in between plates, cutlery, fancy backdrop. It will be right there, starring at you with all of its glory. Tight frame, focus on food, minimal props – those are the main characteristics of the product photography.

Food photography style - what is it and how to find it? 1

Storytelling photography

That’s is when it gets creative. You are not only going to see the final product, the final perfectly shoot photo. Your story will also include the before, during and after reportage. Using this style, you want to educate the reader about the whole process of cooking. You are not afraid to show less than perfect scenery, unfinished cake, or raw ingredients it’s essential to this type of photography. By showing scenes outside of the main subject, you allowing the reader to see a glimpse of the real world, behind the perfectly staged and finished photos.

Dark food photography

Hello?!? Who switched the lights off? Welcome to the dark food photography! Don’t be mistaken, this is not about taking photos in the middle of the night with the lights off. This type of photography is as much (if not more) about lights as all the others. Usually done on a darker background, with carefully selected contrast and usually grater use of shadows, to create a certain mood and focus on selected parts of the food. Such manipulations of light and shadows, allow you as a photographer to really control what the viewer notices at first. It’s like a first date when you don’t want to give out all of your secrets just yet, but you still want the other side to see the best part of you.  

It seems dark photography is having its moment. It’s the one food photography style that’s used lots – just check out Instagram or Pinterest. Do you want to join the tribe? Moody imaginary with deep shadows for dramatic focus on food, sense of mystery, dark, rustic props – if this sounds like you, try it for your next photo shoot.

Lifestyle food photography

This is the type of photography where the context becomes important. Imagine a photo of a tomato soup as an example. What’s the scene? Where is it being eaten? What’s the story behind the dish in which it is served? It all becomes interesting and important to know. It’s no longer just about the soup. It’s about the story the soup represents. The photo, which gives out the explanation, provides wider context, allows the viewer to look into it – this is what lifestyle photography is all about. 

It’s worthy to notice that such photos are usually taken with larger apertures with wider angles to bring more into the frame. There is usually more negative space. 

Capturing movement

Another visible trend within the food photography world is capturing the food in movement. You can see everything from the milk being poured into coffee, the honey poured over buttered toast, the cookie dipped in the glass of warm milk, the lemon juice squeezed over fresh salad, basically any food movement that’s possible to capture. It’s a fascinating trend, allowing to experiment with light and camera settings. There is something special about those kinds of pictures. Once you poured that milk, squeezed that juice, poured that honey, you cannot undo it. This once in a lifetime opportunity, where you could capture something which constantly moves, is gone. Either you took the perfect photo, or you didn’t. The next one will be different, new, unique again. 

This is the true art of photography, but don’t feel intimidated. Try and test, and who knows, maybe this will become your signature style.

Food photography style - what is it and how to find it? 5

The above list is just a few examples of the most popular styles. Those are the type of food photos you are very likely to see when you open Pinterest, Instagram, other social media or blogs,

Don’t feel like you have to follow any of it. Just because someone else is doing it this way, it doesn’t mean you have to. Being a blogger, a creator, means being someone original. Don’t just copy others photography style, the same way you wouldn’t just go and copy others blog posts. Work out your own – this is definitely more genuine and sustainable solution. 

How do I choose my photography style?

Check out few tips below:

  1. Try shooting more photos from one subject. Test flatly, front/facing scene. The more you experiment, the more chances you get to find your preferred style. It’s a trial and error type of exercise. 
  2. Test different backgrounds, lighting props, the styling of the same food subject. Sometimes, the same food can look totally different within different scenery. Play with light, try shooting with the dark background, test lifestyle type of photography or a bold and clean food photography. If you cannot decide which photo is your favorite, give it up for a vote on Instagram for example. Perhaps your friends and followers will help you decide on a style.
  3. Experiment. Learn the rules of good photography, then brake them intentionally. It’s important to know how good photography looks like. Check out some of your favorite food photographers and see what you can learn from them. Try to re-create photos they’ve taken. Then go one step further and do the same photo with a slightly different approach. Customize it. Break the rule you’ve previously learned. See if this works for you. Experimenting is a good thing. Don’t be afraid of it.
  4. Get out of your comfort zone. Sometimes, the biggest reason why you haven’t done something is because you afraid. You afraid of being judged, you scared of being talked about, you focus on what others say about your work. This prevents you from acting. Pushing through those barriers, getting out of your comfort zone, might just be the thing you need. Don’t be afraid and just create. The world is waiting for your style.

Remember, your photography style is an extension of who you are. When you find it, you will be able to see a bit of yourself in every photo you take and that’s truly beautiful. 

If you want to learn about tools which might help you with photo editing as well as other tools for bloggers click here.

Liked it? Take a second to support ediblorial on Patreon!
Food photography style - what is it and how to find it? 6