There is one subject that is always available to photograph no matter where you are, even if you don’t leave the house: food. It’s no surprise there is such a strong interest in food photography given that we all need to eat. Being able to take a good photograph of food is not just a good way to document the way you break bread with your friends and family, but is also a great way to learn a new photography skill by honing your lighting skills, compositional techniques, and post-processing methods.

Andrew Scrivani is a food photographer and stylist and CreativeLive instructor whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Eating Well Magazine and many other publications and ad campaigns. His website and Instagram accounts are drool-worthy, and here, Andrew shares five tips with us on getting started in food photography.

HEALTHY RECIPES PASTA, Pappardelle for TARA PARKER POPE, WELL NYTCREDIT: Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times NYTCREDIT:
Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

1. Know Your Gear

Learn the camera you have. If you really want to shoot food or anything else, you need to understand your tools. If you can master whatever camera you have and learn how to get the results you want out of that camera, then you’ll always have the skills that translate to any camera. Teach a man to fish…

[RELATED PRODUCT: Photography 101 – Capture great images with basic gear]

2. Know How To Find Good Natural Light

Master the use of daylight techniques for food photography. Most food photography in the marketplace right now is either using or mimicking daylight. The general principle is to use or create a very large light source (i.e. the sun) then soften and shape that light to flatter your subject.

3. Know Food

If you are interested in food photography, learn about food. One of the great benefits that I have had in my career is an intimate knowledge of my subject matter.

[REWIND:  VALUABLE LESSONS IN FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY]

APPETITE Canning, Pear Apple Butter, made and styled by Andrew Scrivani NYTCREDIT: Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times NYTCREDIT:
Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

4. Know Food Styling…or a Food Stylist

Partner with a stylist. It is really hard to cook, style and photograph food on your own. If you have someone to share in the creative process with you, both will progress much faster.

5. Know How to Edit

Either learn how to use Photoshop or partner with someone who does. You will need to shoot RAW images, and you will need post-production expertise to make those RAW files into usable images. This is an essential skill for photographers.

Check out the SLR Lounge Lightroom Workshop for a comprehensive resource to teach you how to use Lightroom.

Conclusion

Learning food photography is a great skill to add to your arsenal.  It’s an easy thing to practice while you are eating one of your three square meals a day. Once you gain some confidence, you may be able to start photographing food for blogs, restaurants, and cookbooks. It can open up many new opportunities.

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CREDITS: Photographs by Andrew Scrivani are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.