Whether you run a successful food blog and professional food photography service in Dubai, or take pictures on an iPhone to fill out your Instagram feed, there’s no denying that food photography is of interest to many foodies. . While many professional photographers only focus on photographing food prepared and styled by a food stylist and served on plates and surfaces selected by a prop stylist, our talented photographers tackle all three.
We interviewed one of our best photographer, Orkun Orcan (from UAE), he runs a food photography service in the UAE, and asked him to share everything. He gave us a behind-the-scenes look, including the top five things to consider before opening the camera and some of his favorite cooking tips. We asked them to put their skills to the test, guiding us through the process and approach as they photographed an instant BBQ Shrimp Black Bean Soup recipe for The Spruce Eats. Finally, they share the photographers and stylists who inspire them (and who you should follow) and resources to learn more about their own in-game food photography service, Sharjah.
Things To Consider Before You Photograph
Natural or Artificial Light?
- Professionals know that while natural light can be dazzling, the best bet for consistency and much more creativity is to master artificial light sources. Cara says, “I almost always shoot with strobes, unless a client specifically requests natural lighting. I think it’s important to learn how to control natural light early on, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll find artificial lighting is much more creative freedom.
- Good control of artificial light also makes even the darkest foods palatable. The searing character of these fillets and the creaminess of the sauce, Orkun’s food photography service in Abu Dhabi, is enhanced by his flair for light. If you are a beginner and only shoot with your mobile phone, move closer to a window to take advantage of the natural light and, if possible, turn off all the ceiling lights in the room to have only one light source . Over time, investing in a strobe will take your photos to the next level.
- Before filming, “think about each element of the dish” and what you would do with a dish that would make you want to “eat more”, says Cara. Fried foods should be “crispy and golden,” as Diana does in this simple but desirable photo of fried onion rings.
- “The batter should be tangy and creamy,” like this carbonara recipe Cara recently posted. It’s important to be able to see all the components of a simple dish like this: a sufficient grind of fresh black pepper, Parmesan cheese and a few pieces of pancetta (carefully placed with tongs if necessary) bring it all home.
- “Salads should always be fresh and colorful. No herbs or wilted leaves!” Always use freshly washed herbs and leaves, like Cara does in this citrusy salad. Fresh herbs and lettuce can also benefit from a quick ice bath to chill them and prepare them for the camera. “Salads are also fun to layer, which always creates a lot of dimension and texture,” in the final photo.
Colors represented by food.
- Orkun says that in addition to the colors of the plate itself, he also considers “what color combination would complement the food”. The whites and browns of this tahdig benefit greatly from a fun splash of complementary colors thanks to a sky-blue mosaic surface.
- I “always start with accessories and colors, considering how the background and accessories will interact with the color of the food and what will make the food tastier”. The rich chocolate browns here are highlighted with shades of orange and peach, which belong to the same shade family on the color wheel.