We have all had this experience. Sitting at a table in a dark corner in a nicely renovated hotel, wishing there was more light so I didn’t have to use an on-camera flash. Maybe this meal is something you’ve never eaten before, and it would be icing on the cake if you could take a nice photo and put it online.
But the results are often less than satisfactory. Often the flash will create bright spots on reflective surfaces, such as wine glasses, cutlery, ceramics, etc. The high sensitivity that has to be used in low light also results in a lot of annoying noise in photos. If you’re taking food photos with these conditions, then this article is for you.
1. Soften the sun
The quickest and easiest way to take great-looking photos is to take advantage of full, out-of-direct sunlight. For example, a table under an umbrella outdoors on a sunny day is a good location for shooting.
2. Keep the table near the window
If there is no outdoor venue, or it is too cold, raining, etc., there is another way. You can ask for a window seat, don’t be embarrassed, they’re there for you.
3. Large aperture lens
Outdoor or window seats only work during the day, but what if it’s night and the sun has gone down? At this time, there is no good way for ordinary digital cameras, and SLR cameras with interchangeable lenses are needed. At the same time you need a large aperture lens, f/1.8 or f/2.8, if the lens aperture is smaller than f/4 it will be difficult.
4. Live View
Live view is a useful feature. Not only is there no need to hold the camera to your face (which is always a bit out of place in a fancy hotel), but it also allows for precise manual focus, which can be problematic in low-light situations.
5. Don’t shoot from eye level
The best angle for photographing food is around 10-40 degrees on the table. Never shoot from eye level. All of us usually look at food from this height, so the fresh angle makes the photo more appealing.
6. Get close
A lot of people like to shoot food with wide-angle lenses, but the results are not attractive enough. What the audience wants to see is actually just the food itself, without extra foreground and background. Unless your focus is on the entire table, it’s best to shoot close to the food.
7. Don’t use on-camera flash
On-camera flash is the enemy of beautiful photos. Do not use on-camera flash unless it is an emergency and there is no other option.
Finally, don't underestimate post-editing software. Even less-than-ideal photos can be salvaged with the Curves feature.