Food photography used to be primarily for professional purposes such as editorial, advertising, or packaging. But these days, there are many amateur photographers who enjoy taking pictures of food as a hobby.
Even for amateur food photography, you can make your food picture look stunning. There are several factors that go into creating an appetizing image of the dish in front of you. One of them is composition.
Here are some simple guidelines when it comes to composition for food photography. We’ll use this luscious-looking slice of fruit tart as the subject for the following images.
Subject placement — Centered
In the above image, the subject is centered in the foreground. In this case, your message to viewers is clear — the main element of interest in this picture is the fruit tart.
You might also wish to use this angle when you want to draw focus to the main subject instead of other elements in the picture (e.g., the tea cup and tea pot).
Subject placement — Off-centered
Alternatively, you could choose to place your subject off center. Doing so will change sight lines to one that viewers don’t see all the time. This will make your image more creative and visually interesting.
You could also play around with perspective. What do I mean by this?
In the image above, I’m using a close perspective to focus on the subject, drawing the viewer’s attention to the colors, textures and shape of the fruit tart.
For this image, I’m using a wider perspective, capturing the tea pot and tea cup in the background as well.
In this case, I’m placing the subject in context and telling a story, i.e., come join me as I relax with a slice of luscious fruit tart together with a pot of hot tea.
Another trick in composition is to play around with angles. Experiment with different angles by moving your camera around and exploring various viewpoints. Take into account the subject’s shape, height and texture.
Here, I want to emphasize the beautiful layers of fruit, cream, cake, and crust that make up the cross-section of the tart. Therefore, I chose to shoot this image at eye-level from a close-up perspective.
This angle is nearly an overhead shot. In this instance, my main focus is on the fruits on top of the tart. So, which angle you choose depends on where you wish to draw the viewer’s attention to.
You can also change the mood of the picture, simply by switching the orientation — from landscape (horizontal) to portrait (vertical) or vice versa.
When it comes to composition, there are no hard and fast rules. The tips and tricks that are mentioned in this article are merely guidelines. As long as it makes people stop, stare at it, and go, “Wow!”, that’s a successful image.
The key here is to be bold and experiment with various positions, perspectives, and angles. Over time, you’ll get the hang of what works and what doesn’t. Have fun playing with your food!
P.S. The pictures in this post were taken with the A350 and the SAL50M28 lens.