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  • Writer's pictureMehak



Tips for food photography

Food photography is a field of photography that specializes in capturing the still-life images of food articles, making them seem tempting and scrumptious. Although, this has been widely used for commercial purposes that are for advertisement and marketing. A new crop of food bloggers pursues this form of photography for recreational purposes, apart from advertising. Food photography like any other form of photography requires a special type of equipment to get the desired images. A special type of cropped sensor camera and prime lenses are the best choices for this kind of photography. As a form of commercial photography, it is used for advertisements, magazines, packaging, menus, and cookbooks.


The history of food photography can be traced back to the year 1845 when William Henry Fox Talbot clicked the very first known pictures of food articles which contained a basket consisting of peaches and pineapples. The earliest known photographs of food were mostly influenced by the paintings of the time. Ever since the 1800s food photography has changed with the changes in technology and with the purpose for which the photographs were taken. By the 1930s coloured photography started being used for the purpose of advertisement and hence began the era of food photography being commercialized, in order to bring in more customers and profits. The result of the commercialization was that now the efforts were made to make the food look more and more appetizing and delightful and to achieve this end many props began to be used. Food photography now began to be used not only for menus, advertisements, and cookbooks but also for food packaging, etc. Ever since then food photography has become a lucrative profession and got highly commercialized.


tips for commercial food photography

The whole food industry thrives on food photography. The advertisements for various foods use strategies that target the senses- taste, smell, image, and texture. The main objective behind such photography is to appeal to the target audience at various levels viz. emotional, psychological, and practical. Traditionally, food marketing was done through newspapers, televisions, hoardings, packaging, etc. but nowadays social media has emerged as an important tool to sell food and many food companies, restaurants, chefs, etc. target the consumers through online campaigning and thus food photography has become the most important tool. In this context, skilful photography, use of the right backgrounds, lighting, cameras, and lenses play a major role to bring out the true colours, feel, texture, and freshness of the foods.


tips for food blogging

By the late 90s and early 2000s, digital cameras began to be used for food photography. Many people took on the task of clicking pictures of food and thus food photography became more personalized rather than commercialized. With this change the angles from which food was clicked also changed, rather than the side images of food in the advertisements, the top-down images came into vogue, and thus we began to see the food from the perspective of the food bloggers rather than the advertising agencies. The latest off-shoot of the food bloggers are the foodstagramers or the food-Instagrammers. They take images of food which are then posted on Instagram and then the viewers get an insight into the food and the story behind it. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many food bloggers and Instagrammers gained a huge following as traditional food places like restaurants, cafes, kiosks, etc. were shut down due to the restrictions.


With the advent of the trend of clicking food photographs, an inevitable question cropped up, whether it is right to click the photos of your food or not? The internet seems to be divided on this, although the debate is tilted more towards no. The personalization of food photography has raised this ethical question. Many restaurants in New York and Paris have banned the clicking of food photographs altogether. But this ban has not gone down well with those food bloggers who believe that “the camera eats first”.


Best Food Photographer of India
@Debdatta Chakraborty

Food photography just like any other form of photography is an art and a skill. It has many purposes and forms. It has evolved in many ways ever since it first started being used. This art form of food photography is commemorated by way of the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year Award. This year Indian photographer Debdatta Chakraborty’s photograph titled 'Kebabiyana’ won this award. Whether commercial or personal this form of photography can be used in many ways and holds the power to transport an individual to a certain place and time, it thus is highly impactful.

Winner of Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year 2022



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