In the past months, people around the world have found an outlet for their anxiety, their emotions, and their escape… in the kitchen! Cake-layering, pasta-making, bread-baking, oh my!
Social Media has allowed small, homegrown, artisanal businesses to thrive like a well-fed sourdough starter. However, along with picking a creative brand name (and perfecting your banana ripeness levels), comes the challenge of beautiful, mouthwatering images.
Food is as much a visual medium as Instagram itself and if you’re looking to up your game, The Little Fish Picture Co‘s founder, Ishira Kumar’s is sharing her top five tips for food styling + photography.
1. Do a ‘photography day’ – not a ‘photography – end of the day when there’s no light and you’re so tired you can’t move – few minutes.’
Your images are almost as important as your recipe testing and ingredients sourcing. Your images are what’s going to make you stand out from the crowd, and make people order your product over anyone else. So give them the importance they deserve, and dedicate a day a month to shooting!
2. Ingredients are your best prop.
Ingredients have history, they have stories and memories attached to them, they elicit a personal connection to the viewer. Food is a moody, sensual, fascinating subject and a photograph should stimulate the viewer to experience the complexity of its ingredients, the depth of its flavor and the magic of its aroma. Plus they’re already in your kitchen!
3. Start with a brand identity & mood board.
Pick a colour palette, an aesthetic or vibe, and a lighting mood. For example: whites and greys, home-made artisanal, and soft bright light. Also, try and curate your IG feed ‘grid of nine’ carefully. Each grid of nine should tell a similar story, and have a similar flow.
4. There’s a fine line between messy vs. dirty.
Food is supposed to be hands-on, and messy. Things like drips, splashes, splatters, crumbs, bites, pours, all add stunning layers of texture to a photograph, and invoke a human element to your images. However, be careful that it doesn’t look dirty. For example: the knife shouldn’t have food marks on it. Cut a slice, and then wipe the knife before the photograph. Or use a prop knife, and cut with your kitchen knife.
5. Embrace negative space!
You don’t need to fill your entire frame. Negative space allows for the image to breathe, and draws focus to a key subject – your product. So remove the clutter and turn negative space into a positive styling technique.
Bonus: Spend time understanding an editing app like Lightroom. Editing can make a drastic difference to your images. If you say IG filters, I’m disqualifying you from reading this article.
About Ishira Kumar
A vivid dreamer and a believer in magic, Ishira Kumar brings her imagination and infatuation with the process of creating, to her food photography and styling. Her inherent distaste for conformity and artificiality has translated into a compulsive passion for storytelling and authenticity through her company, The Little Fish Picture Co.
Ishira also does one-on-one food styling & photography virtual workshops. The in-depth session covers key composition principles, styling techniques and an introduction to lighting and editing! Additionally, she shares her tips and tricks for props and action shots. The 2.5 hour class concludes with a virtual style along.
We’d love to hear from you! Do let us know if you try this recipe – you can leave a comment below and/ or tag us in your delicious creations on Instagram @the_foodiediaries.