November 08, 2017

Season's Greetings + Eatings: Fall Food Photography Tips

Words + Photos : Annie Mae H.Worth

Fall is a giver, for sure. It delivers colors upon colors, textures, and plenty of soul-warming meals. It might just be the best season for food photography.

Produce like cranberries, squash, pumpkin are plentiful... items we usually have to wait all year to get our hands on. Compared to summer’s floral, fruity, beachy imagery, the cosy, earthy, vibrant side of fall beckons. Think thick jumpers, big bowls of pumpkin soup and walks in the wood. We want to teach you how to capture your own way of photographic style with these handy Fall tips, from storytelling to color matching, you’ll be a Fall Pro Photographer in no time.



Tell a story


What do you want to achieve with this still life? Before going out to take your images, have a starting point. It always helps me to write things down. A tip could be sketching out your ideas too in a notebook. Get inspired by food magazines, your favourite cookbook recipe, your local cafe and antique shops ( fantastic for props).

Are you focusing on the people, the food, certain colours ? Is there a certain mood or light you want to achieve? What narrative do you want to portray?

When capturing on the go, take your time, try and take as many images as you possibly can. Capture as much as you can from every angle. When it comes to looking at the photos later on, you’d rather have a wide variety rather than knowing that you rushed around because of nerves.

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Add a human element


If you are using a friend/stranger to take the shot, make sure they are wearing dark clothing ( dark navy or black works best). The item they are holding will stand out more against something dark rather than a light t-shirt. The simple act of them holding something or featuring them in your story, will humanise the photo, and will make the image look honest, natural and relatable.Start adding colour to your story like bright orange pumpkins, deep purple eggplants next to bright green scallions. Take photo’s of people changing hands, vendors exchanging produce with customers, small details like that can really get a narrative going.

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Try to always shoot in natural light


A cloudy day is always your friend, but if you happen to live in a sunny state, there is a cheap and handy trick. By placing a white paper napkin near your subject matter it will reflect the light back onto your subject matter to create a soft white hue .

By placing your subject next a window or a source of natural light, ( aka to the left or right) you will instantly get these wonderful soft shadows, these are great for taking moody images. When shooting against the light, you get a more hazy, dulled image. If you shoot with the light facing your still life, you tend to get a good overall light coverage with some shadow, these kinds of shots are better for flatlays, macro shots etc. Obviously sometimes the subjects you want to capture are in unnatural light settings, still take the image, you never know if it may come out well later in editing.

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Color Color Color!

Fall is all about color. Had I mentioned that? When exploring a market, snap up a selection of rainbow foods. When you take the produce home with you to take images with, really explore what you can do with them. Slice open Beetroots to get that deep red/purple, and put it next to really orange /peppers/carrots/pumpkins or squash. If you choose to take a still life of colorful autumnal goods, go for plain neutral backgrounds. If you make the image too colorful it will lean towards looking too summery, and we want to achieve a deep fall rustic look.

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