5 Tips for Beautiful Dark Foods Photography

5 Tips for Beautiful Dark Food Photography

tips for incredible dark food photography

Dark food photography has become wildly popular over the last few years. But while dark food photos look amazing, they’re not so easy to generate – unless you have a bit of insider’s knowledge, that is!

That’s why, in this article, I share my favorite ideas, tricks, and secrets intended for moody food photography, including:

  • The right way to select the best props and backgrounds for that stunning “dark” look
  • Methods to light your food photos for any moody effect
  • How to determine the right settings for top-notch image high quality

I also share plenty of dark food photography suggestions and illustrations along the way, so you know exactly what you can achieve in your own meals images.

Let’s dive right in, beginning with Tip #1:

1 . Use dark, nonreflective props and backgrounds

In dark food photography, you should aim to maintain the background in shadow plus draw the viewer’s focus on the main subject. Therefore , it’s essential that you choose dark or muted props , surfaces, plus backgrounds .

You see, white or light meals and props will attract the eye away from the food and create too much contrast, which is entertaining (plus it can be difficult to orient correctly).

When sourcing props, look for vintage utensils with a patina, which will limit reflections. Matte dishes are also good – the matte surface dampens lower reflections – and are best in darker, neutral shades.

utensils with a patina for dark food photography

Some good places to look for these items are thrift shops and flea markets; there, you can frequently find dark food photography props for a fraction from the price you would pay for all of them new. Many food photographers use old, mottled cookie sheets in their work, which usually create surfaces and skills that look great and only subtly reflect the light.

Wooden is also a great material just for backgrounds and props. Try to find weathered items such as old cabinet doors or old tabletops, which will keep reflections to a minimum amount and lend a beautiful traditional feel.

Pro tip: Ensure that the particular wood you use isn’t too warm toned. Warm-toned wooden will turn an unflattering orange in your images. A deep espresso color, on the other hand, always looks great.

a dark food photography flat lay

2 . Keep your styling authentic

You’ll generally come across two types of food photography styling :

  1. Clean design, where every item associated with food is carefully positioned (often atop a pure-white surface area! ) and all extraneous elements are removed.
  2. Organic styling, where the food is perfectly imperfect, along with scattered crumbs or artfully placed smears and trickles, as if the food has only just been freshly prepared.

And while clean styling tends to work great for advertising photography, organic hair styling is better for creating a loose, more organic, more authentic style, and that’s what exactly I’d recommend for your black colored food photography.

Don’t get bad, of course – every food should be placed deliberately – but try to make the style look casual and arbitrary, yet still artful.

soup on a dark table

For the carrot turmeric soup image (above), I just gently swirled cream on your soup surface and properly placed the croutons off-center to create a focal point. I garnished the soup with pepper and thyme leaves, and am also scattered these with the background surface. While a counter or dinner table would not look quite like this really, such extra touches required food combination an honest, storytelling quality, plus they frame and enhance the main subject.

My best advice?

Think about the ingredients a person used in the food. Ask yourself how you will incorporate flour, sugar, spices or herbs, etc ., in a way that makes compositional sense and complements your main subject.

lentil soup moody food photography

3. Shape and mill the light

To be able to produce moody food photos, you have got to shape not to mention carve the light to achieve some dark effect while extending attention to your subject.

I recommend anyone work with sidelight and/or backlight to create a lovely moody take a look. And to prevent harshly lighted areas, you should use indirect lighting fixtures, so that no light solutions point directly at the pair or the food. (If you plan to do naturally lit food photography , then place the food established at an angle to the window so that no light streams inside and hits the location directly. )

You should then add in minor black reflector cards – you can use black cardboard or maybe posterboard cut into verger – to kick in shadows as needed. Simply area these around your specify where you want to cut down the lightweight. Note that you will need to play around with sizes and placements of the mirror cards to get shadows that work with your story.

For the images displayed here, I wanted the mushrooms to remain bright and catch a number of the light, yet I wanted shadows to fall on the eating plan. I used side-backlighting (notice the bright spot inside the upper-right corner? ) to light up the mushrooms, then I located a black card at the front of the setup, angled to generate shadows and absorb most of the light that was coming into the shot.

mushroom toast display

4. Don’t be frightened to underexpose

Photographers, especially beginners, quite often obsess over nailing just the right exposure …

…but for dark food taking photographs, I’d actually recommend you underexpose intentionally for a shadowy effect.

You don’t want to underexpose too heavily – this shadows shouldn’t lose detail completely – but it often times pays to drop the exposure by a fraction of an avoid or even a full stop. The borders of the frame and the story will fall into shadow, and you’ll get a beautifully changing mood look.

For the best result, you’ll need to place the main food items in the most vivid part of the frame; that way, they will remain well exposed at the same time the rest of the image goes ebony. (Make sure that the parts aren’t blown out, even so! )

A few additional food photography configurations tips:

You are going to want to select your aperture based on artistic considerations (i. e., do you want the entire body to be sharp? Or do you require a shallow optical of field effect ? ) and keep your ISO low to avoid noise. Should you be working with natural light, you’ll usually need to adjust your advertising mileage with your shutter speed .

Therefore , it’s good for most use a tripod, especially if you will be shooting in natural light. With a tripod, you can enhance the exposure time to a second or even more – and as long as you have some light, you’ll get a the right way exposed picture (or effectively underexposed picture if you follow my advice! ).

If you do blast at a shutter speed under 1/80s or so, I’d propose using the timer or a remote unlock to prevent photographic camera shake and keep your images tack-sharp.

olive oil food photography

a couple of. Spice up your dark foods photography with post-processing

Dark and changing mood food photography generally appears great straight out of photographic camera, but if you want the absolute best results, then you should pay a bit of time post-processing your food images .

In particular, usage color luminance sliders to help brighten colors individually, together with use global and local modifications to bring out the best in the food item. Avoid bumping up the being exposed of the whole image, which can cause your shadows to look unpleasant; instead, use the Parts, Shadows, Whites, and Blacks sliders to make global vulnerability corrections, and consider using adjustment brushes , graduated filtration systems , and radial filters to make more targeted transformations.

lentil soup arrangement

And always remember:

Snug colors move forward, whereas awesome colors recede. The best foodstuff photography has a balance for both, which enhances the three-dimensional feel – so invest some time playing with the white balance to get the perfect result. Split-toning can also work great so long as it’s applied with subtlety.

Finally, it is necessary you carve the light, a bit of a vignette will add more mystery, and it’ll in addition prevent the eye from walking around out of the frame. So if you ar after an especially moody influence, try applying a vignette as a finishing touch.

Dark food taking pictures tips: final words

Chili on a wooden table

Well, there they are:

5 recommendations, tricks, and techniques for deep and moody food images!

Remember this is my advice, practice working with the light, and you’ll be saving stunning shots in no time at all.

Now over to you:

In which of these tips will you utilize first? What food are you planning to photograph? Share your thinking in the comments below!





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