What is Food Photography about?
Silvain • updated June 10, 2022 • 3 min read
Silvain • updated June 10, 2022 • 3 min read
What exactly is food photography, and why do we shoot our food in the first place?
Food images abound in our daily lives in the twenty-first century, whether digital or analog, commercial or private, groomed to the tiniest detail or smudged on the kitchen sideboard.
“There is no sincerer love than the love of food” George Shaw
Food photography is defined as any photograph of a food item, a dish, or a food-related situation.
Food photography used to be almost entirely associated with advertising, publications, and cookbooks. Professional photographers and stylists used varnish and hairspray to dress up the roast goose, shaving foam to dress up latte macchiatos, and adhesive and food coloring to make never-melting ice cream balls.
These images appeared in a range of media for promotional reasons and were designed to do one thing: sell.
You’re seated in a restaurant or café today, and at two out of every three tables, the first thing you do is take a picture of your meal on your smartphone before you even take a bite.
This photograph is subsequently shared on numerous social media platforms or at the very least in the family’s personal WhatsApp group on another two out of three occasions.
Food photography is still popular in the advertising world, but it has now entered our daily life as well. Everyone wants to be a food photographer these days. But why is that?
Everyone takes a bite to eat. And it’s like that every day. Food is a key aspect of daily life for everyone, no matter who they are or where they live.
It’s not only a bothersome need for most people; it’s also something emotionally charged. Food evokes memories, sentiments, traditions, and experiences in us.
Eating and emotions are inextricably linked.
Food is physically and metaphorically close to us. It has an emotional impact on us. The labels “soul food” and “comfort food” aren’t thrown about lightly. It gathers people around a table, comforts them, and is a part of cultural rituals and traditions.
Food, however, is a status symbol as well. I’ll figure out who you are based on what you eat.
It’s no surprise, then, that we want to picture something so meaningful. We record, display, and seduce. We accomplish this with a single mouse click.
Plus, photography is now more economical, simple, and accessible than it has ever been. A photo print used to cost a few marks and could only be picked up from the lab after several days, but now all it needs is a small amount of memory on a smartphone or digital camera’s memory card and a rapid click of the shutter.
The end effect can be seen by anyone. And in today’s society, it is precisely this point of visibility that matters. We want our presence to be noticed. Visual content is significant in this regard.
The beauty of a dish lies in its details, and with food presets, those details shine brighter. Whether it’s the glint on a droplet or the grain in a slice of bread, these presets capture the essence.
The demand for more visual content has increased as a result of digitization and the growing relevance of visual platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest.
Only those who publish are visible, and only those who are visible increase their reach. And the modern prestige symbol is reached.
However, in order to stand out from the crowd, the need for high-quality images has inevitably grown over time. And it’s this quality that sets real food photography apart from a hastily snapped lunch picture.
Although it is becoming easier and cheaper to take good photos with new smartphones and cameras, technology alone does not make beautiful food photos.
Photography in general and food photography, in particular, requires know-how, experience, and regular practice.
Good food photography invites the viewer into the picture. It tells a story, brings back memories, makes our mouths water, and makes us want more.
Good food photography makes us feel the emotions we associate with food and that alone through the two-dimensional medium of photography.
It can appear in a wide variety of styles and, like fashion, continues to evolve, establishing new trends, revisiting old ones, reinterpreting them.
And that’s why so many love food photography as their playground. You can create worlds with it, invite people to your table and motivate them to re-bake, re-cook, receive guests and thus bring joy.
This is how to bring people together and create emotions. And all that with just a single click.
Your thoughts and questions