How to click food photographs that make your viewers hungry
It was another dull day during the pandemic lockdown. I was hungry and craving for some noodles. My wife fished out a packet of haka noodles from the back of the cupboard. I offered to chop the vegetables, but she declined. I was surprised. Then she announced that the packet of noodles had crossed its expiry date. “That’s wonderful,” I said, much to her surprise. It only took her a moment to realise that I intend to shoot the noodles instead.
I began to look online for a delicious recipe for it – and found the perfect one by a Southeast Asian blogger. Fortunately, we had all the ingredients mentioned in the recipe, except for the meat. My wife readied the meal within minutes. Before long we were shooting the dish.
We began laying out the noodles, but they would fall limp into the bowl. After a few tries, I decided to prop them up with a stack of paper napkins. Then I carefully folded the noodles over it, but it didn’t look as pleasing as I had hoped. Something was amiss. It looked bland.
So, I decided to add colour. My wife brought out the food colour while I reached out for my photography colours. We mixed them to arrive at the right shade, painstakingly coloured each noodle and carefully laid them in the bowl.
Now it was time for the garnish. I placed the capsicum, eggs and mushrooms in the bowl, painted over them and began the photo shoot.
The layout of the set up was as follows.
The lighting equipment used was Elinchrom FRX400 with a 100 X 35cm Rotalux soft box (a strip light), without a diffuser, as the main light source to create a deep shadow. We used another Elinchrom FRX400 with a square Rotalux 100cm, at a slight distance, to add some texture to the shadows while maintaining the dramatic effect. Finally, we added two white boards from the left of the set up to bounce some light and fill the sharp edges in the frame.
I used the Nikkor 60mm macro lens on a Nikon D810. The camera settings were f-3 at the shutter speed of 160 at ISO 100 in RAW file.
The shoot itself was a long affair and not without its hurdles. It took three hours to develop the visual as we were constantly rearranging the elements to arrive at the right frame.
Yes, food photography is a time-consuming process. But the shots looked delicious… and I was hungry again!
You can view this series of photographs in my food photography portfolio here. And if my food photographs make you hungry, do write me a comment below.