The holidays are right around the corner and with all of the beautiful food and drink that you will be sharing with your loved ones you probably want to capture and share! Here are a few of my food photography tips, featuring my new favorite mocktail the bubbly cranberry with Fre Wines! What I love about Non-Alcoholic Brut is the cascades of tiny bubbles and that effervescent fizz! This sparkling wine makes any occasion feel a little more special. So let's get this party started and let the holiday fun begin! I have some tips and tricks to help you capture and share!
So your looking to share your recipes and hoping to show off your homecooked masterpieces on social media this holiday season? Please do! Instagram is where I find so much inspiration these days and I love seeing what people are creating. Learning how to properly take photos of food can truly help you bring your A-game and the more we share the more we all learn from one another. While there are plenty of complicated hacks professional food photographers use to make the food look fuller, fresher, and glossier, these simple tips are ones you can start using today!
One of the most important things to keep in mind is to take your time and take several photos. Now, this is easier said than done, especially these days! I find myself going as quickly as possible between Cooper's naps and hoping to accomplish what I need to without making too much of a mess. If I have learned anything though it is that making a mess is par for the course and sharing those behind-the-scenes looks are just as inspiring (if not more) than the actual end product! People love seeing the beautiful cocktails but they also want to see how you got there. Taking a bunch of photos gives you plenty of options for your final product. It is also important to keep in mind that just like anything else, it is going to take practice. You won’t take stunning photos right off the bat, and most of my photos are not shareable! It takes a lot of practice and I am always surprised when I upload my photos and find that out of the 43 I upload I only like 3, eek!
Food Photography Lighting Basics
Go Natural. Don’t leave your overhead kitchen lights on. In fact, I make sure all lights are off and the only light source I use is what comes thru the window. Don't worry, it does not need to be sunny! In fact, most of my favorite photos are on days when it is dreary or snowy, like today! Natural light has a way of making a photo more magical so enjoy whatever light you get coming thru the window.
Light From the Side. The best light when using natural light is usually from the side or from behind. Straight on lighting makes food look flat and boring. I set up on the floor in our sunroom and let the light come in from the side. And let the baby and puppy play :)
So now for the food, as the best way to talk about photography is to make something delicious and shoot it! Today I made a bubbly cranberry mocktail with Fre Wines. When I was pregnant I lived on Fre! It was a perfect way to enjoy the festivities with friends and family without feeling like I was missing out on the cocktail fun. Now that Cooper has arrived, and our whole world has been turned upside down with joy, I find Fre to be a great way to wind down at night. It is a perfect drink for nursing moms. Green apple and ripe pear aromas tickle your nose, while crisp flavors of apple and strawberry delight your palate. Fre's Brut is beautifully balanced with a pleasantly dry, refreshing finish, perfect for this cranberry mocktail!
When I think of Thanksgiving and Christmas I think of cranberries. This simple mocktail combines cranberry juice, about 2 ounces, with Fre alcohol-removed Sparkling Wine. Garnish with fresh cranberries and rosemary for a light aromatic! When shooting beverages in particular I have two tips:
Quick yet Calculated: Food looks better hot and fresh! And for drinks, cold and bubbly! Capture that first pour, even if you have to pour it a few times. Have a plan, be calculated, and execute quickly.
Let Food be Food. Crumbs happen, cakes do not cut perfectly, and so on. Food looks better the way it is meant to be. I always say, do not clean up every little issue because it will start to look fake. Just let it be! Same goes for the ice in drinks. It gets melty and that is ok! Cranberries sink to the bottom, as they should. Letting food be food really speaks to your viewers. It looks believable and obtainable. For example, check out the cranberry brie crostini below. You see that little red spot on the bread? Well, that is what happens when you make a bunch of these, right?! I do not use photoshop nor do I touch up any of my photos where as some people may want to get rid of that little red spot. I think it makes it look more real, because it is real! I just ate two of these!
To pair with my mocktail I sauteed cranberries with a touch of Fre Alcohol-Removed Sparkling Brut to give it a little sweetness. I put this compote on a slice of toasted baguette and brie.
More is better. I joke that if I ate portions the size of the photos I would be sick, or still look pregnant! When photographing a plate, you usually put a lot more food on it than you would if you were actually serving yourself, it tends to photograph better this way. Also, try a smaller plate - the more plate that is showing the less focus you will have on the food.
Color is your Friend. You would be amazed by what a simple herb garnish could do to a light colored cocktail and how a splash of pepper on soup can make or break the photo. When I think of creating food I always think about the colors. Try contrasting colors and let the food shine. I love how the red pops on the white of the brie and clear of the bubbly.
Remember the Details: Utensils, glasses, napkins and more. This gives the food good size perspective and sure makes your holiday photos shine. Look for straws, coasters, cocktail stirrers, even wine corks and bottles. Adding these elements in your photos with catch your viewers attention and showcase the food.
Simple is good. Overhead shots always look nice so do not get too caught up in angles. A good rule of thumb is to shoot at a 45-degree angle and a 90-degree angle but get creative, interesting perspectives can come out of playing with the angle of the shot.
And finally, have fun! Experiment! Enjoy and follow others! I am constantly inspired and come up with new ideas for food photography after seeing the unique and beautiful things that my fellow food bloggers are doing on their social media platforms like Instagram. So look around, gather inspiration from anything and I look forward to seeing your fresh and new ways to feature your dishes this holiday season!
I am having so much fun creating mocktails with Fre wines. Stay tuned for more recipes this holiday season, including my mocktail margarita for the new year! To learn more Fre wines and their process, please click here!
This post is sponsored by Fre Wines. The content and opinions expressed here are my own.