THE ART OFInstagrammable eating

If you love documenting your culinary achievements on social media, we’ve got just the thing for you – expert photographer and Instagram sensation Beata Lubas (@bealubas) is here to teach us how to create stunning images of food, with exclusive tips and imagery from her latest book How to photograph food.

Eating is a multisensory experience, and so is great food photography. But in photography there is no sound, smell, touch or taste to support your message, so you need to get to your viewer’s taste buds through their eyes. You do this by drawing attention to visual details in your images to wake up their imagination. Your viewer is not there with you, so you’ve got to show them what you see, what you experience, what’s important and what they should know about the dish you are photographing.

SHOOTING OVERHEAD IS GREAT FOR STORYTELLING…

Overhead images do very well on Instagram. No surprise really, as they are extremely effective in telling a story. A messy scene of a pie being made or a beautifully set table captured from above – these type of images are a feast for the eye and help to evoke emotions. As you are about to photograph a dish, think about including ingredients that have gone into it in your composition. If you are photographing a strawberry & vanilla pavlova, adding a vanilla pod somewhere in the frame will help to visualise that flavour. You could also include a few of the ingredients that a dish might be served with – food photography is all about teasing the senses and helping your viewer imagine what this dish tastes like.

DON’T LET THE CERAMICS DISTRACT FROM YOUR DISH!

Food images should always be about (you guessed it) the food most of all, so be very careful when choosing your ceramics. Handmade items with a lovely texture and neutral earthy colours become a beautiful frame for it – white, grey, beige, brown or black are colours that will work with all types of dishes, highlighting your recipe and making it stand out. Be aware that saturated colours, as well as busy patterns, can distract from the main star of our image – and that’s what we don’t want, right?

REPETITION IS A GREAT TECHNIQUE FOR EYE-CATCHING IMAGES.

Repeating shapes or colours in our compositions creates an eye-pleasing echo. This simple technique is a great recipe to add a wow factor to our images. It’s what makes our work more arresting as the eye focuses on the beauty of shapes, patterns and visual flow. As most of the ceramics we use have a circular shape, think about repeating that shape in your composition, maybe choosing different sizes of that shape to add more interest. When it comes to colour, think about colours that are in your dish then repeat that colour in your composition, for example in the background.

TAKE A SLICE OUT, SCOOP UP A SPOONFUL, DIG A FORK IN…

It’s what tempts the senses and help to tease our lovely viewer! Food photography should make others hungry so don’t be afraid of a little mess – drips, droplets and crumbs make our images more authentic! (As long as they are not out of control…)

EYE-CATCHING COLOUR

Make the colour of the food pop with the HSL (short for hue, saturation and luminance) panel in Lightroom and desaturate the rest! This is my favourite editing trick for extra eye-catching images! The eye is always attracted to rich colours, so by making sure that the colour of the food looks delicious and by desaturating the colour of the background or any other element in your frame, we will help to direct the viewer’s attention right to the food.

All photography by Beata Lubas.