Without professional food photography, food and beverage brands would struggle to tap into the power of “appetite appeal.” This technique describes the mouth-watering effect that gives the customer a glimpse of your product or suggests what your product can help create. By making the food the “hero” of the spot, appetite appeal attempts to make a hungry person want to drop what they’re doing and eat.
While the predominance of appetite appeal can vary from brand to brand, today, with the rise of simplistic and minimalist approaches to food packaging, it’s often easy enough for a product to show through its wrapping to entice a customer. But to differentiate one product from another and truly make an impact, you should let your food photography show the consumer a curated image that’ll let their minds wander as they consider the possibilities of what enticing food looks and tastes like.
Food photography has become increasingly popular in recent years, as it can be used to effectively capture and showcase the beauty of food. From professional chefs to amateur foodies alike, food photography is an effective tool for marketing a product or brand. Appealing to the most credentialed branding experts using high-tech equipment and micro-influencers with a simple smartphone camera alike, there are plenty of tips and tricks that can help anyone take amazing photos of their dishes.
However, as full-fledged marketing is much more complex, if delivering the highest-quality food images and influencing consumers to buy or try your products is your priority, consider the following seven tips to enhance your brand image.
Sometimes, an entirely new brand design is all you need to reinvent your product. Take a look at one of our case studies and see the food photography that makes the product look straight out of a high-end restaurant.
Start by identifying your hero object—or your main product image— and enhance it with props that’ll improve the appearance and help tell the story of the food’s preparation. This could be something like herbs, glasses, fabrics, and linens that allude to the dish’s origin or season it’s commonly served. For example, imagine a salmon filet surrounded by artistically placed ice cubes that refer to its identity as a cold-water species.
Proper lighting is the most essential element in any form of photography. Natural lighting conditions are preferred for food photography for several reasons: it provides a strong, even glow that doesn’t tint colors in an unnatural way, and it’s bright enough to bring out the most interesting textures without creating harsh shadows.
Because lighting can change from the simplest movements and techniques, food photographers should avoid putting the food in direct sunlight, lighting from the front, and using an in-camera flash, no matter how bad the lighting. This also helps keep an appropriate white balance that guarantees you won’t have an odd color cast.
Also avoid the drab lighting of a large soft box. Think of how colors outside look dull and grey on days where the sky is covered with clouds. Compare that to the colors of the same things on a bright sunny day. Smaller light sources bring out the colors (like the sun).
Framing, or composition, refers to your photograph’s overall arrangement of items. Along with identifying your hero object, as you take your perfect food shots, consider techniques like the rule of thirds, where the most important objects intersect. Additionally, set yourself apart from the competition with interesting angles that carefully influence your storytelling. Consider experimenting with more overhead shots and negative space, for example.
Before pulling the camera out, carefully craft your plate in the most stylistic and appealing way. Think of the best restaurant experiences you’ve had and how your plate was arranged. Did you have a relatively simple food item, like a salad or sandwich, suddenly appear to be the most gourmet cuisine you’ve ever had? Approach your food styling in the same way.
A smartphone might be sufficient enough for Instagram, but if you’re aiming to have your food or beverage stand out in a grocery store or commercial, you’ll need high-quality equipment that’ll simplify the process and deliver efficient results. This includes a white sheet or reflector that’ll bounce light waves back on your subject, a source of artificial lighting that can help simulate natural light, a DSLR camera, and other tools to sort out common issues like camera shake.
Color is one of the most powerful tools for influencing consumer decisions, and considering how color psychology affects food, avoid colors like gray, blue, and black unless necessary. These colors are the worst for stimulating appetite when compared to red or yellow, and tend to be associated with stale or dried-out items. There are some exceptions, of course, like with certain candies and desserts, but overall, color is one of the most creative ways to bring out interesting textures and patterns.
Professional photographers know that editing software like Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop is necessary. But you shouldn’t go overboard with editing, especially to the point that your food looks unnatural and overly manufactured. Use these tools to do things like enhance the lighting, sharpen or soften the image as needed, and increase the saturation.
Overall, there are many ways to take your food photography to the next level. If you’re seeking a reputable company that can capture your food or beverage product so that it entices consumers, look no further than DePersico Creative. Our family-owned design studio knows how to increase the appetite with professional food photography that says it all. We’ve worked with companies like Idahoan and DaVinci to help customers immediately know what they’re buying and make simplified, quicker purchases.
Challenges with capturing quality food photos? We have creative solutions. Schedule a free consultation today.