Have you ever seen a gorgeous picture of vegetarian and vegan food, and wondered how the photographer accomplished it? Many of us love our veggie-filled dishes but find that the photos come out bland or unappetizing. I’ve learned a few tricks that have made my own photographs of my favorite vegan and vegetarian dishes look gorgeous and enticing. I want to share these tips with you!
Vibrant Colors Make Vibrant Pictures
You might already know that eating foods that are naturally bright and vibrant is good for you. Rich colors usually indicate that a food is full of healthy nutrients. Did you also figure out that these same colorful foods will make for gorgeous photographs? Think about your food as colorful shapes on an abstract painting, and manipulate the ingredients so that you have a pleasing composition. This means that you not only need to have foods that are bright and full of color, but you also need to think like an artist!
In order for the texture of the food in your photograph to come across in a pleasing manner, you will need to play with your zoom feature. Zoom in on your food enough so that you can capture contrasting textures. The shiny, smooth and glistening surface of a balsamic glazed portobello mushroom will contrast well with the fine folds of arugula lettuce. If your food doesn’t have contrasting textures, change it slightly so that it does! In my previous example, if those two textures were not sided by side, or were not visible, I would enhance or rearrange them (I might pour on more balsamic glaze, for example) until the contrast was apparent.
Raw Ingredients Inspire
Vegans and vegetarians love the story of their food. I have found that this is one of the reasons why vegans and vegetarians eat the food that they do! They actually love to know where the food came from, and the entire process that went into creating a meal. I use this information to create shots that are very pleasing. I like to include raw ingredients in a shot of a finished product in a way that shows off the healthy and whole qualities of the ingredient. This enhances the story of the food and adds depth to the photograph. When I started Noelle Neff Photography, I focused on wedding photography, and it really taught me to try to capture whole stories within one photograph. As I’ve branched out into food photography, this idea has stuck with me. I am glad that it has!
The Right Background Will Make All The Difference
When you choose a background, think about two different levels. One level is content, and the other is form. In terms of content, you need a background that speaks to vegetarian and vegan ideals. Words like pure, clean, rustic, holistic, and earthy are great words to keep in mind. In addition, think about the form of your background from a visual perspective. Will the textures amplify the textures already present in the subject matter? How about the colors and shapes? Squint your eyes for help with this step, as it will allow you to look at the textures, shapes, and colors from a purely visual perspective.
For food photography, it is best to have the food take up a large part of your composition. Food photography is focused on the food, of course, so be sure that the ingredients, fork-full, or meal is the most prominent aspect of your composition. You can do this by making it the biggest part of the photograph, purely in terms of the amount of space taken up. You can also do this by blurring the background images, or you can accomplish this by placing the food at a focal point within your composition.
I hope that these tips help you to take gorgeous photos of your favorite vegetarian and vegan dishes!