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As you travel you’ll come across some incredible food. Food that not only tastes delicious but also looks amazing. Trying to capture pictures of food is definitely not the easiest but there are ways to have more success. Here are some photography tips on taking pictures of food when you travel.

1. Use natural light

When taking pictures of food then try and use natural light whenever possible and also stay in the shade. Natural light tends to be the nicest colour temperature and can produce a nice balanced look without nasty shadows. When trying to find a good spot either sit outside or by a window. Also, avoid taking pictures with harsh sunlight shining directly on the food.

Natural Light on food
Natural Light on food

2. Use a wide aperture or portrait mode

To add focus to your shot use a wide aperture such as f/4-f/2.8. On most cameras you can set this easily by switching to aperture priority (AV or A). If you don’t have a camera with this option or prefer to use your phone then try and use portrait mode. This is a setting on many new cameras such as the OnePlus 6T (and many other models) and will create a beautiful shot with a blurred background (also called a Bokeh).

Food image taken with a shallow focus - wide aperture
Food image taken with a shallow focus – wide aperture

3. Spend time to position items and supplementary items

Adding supplementary items and other table items can enhance your food image. Such as side dishes, drinks, condiments and other items. This can make the dining scene a lot more interesting compared to just a single isolated item. However, it is nice to get variations of certain dishes when you travel.

Using dinner elements with food to enhance the shot
Using dinner elements with food to enhance the shot

4. Take a flat lay shot

Flat lay shots are fun, but can take a while to set up. For these kinds of images simply position the different items of food, glasses etc and then move your camera or phone high and try and keep it parallel to the table. Next snap away, checking occasionally until you have the shot you’re after. The image below is an excellent example by travel photographer Francesco @francinnocenti on Instagram.

Flat Lay Food Shot by francinnocenti
Flat Lay Shot by francinnocenti

5. Choose food items which are tidy, or particularly photogenic

Some food such as sushi, ice creams, fruit and other items are particularly photogenic. If you stay in a nice high-end hotel or dine at mid-range to higher level restaurants they will make a lot of effort to present the food in a beautiful way. In fact sometimes it’s hard to eat the food because the presentation looks so nice.

Beautiful carved fruit
Beautifully carved fruit
Beautiful desserts in a restaurant
Beautiful desserts in a restaurant

6. Take pictures of markets

Markets can be fantastic subjects for travel photography and in some destinations, you’ll find a fantastic selection of opportunities. Such as fruit, spices, interesting critters and other items. To capture clean images try and isolate the items or crop at a later stage when editing the photographs.

Picture of Spices at a Market
Picture of Spices at a Market

7. Take pictures of street food

Street food can be a major part of a country’s culture and as well as trying the delicious items on offer, it’s also a good idea to capture such images. To try and take a nice shot, consider getting close and using a wide aperture to isolate your subject a bit.

Street Food
Street Food

8. Capture Action Shots

Sometimes capturing the action or scenes from the food being made can also be interesting. You may have to increase your ISO and take images at a faster shutter speed to freeze the movement for these types of images.

Food and action shots
Action shots
The end result of a dish in Japan
The end result of a dish in Japan

Mike Clegg

Editor-in-chief at travelanddestinations.com
Mike is the primary author of Travel and Destinations. He is from the UK but spends most of his time travelling to new places and then shares his pictures and experiences through Instagram and this blog... [Read full bio]
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