5 Top Tips For Better Food Photography On Vacation

Food photography seems to be a national pastime these days, but its one that draws great criticism from those who just want to sit down and eat. At the Walt Disney World Resort it's not at all uncommon for the cameras to come out as soon as plates arrive at the table. Still the question on many a mind is "why take pictures of your food?" For me the question is an easy one to answer, fun food is part of the Disney experience. Taking food pictures on vacation helps to tell your story back home, inspire others to try news things, and create memories of why you should return again. Here's 5 Top Tips For Better Food Photography On Vacation.


5 Top Tips For Better Food Photography On Vacation5 Top Tips For Better Food Photography On Vacation


Choose Your Subject Wisely

While some people take pictures of their every bite, you better believe there is a lot of trashing those images in post production. Choose wisely what you shoot, you want to capture the special culinary experiences you can't get just anywhere, but average eats won't feel bad if you pass on the opportunity. Mickey Bars, Turkey Legs, and Dole Whips have cult like followings in part because of great food photos. Choose foods with pretty packaging, bright colors, and super presentation. Plus - being selective allows you more time to just eat and enjoy.

Rule of thumb: If you can see yourself trying to describe a dish to someone back home, take a picture.

Example Image: Sushi from Morimoto Asia Street Food make for a bright and colorful photo capturing the spirit of the restaurant.


Capture Interesting SubjectsCapture Interesting Subjects


Give It Some Style

Make sure everything in your picture is in the right spot. You'll frequently see me moving napkins, straw wrappers, and water glasses around on the table so that my pictures don't come out a mess. Being aware of the composition of your shot will make the food look even better. If you're shooting where the background will be seen, make sure there is something interesting behind the food.

I'm also not above styling the food on my plate. While presentation is key in fine dining establishments, the cooks at a quick service spot don't care if your food is camera ready. Don't feel bad if you need to rearrange things just a touch to get a better view of your meal. Most plates have a better side when it comes to visualization, so giving it a turn will help you finds your perfect picture.

Rule of thumb: Remove clutter from the background, find the food's best side.

Example Image: Arrange your table to best show off your plates,
or cups. In this picture I set the menu up on end to add background interest.


Style Your Table For Better CompositionStyle Your Table For Better Composition


No Flash Ever

Flash creates and washes out the color of even the most inspired culinary delight. And - I shouldn't even have to mention that it ruins the ambiance of a restaurant and bothers other guests. Natural light is your best friend when it comes to food photography. With so many Disney dining venues offering outside seating, it makes for fantastic pictures. If you are eating indoors, ask for a table near the window. If you must use artificial light in a restaurant, ask your dinning companions if they can use their phones to provide some soft spotlighting on the dish.

Rule of thumb: Natural daylight highlights color and texture for yum-worthy photo stories.

Example Image: Sitting near the windows enhances the lighting in your photos bringing out color and texture.


Sit Near Windows For Natural LightSit Near Windows For Natural Light


Shoot Before You Eat

It took years but my family and best friends are trained not to eat until I've finished with the photography. Yes - I've caught my fair share of flack when they've been hungry, but they didn't starve. The best pictures will show your plate fresh and nicely prepared, before you started eating. You can always take more pictures with bites gone that show off the inside, or a particularly cheesy feature, but a prepared dish will always look nicer than a half eaten one.

Rule of thumb: No one wants to see a half eaten burger. Pics first - or it didn't happen.

Example Image: Before or after, food looks nicer if you shoot before you eat.


Food Looks Tastier Before You Take A BiteFood Looks Tastier Before You Take A Bite
After I Took A Bite It Just Looked MessyAfter I Took A Bite It Just Looked Messy


Be Creative With Your Camera Work

The view from where you are sitting is not going to be the best for your pictures, get creative with your camera work. Get in close on your subject letting food take up the entire frame. I often shoot from a 35% angle, just a little over the height of a salt shaker. This gives me the opportunity to use other food or table settings in the background. Finally, build a graphic shot from directly above. This method is perfect for bowls of food, pizzas, and images that include tablescapes.

Rule of thumb: Shoot from a different perspective than just looking down at your plate.

Example Image: My go-to style is up close at a 35-45 degree angle.


Great Light But Still Missing SomethingGreat Light But Still Missing Something
Get In Close And Find The Best SideGet In Close And Find The Best Side


No matter what delicious Disney dishes you plan on capturing during your vacation #FoodPorn photography is totally a thing, so you might as well make the most of it. Do you have food photography tips to share? Leave a comment below!

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