What many people remember about food is of course the incredible smells and tastes. However, most of us eat with our eyes first, taking in the beauty of our food before we indulge. Luckily, what better month to celebrate our food than during the month of May, which is national photography month! When it comes to capturing the food on camera it can be challenging. Some of New Mexico’s most tasty foods aren’t the brightest colors or even the most attractive things your eyes could see, and it is important that you recognize the following expert tips on how to properly capture photos of your food and drinks! There are also some hot spots throughout New Mexico that make for good food photography.
8 Tips To Capture Epic Photos Of Delicious Foods & Drinks
1. Natural Light
Compared to fluorescent light, natural light will organically create a very dramatic feel. Using natural light will allow the ambient light to be white, which is most effective during the middle of the day and is the best light you can ask for when taking pictures. Although natural sunlight is best, be aware of the sunbeam, which will introduce shadows.
A perfect place to take advantage of natural light would perhaps be a restaurant patio, like that of Garduños at Old Town in Hotel Albuquerque. With an open patio, greenery and even water fountains, it’s sure to be camera ready.
2. Flash or No Flash
Be aware when choosing to add flash to your pictures. Although flash may be needed in some environments, it is usually avoided unless really necessary. Flash has the ability making your pictures even more unevenly lit than before and could make the foreground of the photo to be brighter than the rest. Another option is a white background that produces what is known as bounce flash, this can be done by placing a white sheet of paper behind your food or drink. This would allow the light to be carried from a different direction than the lens sees, so it will make shadows that the lens sees, which sculpts and shows the proper curves. Be aware that flash could also create so much light that it will take away from the important textures of the foods or drinks. Most situations call for no flash; however, if the area you’re in is dark it may be necessary.
Casa Esencia, one of Albuquerque’s most unique nightclubs, is a dark atmosphere that would make a great spot try out your built in flash. Whether you’re enjoying your cocktail inside or out on the patio, the flash can save you from taking a darkened and unrecognizable photo.
Not all foods are complete by themselves, a little garnish could go a long way when you’re trying to capture just right picture. By taking a photo before and after using a garnish you’ll notice that a simple herb or side of bread can add some needed style. Also, something like cutlery can make the picture balanced and more presentable. A garnish is particularly necessary when it comes to monochromatic foods that are not clearly seen, such as dipping items like hummus.
A restaurant known for their impeccable plate presence is Antiquity. Antiquity offers a quiet and intimate setting that could be the perfect place to snap a photo of the perfectly garnished Filet Migon.
People tend to focus so much on the food they are capturing, that they don’t notice what is going on around it. Any added background can draw eyes in and make an appealing shape for them to follow. When choosing the background of your image it is best to choose white or muted colors that won’t be to overwhelming for the photo. It can be as simple as carrying a blank sheet of white paper to set up behind your food, or if you’re taking the photo from a high angle, a flat piece of wood could be complimenting under a dish.
A chic option to place in front of a white background could be a colorful entrée salad from the organically produce restaurant, Vinaigrette. Located in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, Vinaigrette Salad Bistro makes for the perfect whimsical atmosphere for a picture.
5. Selective Focus
When taking your photo one of the most popular options in making your food stand out is to selectively focus on one particularly appetizing part of the dish and let the rest blur a bit in the background. Also known as Bokeh, which renders the out-of-focus parts of the pictures as soft blurs of light. These options help get rid of any unimportant background images and simply focuses on what you want your viewers to notice. Shooting top-down is an option that flattens the image, making it easy for everything to be in focus, as if it was on a canvas. Remember you can control your depth of field with your lens and the distance you are from your food.
6. Multiple Shots
Snapping the perfect picture could be a challenge, that is why it is important to take a lot of pictures. It is always a good problem to have too many pictures to choose from! Just avoid taking pictures from the same angle. It is best to be playful when it comes to choosing the right angle. Directly over, tilted or straight on from the edge of the table, you won’t know the best option until you try it out for yourself. Taking it to the extreme of sitting on your chair or even placing your food on the floor could make a huge difference!
Albuquerque’s most authentic Mexican taqueria and tequila bar, Zacatecas, makes for a great option to try out multiple shots of one of their many Build-Your-Own Margaritas or any of their South of the Border Specialties. Their organic ingredients and cross cultural atmosphere will offer a variety of options!
7. Know When To Say No
Just like everywhere else in the world, there are some places that may not be the best environment to snap a picture. Whether it be the sound, flash or your bodily distractions, it could come off as disrespectful to those around. Particularly when shooting in a foreign space, make sure you are able to read people’s body language and know when not to take a photo! Perhaps it is best to get a feel of the environment before you think about setting up for your photo-shoot.
8. Practice Makes Perfect
The most important tip of all is to practice, practice, and practice! As you get comfortable with shooting foods and drink you will notice that it will become easier to choose the proper lighting, background, garnish and everything that goes into making the perfect shot. Just remember that all food has the potential to look as good as it tastes and any meal can make a great time to practice!
Here at Heritage Hotel & Resorts, with the help of the New Mexico Department of Tourism, we want to see what makes the Land of Enchantment so wonderful through your eyes! During the month of May we will be celebrating national photography month with an NMTrueHeritage Sweepstakes.
Beginning on May 5, start snapping your best New Mexican True photo and share it with the hashtag #NMTrueHeritage on any social media channel for a chance to win your own NMTrue adventure!
For more information on #NMTrueHeritage Photo Contest Rules, visit: www.hhandr.com/NMtrueheritage.