Dark Food Photography
Dark Food Photography, mysterious and beautiful at the same time, is a pleasant tangle of light and dark. The ‘Dark & Moody’ photographs also convey a sense of secrecy. Foods embraced in contrasting darkness is a feast for both eyes and heart.
Dark food photographs instantly captures viewer’s attention, making them ideal for magazine publishing and advertisements. So, photographers often come across such demands of their clients. No wonder this style is an emerging trend in food photography.
With surrounding darkness, viewer’s focus is directed right onto the subject. Food photography, in general, requires a lot of attention even to the tiniest of details. We have summarized here the best tips and ideas you need to make your next dark food session a success.
1. Contrast is the key
Dark Food photography has a fancier name— Chiaroscuro. This Italian word means ‘light-dark’, so much of contrast in the name itself.
You can try placing light cutlery on a darker background to bring out ample contrast. If the food is dark, like dark chocolate, you should go for reflective plates.
Creatively scattered ingredients, rustic textured, antiques and sometimes old spoons/forks together create a wonderful composition and the contrast is delightful.
2. Props for Dark Food Photography
Using some interesting props is a great way to create a ‘medieval’ aura.
- Antique cutlery
- Dark board
- Inky fabrics
- Antique metal plates
- Old spoon/forks, tableware
- Other old-looking items you can get in kitchen.
3. Low-light Photography
As a food photographer, you must definitely try my personal favorite, low light food photography.
All you need is natural light. I know you don’t have plenty of it indoors, but that’s exactly what we’re looking for. The soft & dim light diffused over the subject result in stunning effects if used smartly.
Amount and hardness of natural light obviously depends upon whether, time of the day and other factors. Evidently, shooting at the time of dawn/dusk or golden hour, which offers gentle, softer light.
4. Choose your Angle
We all want our photographs to capture a moment and convey something out of it. Remember, the position of your camera, while shooting a scene, immensely affects the story you’re trying to tell.
Place your camera where it perfectly captures the size, shape, etc. of your subject. Well-plan your shots beforehand, gather necessary gear and shoot; nobody likes a poorly planned photograph.
5. Imperfect Styling is True perfection
Dark and moody food photography does not involve carefully styled, artificial-looking subject. The subject needs not to look perfect or fresh. Idea is to capture scene as it is, like it actually is there and you can tuck in right away.
Beautiful and naturally messy-looking scene is what we need, but don’t overdo styling or propping. Natural appeal and temptation of food, however, must be preserved.
Used cutlery, untidily placed food, unfinished dishes, messy table, scattered tableware brings the photograph to life.
6. Gear Setting
Tripod: It is advised to use tripod every time you carry out dark food photography.
Longer Exposure: In case of poor lighting, don’t increase ISO sensitivity. It can bring noise in photographs. Instead, you may increase the exposure time to correct values. However, longer exposure time risk shaking of camera. It’s best to use a tripod along with a remote shutter release.
Manual Focusing: Sharp images with ‘well-known’ plane of focus really stand out. It’s best to manually focus the camera. Enjoy the luxury of perfectly still subject (except melting ice-cream).