Your Table Setting Can Make or Break Your Food Photographs – The surroundings that your food appears in are almost as important as the food itself. A well designed setting can give context and mood to your shot so think about it a little. What is in the background and foreground of the food? Do you want to exclude setting altogether and get an extreme close-up of only the food? Are your dishes matched to the colour of the food? Are the surroundings set up to give a balanced composition?
Elements that you would usually find in the context of a meal (condiment holders, cutlery, napkins etc) can be arranged by a stylist to help the composition. Usually you will want these elements to compliment rather than dominate the main subject – the food.
Think About Colours Outside of Your Dish – This goes back to the styling of the scene, but it’s very important to consider the colours of the dishes, cutlery, table, table-cloth etc that surround your main subject as they have such an important impact on the end result.
Colours are usually very deliberately set as either contrasting or complimentary. Both can work very effectively.
On the other hand, some colours just don’t work with food (light green is very tough to use if you’re trying to make the food dish look appetising).
What You Need to Know About Lighting in Food Photography
Perhaps one of the biggest factors that affects the end result of a food photograph is the quality of light. The good news is that because your scene is usually portable you have a fair amount of control over the lighting situation.