Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Learning Food Photography

Date: 14 May 2011
Event: Alpha Food Photography Workshop
Location: Social@KL, G Tower Hotel, Jln. Tun Razak, KL

 Group photo with other participants, En. Azhar & John, the organiser. (Photo credit to John Shum, Sony Malaysia)
I've got a chance to attend a workshop on Food Photography organised by Sony Malaysia recently for Alpha users.  Held at a swanky Social@KL restaurant, in G Tower hotel, we've been given few lessons on how to shoot food photography more effectively by a professional food photographer, En. Azhar Ariff.  He is the Managing Photographer of Fotomomo Studio and one of the photographer for Time Out KL and Expatriate Lifestyle magazines.

 The 4 dishes.
During this workshop, we've been given the chances to shoot 4 dishes specially prepared by the restaurant. 
 Azhar is busy setting up the lights for the shots.
En. Azhar started with some basic knowledge on food photography.  There are 3 types of food photography:
    a. Packaging
    b. Advertising
    c. Editorial 

The 1st two would normally require every details of the foods to be seen while the last would allow for shallow depth-of-field kind of shots.

 The setup used for the 1st dish.  The Mac Pro notebook wasn't part of it and was meant to show the sample shot taken earlier by the pro on the same dish.
The angle of shots could be from 3 different positions:
   a. Standing
   b. Table-level
   c. Aerial/Top.

Light and shadow positions are important aspects for food photography. Always ensure the food is shot with shadow facing towards the camera as shown below.  It appears that we would require several trial and error steps to get the best shadow positions and 'reasonable' lighting for the shot.

  My shot on the 1st dish.
Another tip is don't forget to start with an insurance shot which is a 'loose' shot without any cropping of the food and its plate.  We could crop this shot later in case the rest of the shots are not good.

 My good insurance shot as praised by En. Azhar.
Also, it is safe to mostly filled the frame and avoid empty spaces around it.  For the food arrangement, always focus the shot on the main item on the food, in this case, the tuna, instead on the condiments and cheese flakes around it as below.

 Fill the frame.

In addition, it is good to vary our shots with both vertical (portrait) or horizontal(landscape) orientation.
 Vertical orientation shot.

For food on rectangular plate, it is better to have the close-up of the food rather than shot of the entire plate.
 Food on rectangular plate.


 An Aerial shot of food.

A Table-level shot of food.

In a nutshell, I've learn quite a lot from the pro on a very niche area of photography.  Thank you very much to En. Azhar who always willing to share tips and tricks on food photography as well as provide good critics on the shots we had.

One final tips he had given was:
Sometimes, the food we have is not as presentable as we wanted. Therefore, food photo retouching can also "beautify" the shot. Retouching involves cleaning up messy plate liners, spills, and food imperfections.


  1. Hi Raz, my name is Jerry. One of the manager at Social KL @ GTower. Super Cool pics by the way :) FYI I have posted your blog on Social KL facebook. you can view it @!! Please help to share through your facebook if can, also please help to get your friends to join Social KL FB if can too! Cheers! Jerry - 0196022863

  2. TQ Jerry for the comment.

  3. Hi, raz, , my name md tan Othman from restaurant grand seri Garuda emas address no 176 jalan raja Abdullah kampong baru 50350 kual lumpur, I need to invited you for discuss and review our food, please call me at 60193330059, thanks....