Top Food Photography Trends

  • 01 of 06

    Look Beyond the Plate

    Food Photograph Trends
    Dan Cretu / Cutura / Getty Images

    Every year new trends in food photography emerge. In 2016 we will see a greater emphasis on storytelling. In order to set themselves apart, photographers, bloggers, and brands must present more than just a beautifully plated dish. Readers and customers are looking beyond the plate and want to see the story around it. More intricate lighting that implies a certain atmosphere, animated gifs, and overhead shots of food scenes are supporting the overall theme of storytelling. 

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  • 02 of 06

    Tell a Story

    cultura rm / jeremy rice / Getty Images

    We will see an increase of images that hint at more than just delicious food. A table scene tells a story through props, food, and people and can place us into a different world. But so can an individual dish, with a thoughtfully placed prop, which can tell a story about the dinner and the experience she has. 

    Tip: Pay equal attention to your food, lighting, props, composition, and the story behind your image. Do all the pieces make sense together and add to the atmosphere and story you want to tell?

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  • 03 of 06

    Experiment with Lighting

    Dramatic Light
    Cultura RM / Inigo Kraber / Getty Imagegs

    Soft diffused light has dominated food photography for well over a decade. It did not matter what kind of food or mood, everything was photographed with soft light. In photography, soft light means that you can catch all the details, even the ones in the deepest shadows and brightest highlights. More dramatic natural and artificial light with black shadows and blown-out highlights, can lose detail but add drama, dimension, and depth to compositions. More experimental lighting techniques have started to come back to the scene and will get more attention.

    Tip: Experiment and take control of your light. Don’t rely on natural light and learn how to use and manipulate artificial light.

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  • 04 of 06

    Build Animated Gifs

    Pouring Tea
    Duncan Davis / Getty Images

    Animated gifs started to enter the mainstream food photography scene when Instagram allowed its users to add fifteen-second motion pieces into their stream. They usually show one or two elements in an action loop, while the rest of the image remains still. Picture tea being poured into a cup and only the stream is animated. Animated gifs can also be used to show stop motion. This is an ideal strategy for how-to clips. Each step of your recipe can be in a different frame. 

    Tip: Instagram now offers a gift app called Boomerang to build your gif. You can also try DSCO or use Adobe Photoshop.

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  • 05 of 06

    Overhead in Social

    Instagrammer at Work
    Hero Images / Getty Images

    Because cell-phone and most entry-level point-and-shoot cameras have a fairly wide-angle lens, shooting food close-up or at an angle usually leads to distorted images. Most users have noticed that and are photographing their food either from overhead or head-on. As long as your phone is parallel to the food, either vertically (think burger from the side) or horizontally (think pizza from overhead) your image will not be distorted. 

    Tip: Until the lenses improve, or you add different lenses to your kit, we’ll keep seeing the overhead shot of an avocado toast in all our social media feeds.

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  • 06 of 06

    Keep an Eye on the Food Scene

    Food Delivery
    Eco Images / Getty Images

    As new and new-again trends emerge in the food industry they will definitely have an impact on food photography. Forbes just released their Food Trends for 2016. And I could not say it better: “What will 2016 be like? More mobile. More delivery. More artisan. More curated. More delivered. More nutrition. More expensive.”