FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY 101 WITH 5 INSTAGRAM FOODIES FROM VANCOUVER

One of the most common questions you’ll hear from your significant other is “Where should we go eat?” and most of the time, you don’t have a clue. Lucky for us in this day and age we have Instagram, with over 800 million users worldwide, it’s become the go-to platform to check out new eats. We tend to hear the terms “Foodie” or “Foodstagramer” quite often, and we gravitate towards these individuals because they showcase an array of stunning food photos. But do you ever stop and wonder what goes on behind the scenes of each shot? We took this opportunity to chat with 5 Instagram Foodies from Vancouver, who range from just-getting-started in the game to seasoned Instagram OG to discuss their creative process when approaching the perfect shot!

Josh Boettcher @itsjosheats

How did you get started with food photography? 

I got into food photography when I received my first iPhone and discovered Instagram haha. I would post random photos of whatever I thought was interesting and eventually I realized I mostly enjoyed posting food. Though I didn’t take it seriously until last Christmas when I decided to whip out the old family DSLR and really try to take some decent shots.

Can you describe your creative process when approaching a subject and your perspective of a good photo? 

To me a good photo means capturing food in a bright natural light where the true colour can really shine. I honestly try not to overthink or create too much of a setup because I start doubting myself. Going with my first instinct has worked out in my personal life so I apply it to photography as well.

What camera are you using? What equipment would you suggest for beginners getting into food photography?
I use a Canon T6i for shooting food. I was told that it’s one of the best cameras for beginner’s and I must say that it’s pretty simple to use. I photographed with an iPhone for the longest time and I could never make it work the way other people do. If that works for you then run with it! I’d also suggest buying some sort of light to help illuminate your food in dark restaurants.

What program(s) do you use to edit?

Lightroom is one of my preferred programs to use for editing. I mostly stick to using it on my phone. Also the iPhone photo editor has been a lifesaver and quick brightener more times than I can count!

Favourite cuisine to photograph?

Does brunch count as a favourite cuisine to photograph?! It can be basic and pretty or gluttonous and extreme. Always fun and rarely disappointing!

Tiffaney Lau @bitesofvncvr

How did you get started with food photography? 

Growing up, I had an extreme love for ice cream. I could eat it everyday and not get sick of it. There was a time where I had ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and almost dinner. I guess that’s how I developed my sweet tooth and ever since that, I’ve been attracted to anything sweet. I started to take pictures of foods, and mainly sweets, that I had eaten to commemorate. What initially started out as taking pictures of foods to keep as a memory slowly grew to a collection of almost 1000 pictures. Around this time, I began to think of things I could do with all these pictures of food and I stumbled upon a few food photography accounts on Instagram that immediately stood out to me. I was inspired to start an account of my own, to document all my saved pictures. Instagram soon became a platform where I could document all the food(s) I had eaten and discover new places that I wanted to try, especially new dessert places that opened. Through Instagram I was able to experience a variety of foods, learn more about food photography and most importantly create new friendships.

Can you describe your creative process when approaching a subject and your perspective of a good photo? 

When I’m taking pictures, I try to aim for more creative angles and use as much natural light as possible. When the lighting inside a restaurant is too yellow or dark, I prefer to take my pictures outside, in the natural light. I try not to take my picture against a background that is too “noisy” ie. towards a group of people or objects in the background. My goal is for the picture to attract others to want to try the particular dish, in the same way that it would be attractive to me. My perspective of a good photo is one that is vibrant and eye catching. For me, the photo must focus on the food itself as well as on the colours and plating of the food. I think that a good photo is able to capture the essence of the chef’s creations within the photo itself. It can highlight the freshness and delicacy of the food while capturing what the chef aims to provide their customers and what’s on their mind when they’re cooking.

What camera are you using? What equipment would you suggest for beginners getting into food photography? 

Currently, I’m using a Sony a6000 mirrorless camera with a 35mm f1.8 lens. To beginners who are just getting into food photography, I would suggest using your phones first to test out what type of pictures you like to take. I personally started off taking pictures on my phone when I first began to get into food photography. I personally started off using my phone to take pictures before I started using a camera. Once you do decide that you want to get more serious into food photography and want to invest in a camera, you can decide what type of camera you want to buy.

What program(s) do you use to edit? 

I mainly use an app called Snapseed to edit my photos and sometimes I would use the editing tool on the Instagram app to do a few minor adjustments. I was introduced to an app called Photo Director recently, so I’ve been experimenting on that as well.

Favourite cuisine to photograph? 

If I were to choose a cuisine, it would be Japanese. Anyone that knows me well would be able to tell you that I love sushi. Anytime you ask me what to eat, I would instantly reply “sushi” without hesitating. To me, sushi is like a work of art. The way that the chefs craft their different selections of sushi, the amount of care put into each piece. I especially love the presentation of the Deluxe Chirashi Don from Raisu. And speaking of Japanese cuisine, who would ever forget ramen, which makes for the oh-so-famous “noodle pull”. Although I enjoy photographing Japanese cuisine, my favourite thing to photograph is really desserts. As someone with a sweet tooth, I’m constantly eating desserts and ice cream. I also enjoy taking pictures of desserts more because I find that it is more aesthetically pleasing.

Darren @misohungry_vancouver

How did you get started with food photography? 

I’ve been into portrait photography for a few years, and food photography started as a diary to record what I ate.  As time went on, I started to take food pictures more seriously and also incorporated my knowledge of portrait photography into food, in terms of composition and tone.

Can you describe your creative process when approaching a subject and your perspective of a good photo? 

For me, a good photo is timeless in terms of tone, composition, and ultimately, the feel of the photo. I am always a minimalist so I admire the picture with clean composition, without too many things happening so the food ingredients within a dish can stand out in the picture.

Food photography is like painting; I look at the food and background in terms of colour, contrast , shadows, layers of depth, and negative space. Once I decide the direction of composition of this “painting “, I will start to shoot while ensuring alignments in the picture are spot on.

What camera are you using? What equipment would you suggest for beginners getting into food photography? 

I use a Canon 1 dx and 24-70 lens, basically my portrait equipments ( yes, i still shoot portrait sometimes )

For anyone who is interested in food photography, I would recommend a cell phone with a good camera to play around with the composition, or any small DSLR would be a good start for photography.

What program(s) do you use to edit? 

I use adobe Lightroom for editing.

Favourite cuisine to photograph?

I like to shoot all kinds of beautiful cuisines and my good foodie friends know I am fairly obsessed with round plates/bowls LOL.  I would probably say Japanese food perhaps is my favourite because of its simplicity yet sophistication of the food presentation, as well as the delicate colour and texture of Japanese ceramic plates/bowls.

Nora @nomnomyvr

How did you get started with food photography? 

I purchased a DSL camera over eight years ago and since then I never put it down. I started with landscape and nature and it eventually evolved into food photography, now my passion. I love capturing that perfect shot that tells a story through a beautiful image.

Can you describe your creative process when approaching a subject and your perspective of a good photo? 

Clear and sharp image with contrast and bright colours.

What camera are you using? What equipment would you suggest for beginners getting into food photography? 

I currently use a Sony A7ii with 55mm Zeiss lens to shoot food and lifestyle and aSony A6000 with 19mm Sigma lens to shoot wide-angle images or flat lays.

What program(s) do you use to edit? 

Lightroom and Photoshop (rarely).

Favourite cuisine to photograph?

All types of cuisines but I especially love capturing cocktails and chefs in action.

Emma Choo @vancouverfoodie

How did you get started with food photography? 

Back in high school, when I first started to develop my passion for photography I noticed that I loved capturing food as a subject. Then when Instagram came along, I found that it was the perfect combination of my love for photography and sharing my food adventures with people. I had no idea that it would turn into something so big!

Can you describe your creative process when approaching a subject and your perspective of a good photo? 

As a visual person, I imagine the picture or final product I want to produce before I even touch the shutter button. From there, I play around with the setting in front of me to find that sweet spot (the perfect photo).

In regards to food photography, if your picture does not evoke any emotional response from the viewer, then it will become “just another photo”. A good photo to me is one that invites the viewer into the experience of the photographer.

What camera are you using? What equipment would you suggest for beginners getting into food photography? 

I used to use an Iphone 6, but as of last year I have switched to using my Google Pixel.

For beginners getting into food photography, I would suggest starting with the camera you always have with you – your phone. You won’t have to carry around extra weight and phone cameras these days have great photo quality!

What program(s) do you use to edit? 

I love using VSCO cam for filters and using the editing options on Instagram itself to fine tune.

Favourite cuisine to photograph? 

Japanese. You gotta love ramen, sushi, and all the drool-worthy desserts.

 

Written by: Jason Chow

teamchomp
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