3 must know Angles for great food photography
Updated: Feb 23, 2020
There are three camera angles that work incredibly well when it comes to shooting food and drink. Now this is not a set rule, it is just what I find tends to be the case for creating great looking food and drink photography. Which angle to use is completely up to you but normally depends on the type of food or drink you are shooting and the style you are intending to achieve.
Below I have outlined what each angle is, when you might use it and an example of when I have used the technique within my own photographic work. I hope this helps inspire you!
Angle One: Straight On
This angle is all about getting down to the level of your food and shooting straight on. This draws the eye of the viewer down to the same level, creating emphasis on the size, detail and shape of the side of the food. This works particularly well when combined with a larger aperture (less than f5.6) as this will create a shallow depth of field. This will heighten the emphasis on the side of the food or the drink in the shot and the background will blur out.
I've shot these doughnuts from the side capturing the detail in the shape of the doughnut stack and the texture of the icing. This angle works best for items of food where the detail is at the side. For example burgers, pints, champagne, pancake stacks, bottles etc. It is also very useful when photographing small food items and it stops the food getting lost within the shot.
Angle Two: 45 degrees
As the title suggests, for this technique the camera is at 45 degrees between the top and the side of the food. This results in a top down angle that still shows the side of the product. This angle works best if you are shooting something that has height but also has detail on the top that you do not wish to lose by shooting straight on. For example, in the image below I have photographed a stack of pancakes. I decided to use the 45 degree angle to make sure that I captured all of the detail of the toppings yet still captured the height of the pancake stack and the detail of the syrup dripping down the edge. The 45 degree angle also works well if you have a spread of items on the table and you want to draw the attention and focus to one item yet still have context in the background
This angle works really well for food photography as it is the viewpoint we are used to looking at food when we sit down to eat it! This means that it places the viewer directly within that situation and invites them to enjoy the food on offer creating a more natural viewpoint for a food scene.
Angle Three: Flat down
The third angle is a completely flat down, birds eye view. It is sometimes referred to as a 'Flat Lay'. This completely flattens the objects that you are photographing and draws all attention to the detail shape and colour from the top view. This is very useful for food and drink where the detail is at the top. For example: pizza, cinnamon buns, coffees, bowls of food etc. This third angle is incredibly popular these days with social media and is a great way to photograph your food as it is attention grabbing by the way it creates a viewpoint we are not used to seeing food from yet also allows a lot of room for creative styling and artful composition.
What is great about this method is that you can lay out a lot of food and multiple dishes and photograph it all at once using composition and props to add something extra to your image. This photograph below is a shot of chocolate truffles set up in a home-made style. By shooting this image from above I've managed to capture the the composition of the food in a natural setting really getting the story across of the situation in which that food has been made or will be enjoyed and inviting the viewer in to share in that experience.
Now as I mentioned at the start these angles are not set rules and certainly not the only way to shoot food but they are tried and tested angles which are great starting points that will make your photography look and feel more professional and show off the food in the best way.
For more hints and tips for creating stunning food photography check out my blog post on 'Experimenting with creative composition'.
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