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The Basics Of Food Photography With Meera Fathima

Updated: Sep 5


Shot by Meera for our client Saleem Javed, Delhi

If you spend your late nights drooling over Instagram-worthy pictures of a perfectly baked brownie, chances are you are looking at hours’ worth of work put in by a team of food stylists and photographers who made a regular brownie look the way it did.

But doesn’t great food look great? Well, not really. Getting food to look good and appetising is a whole new ball game. A food photography team sets a narrative where the food is the main character while choosing the complementary backgrounds, props and lighting to communicate the tone of the brand involved or rather catch the viewers’ attention. These guys are responsible for your Instagram-induced hunger pangs at 2 am.

We got talking to food photographer Dr. Meera Fathima, about how she got into the business (quite literally) and the tips she would share with a budding photographer who would like to get started in their food photography journey.

Keeping it basic

While starting, Meera suggests using a basic camera or even a phone camera to understand photography. Understand basic angles, colours, textures, and lighting and try experimenting with things around your house. By doing so you get a better idea of how certain food looks better from certain angles.

You can also try re-creating images on Pinterest to the best of your ability and find a learning curve in the process.

Working with natural light

In your initial days, it's best to work with natural light coming from a window or a balcony. Although natural light has its limitations in terms of availability, it is best to work with natural light before investing in expensive artificial lights.


Angles

Angles play a crucial role in food photography. Pick your angles depending on what you wish to show the viewers through the photo. Some basic angles you would like to work with are the head-on angle, the overhead angle and the 45-degree angle.

In a nutshell, the head-on angle is shot at a zero-degree angle or simply put, the camera is directly pointed towards the object. This kind of angle works best with foods that have height like a burger or a milkshake.

The overhead angle as the name suggests is shot at a 90-degree angle; great for shooting a spread of food. The 45-degree angle is a sweet spot for shooting food, capturing a bit of depth and height of the subject in frame.

Shot by Meera for our client Fruiten


Setting up the frame/ styling

Meera recommends creating a mood board before the shoot which helps you decide the colour and tone of the story or brand. Her planning routine also includes sketching her planned frames for the shoot beforehand. In short, having a clear idea of how the frame looks can save time and effort while shooting. This can also include picking out the props that may complement the dish beforehand.



Editing

Your raw images may look pleasing without any edits, but a small retouch on basic elements may change your game altogether. Meera recommends adjusting temperature, shadows, highlights and sharpness during your initial edits to understand how small adjustments to them can redefine the photo, giving it a more polished look.


Patience

Another important factor in perfecting food photography is patience. Although many Youtube videos and image references are great for inspiration, it is patience and practice that will truly help you find your style. Meera, who also started by learning off the internet, has now become a household name in the food photography industry in Kerala, and she credits her success to her perseverance to learn.

Meera Fathima is a freelance food/product stylist and photographer based in India and UAE and has been collaborating with food on Projects for more than a year now. On working with Fudd, she said,

“It's always been a pleasure to work with Fudd. I began my collaboration with the team for the restaurant Saleem Javed and then later on for the brand Fruiten and others, and it has been nothing short of an amazing experience. The creative head of Fudd, Adil Latheef, has always given me a clear vision of how the brand wants to be portrayed, the food has to be displayed and the emotion that has to captured, which has helped immensely with the execution of the shoot. The Fudd team is extremely easy to work with as they deeply understand the food industry - its trends and habits and I look forward to collaborating with them in the future.” So do we, Meera!



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