Here are four essential composition tips that will transform your food photography, adding flow and a natural feel to your photos.
Composition is the part of the food photography process that is usually the most frustrating to students simply because there are so many elements and techniques to think about.
In this article, I joined forces with my friend Bea Lubas to bring you four essential composition tips that we use to make our compositions look natural and flowy.
So here are the four essential composition tips to help you compose your images more easily:
CREATING A SENSE OF FLOW (Anja)
Food photography is unlike a lot of photography genres. We, as food photographers, are there to create a beautiful composition. One thing that I like to create in my composition to make it appear more natural and organic is flow.
Adding flow helps lead the eyes through the composition and to your main subjects. There are many ways to achieve that, but my favorite is using curves.
Curves are imaginary lines that you use to place your elements inside the frame. It’s about positioning your props, dishes, and all the elements in the frame in harmonious progression.
Curves can take different forms. You’ll hear me speak a lot about the S- and the C-curve in the article Using curves in food photography and some other curves as well. But actually, a curve can take any shape that feels natural.
CHOOSING THE COLORS (Bea)
One of my favorite color techniques that you’ll see me use in my work over and over again is choosing props and the background in the same color.
This technique really helps to draw attention to the food, even if you decide to fill the scene with many items! And what color of props and background to go for?
This will depend on a few things.
- Firstly, what color would help to enhance your subject? What color would make it ‘pop’?
- Secondly, it will depend on the type of contrast that you’d like to create in your image. High color contrast can help to add a more energetic vibe to our image, and low color contrast can help to infuse our frame with a soft and gentle atmosphere.
When selecting a color, we can also consider color psychology and what emotion the selected color can help to evoke.
ADDING SOME NEGATIVE SPACE (Anja)
Using negative space in a composition can give it a sense of balance. Not only in busy setups but also in simple scenes, the visual elements need a counterbalance to make the photo more pleasing to the eye.
My favorite way of including negative space in a frame is when I intentionally leave place inside the composition, especially around the main subject. This gives the entire composition some breathing space, makes it less intense for the eye, and, at the end of the day, brings focus to the main subject.
Creating negative space is a delicate balance. Finding a sweet spot might take a bit of experimentation, but when you find it, you’ll see how more relaxed the entire composition looks.
CREATING A SENSE OF DEPTH (Bea)
A beautiful sense of depth can help to draw the viewer in and make our image more captivating, and it’s something I try to always pay attention to when building my compositions.
One of the techniques that I find very effective is to place the elements at different planes within the frame. Some items are in the foreground, some in the middle ground, and maybe some in the background, too.
When placing these elements around the frame, I also like to place the items one behind the other – the overlapping helps to create more sense of depth and make the composition look more natural, too!
Composition is a beautiful yet delicate art. Knowing how to fill the frame so it tells just the right story is key.
To learn more about composition and put your new knowledge to practice, we invite you to join our 3-Day Composition challenge from October 5-7th. Get all the details in my IG highlights. But to dive even deeper into the topics + get more tips and our Composition Guide, head over here.
See you in the challenge!