Using curves in food photography can add softness and natural feel to the photo. Here is a tutorial on how to use curves to create beautiful compositions.
When it comes to composition, there is a number of compositional techniques that you can apply to your food photography. Which one you choose is greatly impacted by your style, the story or even who your client is.
I’m a big fan of natural-looking food photography and some of the key compositional techniques that I like to use are curves and lines. Today I’m going to focus on using curves because I think they add so much dynamic and sense of movement to the photo as well as making the composition look natural and somewhat feminine. Curves are also a great way to lead the viewer’s eye towards your main subject in a natural way.
Curves can be a separate or I should say main composition techniques or it can be just an addition to others, such as the rule of thirds or golden rule to add some movement to the photo.
Since curves can really be anything, I put up a list of curves that I use in my food photography the most.
This is a curve that mimics the letter S. I sometimes use S-shape to build the entire composition around it like in the ramen photo. Or I use it to support my composition and add movement and softness to the photo like in the cookie photo.
C-curve is the simplest curve you can use and the reason I love it so much is because it’s subtle and adds dynamic to the photo without being too obvious. Just like the S-curve, you can use it as a main compositional technique (egg photo) or support other techniques (apple pie photo). One great way you can use a C-curve is by placing the curve around your subject, which makes the objects on the curve almost hug the main subject.
That’s any curve that connects objects in your frame in a way that makes the eye flow through those items towards the main subject.
Most often I use spirals as a main compositional technique and not so much as a supporting technique. That’s mainly because the spiral can look very obvious very quickly. When they are obvious they also look unnatural. The other reason is, that the spirals lead your eye toward its center. So I wanna make sure that the center of the spiral is my main object.
That’s an S-curve that is continuing and is forming a wave. I use this technique when I have lots of objects in a frame, that I want to visually connect and lead the viewer’s eye to the main subject.
A combination of curves
More often than not I use a combination of curves so I can visually link different objects in the scene with different effects. For example, let’s take a photo of the breaded sweet bread. I used a C-shape by placing pine in a C-shape to create a shape that hugs the main subject and gives a warm feel. I used the hands to lead the eye to the main subject.
In the second photo with lemons, I also used different curves to add dynamics to an otherwise simple shot.
In most of the above photos, I’ve used a combination of curves. I intentionally left it unmarked for you to go through and try to find other curves and think about how they affect the photo. Let me know in the comments if you’ve found any other curves in these photos.