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The Future of Taste


Learn From the Masters: Food Photography and Storytelling Techniques

Sarah Zorn

Photo by Huge Galdones

Photo by Huge Galdones

Whether you’re a budding professional food photographer, or simply determined to take drool worthy snaps of your dinner on your Smartphone, a lot more goes in to constructing an awesome portrait than point and click. That’s why we’ve recruited talented food and lifestyle shooter, Huge Galdones, top Chicago stylist, Johanna Lowe, and co-founder of Morsel, Ellen Malloy, for the workshop "Learn from the Masters: Food Photography and Storytelling Techniques," to share tips and tricks that will help you construct a better narrative through taste. And here’s just a few to get you started!

                                                    Huge Galdones

For the budding food photographer:

-Keep learning; whether it’s through reading, flipping through food mags, staging with a photographer or just plain trial and error.

-Invest in a high quality lens; actual glass will depend on your shooting style (macro vs. lifestyle).

-Try lighting your food from behind instead of head on.

-When you shoot, always ask yourself “Would I eat it?"

For the Smartphone photographer:

-Turn off your flash.

-Composition, composition, composition; avoid bull’s-eye photography (with the whole dish smack dab in the middle of the frame). Look into the rule of thirds and the golden triangle as starters.

-Point of view: i.e., if you want to include a lot of elements in frame, shoot overhead. If you want to showcase a particular food element, get in close.

-Don’t be ‘that guy/gal’ who takes forever to take a food picture, or who disrupts other guests.


                                                       Johanna Lowe

-Consider the personality and mood of your food…is it game day or date night or Saturday brunch? Whatever it might be, construct your lighting and scene with this in mind, but beware of cliché.

-What is the hero in the dish? Try to emphasize the main player...for instance, if it’s cheese, decide if it should it be melty or bubbly or pulling and focus on that, but do it with subtlety.

-Simplicity is always better.

-Simplicity is always harder.

-Listen to your food stylist.


Taste Talks Food & Drink hits Chicago October 3-5, 2014. See the full schedule and buy tickets here.