In the last 10 years, I have discovered that a good food photo depends a lot more on what is going on around the subject rather than the subject itself...
I know that may seem strange, because you want your food to be the star of the show. But trust me, I have taken enough bad photos over the year to know that this is VERY true. And it is especially true when it comes to the backdrops.
If you don’t know what a backdrop is, let me give you this super official definition...
A backdrop is the thingy behind your main subject.
(I told you it was going to be super official)
For example, in this photo, the backdrop is the pink poster board...
A lot of beginning photographers make the mistake of not paying attention to their backdrops. They are so focused on the main subject that they totally ignore what’s going on in the background. Like this old photo I took back in 2013…
My old boss is in the back printing something on very blue paper.
So you can see, the backdrop can have a BIG impact on your photos and it deserves your attention.
That the backdrop is responsible for not only setting the stage for the main subject, but also dictating the overall tone and feeling of a photo. These things are important! Just look at the difference the backdrop makes in these photos of my pink drip cake...
So, what makes a good photography backdrop?
There are a lot of choices when it comes to choosing a backdrop, but a good food photography backdrop is one that enhances the subject without distracting from it.
This means, you want to avoid backdrops with complicated patterns, shiny or metallic finishes, or colors that hide or clash with your main subject.
- White Poster Board:This is my all time favorite backdrop. They are inexpensive and easy to get and they also give you a nice clean background in your photo. This really allows you main subject to shine!
- Marble Slab: Either the real thing, or contact paper! The marble gives the photo a more elegant look. It also adds texture and movement to the photos without distracting from the main subject.
- Vinyl Backdrops: Vinyl backdrops are great because they come in so many different variations. My favorite are the ones from Ink & Elm. They are also easy to clean and store away.
- Wooden slab or cutting board: Using wood as a backdrop gives a more earthy tone to your overall photo. But I would suggest staying away from anything that is super yellow or orange because it can look weird in your photos.
- Construction Paper: Construction paper is great for adding color into your photos. Just make sure that your color does not clash with the colors in your main subject!
As you can see, there are many options when it comes to food photography. And just by paying attention to the backdrop, your photos are going to go from this...
...to this! Basically, it is going to up your photo game IMMEDIATELY. Now get yourself some backdrops and start taking your photos!
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