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The Art of Food Photography

Minh Tang (曾德明)is an experience photographer in the F&B industry, he has more than 10 years of photography experience with a degree in design/photography with Prof. Volkhard Hofer at the University of Hildesheim in Germany. The photographer currently reside in Shanghai China.

I will walk you through the wonders of food photography and how it’s literally designed. I had the privilege to work on many beautiful and artistic food projects that I want to share with you and showcase from the behind the scene to the finished products.

1. Concept: At the beginning I have a pretty good concept in my head what the end result should look like. The primary goal in food photography is not to make the food tasty but to make it visually tasty and appealing to trigger appetite.

2. Light Set up: Through years of experience I have learned to understand how light works and using a light modifier to modify and constrain light. The actual shooting process is not important but the lighting to create a mood, atmosphere and dimension.

3. Food Styling: Apart from the lighting we literally design the food from scratch and place every food element into a nice piece of art. This is when I can focused on the decor and styling of the food which I normally hire a food stylist. Using food stylist and a good preparation is the key to capture the essence of the food.

4. Coordination: Oftentimes there is a misconception about food photography that it’s mainly the work of the photographer to take good photos. Through many years of experience I’ve come to realize that it’s rather a matter of coordination with the chef, stylist and supporting staff.

5. Retouching: Photo retouching part accounts to 20-30% of the process. Photoshop sometimes can do wonders, but I prefer to make everything perfect on the set to avoid long hours of retouching.

6. Results: In commercial photography there is only one purpose, namely to make the image do the sell for you. You can ask yourself the following question if it’s good. Does it trigger your hunger? When you look at the image, do you want to buy it and eat it? The main goal is to entice the customer with visual and trigger appetite and the desire to dine. The success is based on working closely with the chefs and stylist to achieve mouth-watering food images.

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