Changing the distance between the camera and the food can transform the story, or the feeling, of a food photograph. In fact, the relative closeness of your eye to the food subject is probably the biggest factor in the composition of a food image.


Baklava on a tray from a distance looks appealing

How you compose a food subject affects how the viewer perceives your image. This image shows a tray of baklava in its entirety, with a portion of the table and various other backgrounds.


A close-up of the baklava really entices the viewer.

This photo shows a close-up of the baklava. It’s the same food and the same tray, but the story of the two photos changes with the decrease in distance. Which image looks more appetizing to you?


This close-up of ripe autumn figs draws the viewer into the shot.

Shooting close to food subjects shows the textures, colors, and imperfections of the food. Close-up images of food are appropriate for stock photos, websites, food blogs, and the like.


A crisp focus is just one element to good composition.

Sometimes focus can be an issue when getting in so close to a food subject, although it really depends on the setup, lighting, and aperture on your camera. When zooming in close to your subject, carefully focus on the most interesting part of the dish.


Fresh beans and sesame seeds use the center space of a frame.

When shooting close-ups, keep the basic composition of the image in mind. Look through the viewfinder and place your food subject somewhere in the center area. Imagine a broad oval target in the frame, and try to keep part of the main subject within that target area for a nice-looking image.


Backgrounds still peek through in some close-up shots.

When you’re shooting in so close on a food subject, you may see only a tiny bit of the background, if it shows at all. If a portion of the background does show, make sure the color or texture of the background complements the food subject.


Good bits in this dessert image enhance the close-up.

Every photo has a certain amount of bits in it. The good bits are crumbs, powdered sugar, tiny basil leaves, sesame seeds, and their ilk. And the bad bits include dust, tiny stray particles, or small fibers. When you shoot close-ups, you need to watch for and be aware of both types.


Getting a greater distance between you and your food subject is appropriate for any type of shoot but particularly for restaurant shoots. Many times, restaurant owners want to get a sense of the ambience of the place included in the shots. Sure, sometimes they like the close-ups of their foods, but getting a little distance can make for an extraordinary restaurant shoot.