Food Photography is challenging!
It isn't a simple, easy task of placing a plate of food on a board and snapping a photo.
One must first consider which angle would be best for the size and shape of the food. Some dishes look better from the front and some from the top. Will your front shot be straight forward or at a 30 degree angle. A dessert in a glass might have different layers to show off, where a pizza might suit a 45 degree angle or an over head shot. Have in mind which medium the photo will be used and if will be better suited in portrait or landscape mode where even the positioning of text might be a factor in how you take the photo.
The second challenge will be a suitable background and foreground elements. Establish what mood is required from the client like using a dark wood in contrast to using a white and shiny surface. Cutlery and little jars of sauces and oils will add to your story telling.
Thirdly is colour. Your backgrounds and props should add to the feel of the food. Always use colours that amplify such as a black metal tray will enhance red foods. Same is said with white plates which is a first choice for most chefs as most foods look more vibrant on white. Coordinate colours that are complimentary such as colours that are next to each other on the colour wheel. Complementary colours are on the opposite side of the colour wheel and contrast and accentuate each other such as a green salad in a red bowl.
Light is everything. Without light there is no photo. Poor light will not create any interest or mouthwatering temptation. Natural light is great and might need some diffusing so as not to blow out the highlights and soften the shadows. Flash and continuous light means you don't have to rely on the outside weather conditions or time of day. Flash is harder as continuous light is always visible as you make any changes to power or in using cards to reveal details or for more contrast. Tip - props and backgrounds should not be brighter than the main subject as our eyes tender towards the brightest part of the image.
Five is attention to detail with lines and layers. Use your props such as knives and forks to lead the viewers eyes to the subject. Taller props should be behind the main dish and slightly dark. Table clothes can create layers and not only be a flat surface.