'We eat with our eyes'

Food photography

The most common perception among chefs is that they don’t feel the need to hire a professional food photographer if they are posting food pictures on the blog or social networking sites, as they all are armed with a camera in their cell phones that comes with many filters to improve the quality of the picture.

As many chefs argue that hiring a professional literally means burning a hole in the pocket. At the same time, they can’t resist the temptation of uploading a picture of a beautiful dish they have just created.

“Chefs take great care of food, but they often forget presentation on the social medium,” says Ragnar Fridrikkson, chef and food photographer, who was recently in the city to participate in Indian Federation of Chef’s Association’s Global Culinary Exchange conference where he elaborated on the nuances of food photography.

“It is a misnomer that one needs fancy equipments to click a great food picture. All a person has to do is learn and understand how shutter speed works and play with light sources,” he elaborates.

Food industry has become an extremely competitive business and it is affirmed by the fact that new restaurants are mushrooming in every corner of the city and each one of them has an active online presence.

“Social media provides a great opportunity for chefs to increase their followers and let them know what they are capable of creating. One has to understand we first eat with our eyes. So the first communication that anyone has with food is through eyes. If I come across a beautiful food picture, I would want to try it,” says France-based Fridrikkson.

According to Fridrikkson, lighting is a critical skill in photography. “One should always try to click a picture in natural day light and that too in front of a window. If the image is coming dark because of lack of light, then one should put refractors in front of it.” “This technique will help to get nice texture and colour,” he says.

Born in Iceland, Fridrikkson has been living in France for the last 15 years. He took to food photography in 2004 when he realised how the visual appeal of food is an intrinsic part of restaurant business.

He also feels food photography is extremely different from commercial photography since one has to focus more on composition and highlight vibrant colours. “You have to make the food on the table look more appealing than it usually it. For that you need to focus on the most important element in the food that you want to highlight.”

“This will help to draw attention of viewer’s on that one element that you want to flaunt. It is this very part that you are trying to sell. On the other hand, clicking a portrait or a landscape picture is a whole new ballgame. One has to develop the craft of food photography,” he adds.

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