Saturday, September 3, 2011

Food Photography - Background and Properties

Hi All!!!

After all your encouragement and appreciation on my food presentation and photography skills, I wanted to share my little thoughts and secrets on how I go about doing it :)

Fortunately a month back Lubna of "
Yummy Food" asked me to do a guest post on her blog very much on my favorite topic being "colors and backgrounds used for food presentation". I grabbed the opportunity and did the post for her.

On friendly demand and for the sake of records, I'm reposting it here for people who missed to go through :)

Here it goes....

I always believe that colors have the ability to bring a canvas to life. I enjoy playing with colors in my photographs.


Background of an image is as important as the foreground or the subject as such. The dish that you make gets really highlighted only when the background is supportive and pretty.

There are various items that you can choose as backgrounds for you photograph
  • Colored charts
  • Hand made papers
  • Wall papers
  • Planks of wood roughly painted
  • Colorful napkins
  • Gift wrappers
  • A dining table as such
  • or even a simple Dhupatta or saree can do wonders to your photographs.
Colored charts that I use as background


A wonderfully cooked up curry which tastes amazing could look absolutely unappealing when presented in a cooker that it was made!!!(excuse exceptions) That is not what you want right??!!

Its not just the dish that gets one's attention to the pic. It could even be the serving bowl, or the flowers used at the background or even a simple napkin could grab the attention. So do concentrate on all the properties on the setup to make it a beautiful pic on the whole.


I choose colorful bowls and plates that suit the dish and highlight it very well. Plastics, ceramics or glass!! what ever they are made of have their own attraction quotient definitely :)

Flowers never fail to make us smile :) Choose pretty flowers that compliment your dish as backdrops.


Now comes the most important and interesting part of the post - factors that help us choose the best backdrops and settings.

I go by following simple rules of colors or color theories that help us choose the best schemes that pleases our eyes.

Monochromatic Color Scheme:

Monochromatic color schemes are derived from a single base color and extended using its shades, tones and tints.

Using one single color in the picture from its lightest shade to the darkest can keep the focus on the subject color and would register in the viewers mind easily.

Simply go ahead choosing background and properties of the same color of the dish :)



I have used only shades of yellow as the main color and have extend to its lightest shade being white in mango yoghurt parfait picture below.

Monochromatic 1

Complementary Color Scheme:

Complimentary colors are colors that are opposite to each other on the color wheel.

Complementary color schemes have a more energetic feel. The extreme contrast between the colors creates a vibrant and fresh look.



I have used Purple and Orange as prominent colors which are complimentary to each other and highlight the picture.

The vibrancy is phenomenal when such opposite colors are used.


Analogous color scheme:

Analogous colors are colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel. Analogous color schemes are pleasing to the eye. They usually match well and create serene and comfortable photographs.


I have used Yellow, Orange and Green in this picture that blends well and gives a pleasing effect.


Bi-Color and Tri-Color:

Restricting the number of colors in a picture to two or three result in extremely pleasing pictures.


I have kept it simple and classic by choosing background and properties of just two colors(yellow and brown) in the first pic and three colors(Yellow, pink and green) in the second photograph.

bi and tri

Apart from having such colored backgrounds you could simply choose to have nature as the background at times too. The photos give a very pleasing and homely appearance when they are shot next to a window :)


The apple tea photograph below was shot next to a large window. The blurred trees at the backdrop give it a nice tropical look isn't it?!!!

natural background

Saying all that, we can also have simple vegetable or fruit carvings as our properties too.

Use the prominent veggi or fruit used in the dish to carve out simple flowers or creatures and place them next to the dish. You would score extra points for this from your viewer :) It shows your creativity and also enhances the presentation factor of the picture.


I have carved out frogs from green bell peppers and used it as a property to decorate my Bell pepper rice.

carving background

The aim of food photography is to make people drool, so keep clicking photographs with different backgrounds and settings until you reach your goal :)

Food photography involves a huge scope of creativity and I have realized it in the two years I have been blogging. The best way to learn is to try and keep on trying different things.

Enjoy clicking :)

Written by: Nithya
Send in your queries by clicking here.


Ramya said...

Beautiful and informative post

Christo Gonzales said...

excellent post - I hope you dont mind that I shared it on my Facebook..

Unknown said...

u got a lot of patience.... very informative post

Torviewtoronto said...

lovely post and props Nithya so colourful love it :)

Hari Chandana P said...

Wonderful post.. thanks for sharing :)

Dhanya Ganesh said...

Nice write up nithya.Luved the capsicum frog,you are so creative :)

Prerna said...

Great post Nithya! Loved the part where you described the color wheel and how to use them to enhance the subject.

Sanctified Spaces said...

Enjoyed this post Nithi.Thank you for the useful tips.

Janani said...

Great Post!!! Very informative!! So,this is the secret of your beautiful clicks is it?? Great!!!

Archana said...

Thanks simple enough for a beginner with enough pointers as to what I should be collecting. Thanks.

Do check out my event and send me your entries.

Rumana Rawat said...

Awesome and very informative post:)

Unknown said...

Wow winderful and informative post, parfait and carrot muffins pics are my fav anytime....Looks so professional! You are ur only competitor when it comes to presentation Nithi :)

Amelia said...

Thanks for sharing the info, your picture are so beautiful.

Unknown said...

Nithya!!!! Awesomeness - totally flipped for your capsicum froggies :) This is such an aesthetically pleasing post with loads of tips - tyvm :) Cheers, priya

Nandita SS said...

Wonderful post!!! Never knew about the colour schemes. Thanks so much for posting this Nitya :)

Gayathri NG said...

Thanx for such a wonderful tips..i always luv ur photograhy and carving...

Recipe world said...

Wonderful info.. let me improve my clicks with these ideas!

Pavani said...

thank u so much for ur wounderful tips dear..

prasanna venkatesh said...

Very informative and inspirational material !! Great work :-)

365daysofbaking said...

What a very informative post! Thank you so much for doing it. I can never learn enough on styling and photography.

Puja said...

Have always admired your pics thanks for sharing the detail behind it! Great post.

ushaprashanth said...

This is a very useful and informative post! I learnt many things. Thank you for your effort.

Jayanthy Kumaran said...

wonderful post..:)

Tasty Appetite

Sharon said...

Thanks a lot for the wonderful tips..was really helpful !!!

Suja said...

wowwww.a nice post...

CinnamonNChillies said...

Love this post. Bookmarking!


Swati Sapna said...

What a wonderful, informative and pleasing-to-the-eye post!! Thanks a ton for these simple and useful tips! I for one, am definitely going to keep some of these in mind while clocking my next picture :)

Nisha said...

This was really enlightening! Thanks for sharing the knowledge ... your photography is awesome!!

lavina agarwal said...

i am a new your space..thanks for the wonderful tips

Sreelu said...

Nitya, first time at your blog, you are one talented girl. love your posts and super glad to follow u.

SK said...

Hi Nithya,

Such a wonderful post and a very informative post also...

Am a silent reader from Taiwan always being amazed by ur, arts n crafts...This post made me to break my silence and wanted to post a comment to greet u....
Kudos to U....


SK said...

Hi Nithya,

Such a wonderful post and a very informative post also...

Am a silent reader from Taiwan always being amazed by ur, arts n crafts...This post made me to break my silence and wanted to post a comment to greet u....
Kudos to U....


radha said...

All that information, but yet it does take a creative bent of mind that addds to it, which cannot be taught. Lovely. What camera do you use?

Nisha said...

Thanks for sharing your knowledge, this was very informative! I guess in the end it's more about having a creative mind to use whatever we have at hand - which you definitely possess!

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