So you want to know what’s the best angle for photographing food. Is it 10-20 degree? Is it at an angle of 45? What about from the top? You really want to know the thumb rule for taking a stunning photograph? Here it is…
I recently read some place that it was around 10-20 degree. Position you camera such that it is at an angle of 10-20 from the horizontal table where your food is placed and bingo you have a awesome looking food photos. Right? This may disappoint some of you, but this won’t work. This is not “the best” angle to take food photos.
Best Camera Angle Thumb Rule
So if angle of 10-20 is not “the best”, what is the best angle then? There is a thumb rule that will make your life much better. Read the rule in fact, I will say if you thinking about becoming better food photographer, cram this rule. Here’s the thumb rule that will help you a lot:
The thumb rule to the best camera angle is that there is no best camera angle.
That’s right. There is no universal rule for taking food photographs that will make your food photographs better. The angle that will make food look good depends on many things. We will discuss those things later in this post. Let’s first look at the most used camera angles.
Four Most Used Camera Angles
There are many angles you can place your camera to shoot food photos. However there are four that are most used. Here are the four most used (not ranked) camera angles -
Horizontal to Table
This angle refers to position # 1 in the sketch above. This is when your eyes are almost at the level of the table. If you decide to use this position, make sure your background is distraction free. This is because at this angle, your background is very much visible and can be quickly create noise in your photograph.
At at angle of about 15
They say around 15 degree is “the angle” to shoot food photos. You know what I am going to say to that – “I have a thumb rule”. This angle is shown at position # 2 in the sketch. As in the case above, watch out for the background if you use this angle.
This is how you usually see things on a table or at dinner. In the sketch this is shown by position # 3. From my experience, this is also the most misused position by lot of aspiring food photographers. Many people try to photograph food at around this angle however, in most cases changing your angle to one of the other three can improve your photo by a great deal. So next time when you try to photograph your recipe, wait and think what you are doing. Then move a little bit and try different angles. I am sure you will like what you see. However, with that said, there can be a lot of great photographs at this angle too. Look at the photograph below:
This is a view of your dish or food from top. The # 4 position in the sketch is the top view. This is usually at or around an angle of 90 to the horizontal surface where your food is placed. This perspective sometime creates a wonderful images. See the photograph below. Most photographs of beverages are shot at either horizontal level or at around an angle of 15. This creates a different look. Don’t you think?
Watch a Pro Food Photographer
Here’s a chance to watch a professional food photographer use almost all these angles. Matt Armendariz, yes Matt who bites, has graciously shared a great cheese video and you can learn how he uses camera angles in food photography. In the video he shoots cheese and describes how to plate it. Observes how he shoots cheese and see the angles he uses. Its interested how Matt uses several angles on a same type of subject.
Update: Read part 2 of this post: How to Choose the Best Camera Angle?
Let’s Discuss This
What angles do you use more often? What do you use the least? Tell us in the comments below and now you can add your photographs in comments too. Share with us. Also tell us, what did you think about the post?