Choosing the Best Food Photography Background for Your Shot
Over the past few years, food photography has virtually exploded. With millions of influencers and home chefs sharing their creations across dozens of social media platforms, the need for high-quality food photography resources has expanded beyond corporate demands.
Yet with so much competition, how can you, a lone food photographer, ensure your food photos stand out from the crowd?
How to Choose a Food Photography Background
One of the most important factors in food photography is the kind of background you choose. From tangible aspects like color and texture to the more subtle elements such as tone and composition, the right food photography background can make all the difference for your next photo shoot.
Simply choosing a food photography background on a guess (“I hope this works….”) can prevent you from achieving spectacular results for your final image. Professionals know how to compose a food photography shot the right way — and the right background can make all the difference.
If you’re new to the practice, you’re in luck. Just like the seasoned professionals, you can select the perfect background to elevate your shoot.
Here are five questions to consider before choosing your food photography background.
What’s the Brand Personality Behind the Product?
The first factor to consider is perhaps the broadest: what brand personality — whether your own or that of a larger company — is behind the product? This is especially important if the project is meant for advertisement purposes, as so many food photo shoots are.
Is there a specific aesthetic, tone, or message the product should reflect?
Every company, influencer, or content creator has a brand personality of some kind. The difference is how successfully that identity is communicated. For your next photo shoot, consider the “persona” the product should convey. Does it have the fun and excitable atmosphere of a snack food commercial or the wholesome promise of a healthy home cooking recipe?
Considering this ahead of time can help you to choose a food photography background that conveys the brand personality more effectively.
What Mood or Tone Should Your Scene Invoke?
Every photography project should involve careful consideration of the mood, tone, or atmosphere of the desired outcome. What emotion should your photo cause in the viewer? Is it something basic like hunger, desire, and fun, or something more advanced like comfort, nostalgia, or confidence?
The right food photography background can help you craft the perfect mood for your photo. Consider the unique options presented by your subject (the food) and brand (the company) before choosing your background. Is it warm and cozy, cool and sophisticated, or perhaps bold and energetic? The result depends largely on your background.
Thorough preparation for a food-themed photo shoot is a must, since most food used in photography won’t stay fresh for long — especially hot or cold foods. You have to be ready to work quickly once the food is ready. We recommend having numerous backgrounds on hand to give your shots the best chance at working in harmony with the setting for your photos.
Choosing Your Angles
For food photography, professionals use one of three different angles for taking their shots: overhead, 45 degrees, or straight-on. Overhead angles, also known as bird’s eye view, give your food shots a more fashionable look at the entire plating. The most common angle is 45 degrees (which includes anywhere from 20 to 65 degrees), which would be the eater’s view of the food as they’re sitting at a table. Straight-on, or low-angle, views give a more dramatic look at the food, offering creative opportunities for depth-of-field shots or focusing on a specific aspect of the dish.
The angle you choose will help determine the type of backdrop(s) you need for your food shots. For overhead shots, simpler and less detailed backgrounds are best — think a tiled countertop, rattan, tablecloth, or solid wood background. But for low or straight-on angles, you may choose a more atmospheric style background such as bricks or decorative tiles to add a kitchen-like ambience to your image.
Oftentimes, multiple backgrounds may be needed for 45-degree or straight-on photos. You might use a table-loking rigid background for the surface of your shot with a tiled vinyl background for the setting behind your food. By using your creativity, you can even have customized backgrounds created on demand for your one-of-a-kind images.
What Colors Will Complement the Color of the Food?
Photographers are a special kind of artist, highly technical and heavily dependent on the quality of the materials and equipment available. But, like most artists, the photographer can benefit from a healthy dose of color theory: the school of thought revolving around how colors work together — or don’t — to influence the way we feel.
Color theory is hugely important to food photography in particular, since so much of the way we perceive our food is decided by its color. Therefore, color pairings are an essential factor to consider when choosing a background.
You want your background to complement the colors in your food, not clash with them. If your food is brightly colored, consider a more neutral background, so the colors of the food can stand out. If your food is more muted in color, consider what colors might frame it nicely to catch the viewer’s eye — and appetite.
That said, many advanced food photographers know when they can bend the rules in their favor. Depending on the client or the context, you can create bolder, more unique images by experimenting with your backgrounds. Sometimes a bright-colored food on a vivid background could be just the right solution for standing out from the competition.
What Visuals Will Enhance the Texture of the Product?
Texture is another all-too-crucial aspect of food photography. Much like color, the texture of a food — even if it’s strictly visual — can determine how we feel about it. While smooth and creamy might look good on pudding, nobody wants to eat soggy potato chips.
Visual texture is vital to how your viewer sees the product, so it’s important to choose a food photography background that will enhance that texture rather than detract from it.
Just like with clothing patterns, some textures clash, while others go nicely together. If your food is highly textured, like a graham cracker, a crispy chicken thigh, or a ripe strawberry, you may want to select a more subdued background for your shot, like a clean marble surface.
If the product has a subtler texture, however, like greek yogurt, you may want a background with more visual interest, like wood grain, tile, or granite.
What Background Elements Create an Appealing Composition?
All great photographers consider the composition of their desired photo before taking the shot. The composition — that is to say, the balance and focus of visual elements in the image — will largely determine the kind of food photography background you’ll want.
Think about the placement of your food product and any props you might be using. You want your background to complement the composition of the photo, not detract from it. Props such as eating utensils, cooking tools, or loose ingredients can add interest to your photo and tell a story that connects with your audience.
If your shot involves lots of props or multiple products, you may want to opt for a simpler, subtler background so as to not overwhelm the viewer. If, on the other hand, your shot takes a heavy dependence on depth or lighting, you may want to choose a background with enough texture to easily denote distance.
Good composition is a practice that often takes years to master, but keeping it in mind before your shoot can help you to make the best possible decision for your food photography background.
Find A Food Photography Background at Best Ever Backdrops®
Choosing the right food photography background is foundational to creating impactful food photos. By considering your brand and product, the mood you want to create, the color and texture of your food, and the overall composition of your photo, you can choose a background that elevates your subject from a simple food product to something beautiful, appetizing, and visually stunning.
Here at Best Ever BackDrops, we pride ourselves in offering a truly impressive range of food photography backgrounds, each available to you on demand. Our backdrops are made of materials that are 100% stain resistant, waterproof, and virtually indestructible so you can enjoy them for years to come.
No matter the occasion, the product, or the platform, we’ve got the right backdrops for you. Create your best-ever food photography with Best Ever BackDrops. Check out our selection today.