Food Photography tips part 5: Angles and balance

Hey guys. This week, i’m talking about angles and visual balance. This is something that’s actually quite different, somewhat, from people photography. Like i’ve mentioned before, food (generally) doesn’t have facial expressions…it can’t pose itself flatteringly.

But, the important thing here is visual balance. No matter if the angle is from straight above, the side or below, there needs to be compositional balance. I’m going to delve lightly into some art theory with this one.

Take this for example:

This was Fireberry Chicken. There were many ways I could have shot and arranged this. From the side, it would have looked lopsided, and not shown off all the elements as well as i’d like – because the chicken was quite a bit larger than the mashed yams.

From the top down, the elements gather themselves well on the white background of the plate. The chicken curves around the mash, bringing together the two elements well. The darkness of the purple sauce is balanced out by the orange of the mash. They’re also contrasting colours that work well together. The reason I mention the colours is that they can even out the effect of another – have you ever seen someone wearing a red shirt and dark jeans? They look good together right? That’s because they visually balance out their relative ‘intensity’. Which is why you don’t wear too many bright colours, or too many dark colours together, It looks heavy and unappealing, unless you truly know what you’re doing.

So, this is why often when you go to a restaurant, elements are arranged on the plate to give visual balance, and therefore appeal, to the product.

I can’t tell you what exact angle to use for a particular food. But you should keep composition balance in mind.

Here’s some basic rules on photography composition. DPS explains it way better than I ever could.

I hope this has helped you understand angles and composition better. If you have any questions  please ask in the comments below.


Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4


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