Jose Mier Contemplates What Makes Us Hungry
I thought I’d digress just a bit with this post. When you view my other Jose Mier food articles you’ll see I always add an image of the particular food I’m writing about. Why? Well, we all like to see an image. That’s particularly true with food. We enjoy food with arguably all 5 senses and aside from taste, the visual appeal of food adds to the overall enjoyment of it. What is it that makes us want to eat the things we do? Part of it is our own imagination. We get a hankering for something we’ve tasted before, but if we haven’t, seeing a certain dish served to, say, another table in a restaurant piques our interest. If we’re at home, delving into one of our treasured cookbooks will suggest something to prepare. I can almost guarantee you that the decision will be based heavily on the picture of that food in the cookbook.
I love good food photography. There’s a real art to making things look delicious. I also love restaurant menus that show images of their dishes. It makes my decision easier, especially when the photography is done well. Of course I’ve been to countless restaurants where the images of the food were taken with no special care. That’s disappointing. A great image is going to inspire diners to want to tuck in.
Behind the Lens: Making Food Look Great
Great food photos not only make us hungry, they make us want to buy one certain cookbook over another. We flip through the pages, are delighted by the images and make our purchase. Spectacular photos are a tool for commerce—for both the food and the recipe. As I said food photography is an art and experienced photographers know all the tricks to make food look appetizing. If you merely want to gaze at different food images, Unsplash.com’s food image repository is a great site to visit.
Other sites such as Sandy Noto’s blog discuss the technical aspects of food photography. I have learned some of the behind-the-scenes secrets but even so, I forget everything when I look at a good food photograph and just want to enjoy the dish. However, I think three things are most important. Good and proper lighting plays a huge role. A good photographer will also know what makes a good composition. Finally there’s the presentation of the dish itself. This plays the same role in a photo as it does on the table in front of you. Colors, contrast and placement of items on the plate all contribute to the overall effect.
The next time you’re at a restaurant and the menu includes photos, ask yourself what looks appetizing and why. As I continue to write my food articles, I’ll continue to rely on enticing food photos to visually support what I write. It’s the first thing you see when you happen upon my posts. I hope it does what I want it to do: make you hungry.
Looking for exceptional food photography in Los Angeles? Check out Alan De Herrera’s site!