The Expert Guide, Part One
One of the most common questions I get asked is how the heck do you shoot great food videos!
Do you think everyone else seems a total genius at food shoots?
Do you click on social media and wonder how they shot the perfect açaí bowl or how that dalgano coffee explainer that looks really great?
NEVER FEAR – You can create perfect food videos today on your smartphone
Just follow my foolproof expert guide for super easy ways to nail professional looking food videos right now.
All the insider tips and hacks you need are in my 2 part, easy to follow expert guide.
THE KIT YOU NEED
Try and use natural light and schedule shooting your food videos in the day. Big lights can make food videos look hard and flat, so plate up by the biggest window you can find or try shooting outside for the perfect diffused light conditions. Avoid bright sun, you don’t want shadows in your shots or melting or droopy food!
Sound can make a big impact in food videos. Don’t rely on the mic on your smartphone, it is not good enough for professional sounding videos. Don’t get sucked into thinking you need expensive sound equipment for food shooting, you don’t!
If you are going to buy a mic then get something that will work for other videos you want to create. You can mic yourself up to do cooking chat videos with a lavalier mic which is our favourite all round cheap and effective choice for £15.
If you want a mic that attaches to your smartphone U rig then go for this shotgun style mic which is tried and tested by my team. £48.50
Use these mics to record
- The sound of eggshells breaking
- The glug of vanilla essence
- The sizzle of a steak on the grill
Don’t underestimate the HUGE amount sound can add to your food shoots
SHOOTING TOP DOWN VIDEOS
There is a reason we all like over headshots. They eliminate the depth of field in your video, and it makes your food seriously pop on screen.
You can fit tons into one shot, and these are not hard to do when you know how!
The key is to use the right bit of equipment to hold your phone steady to shoot your over head video.
Here is a link to our current budget favourite if you are just starting out.
Once you have your smartphone secure, you can shoot from above safely
Experiment and have fun.
Start by having your empty bowl come into frame
Then shoot each shot individually
- Add in the butter
- Add in the sugar
- Add in the eggs
- Add in the flour
These shots look seriously stylish, and don’t forget you can speed them up as well if you are shooting a longer recipe. You can add a voice-over or text as well.
Be aware that not all food looks great shot from overhead.
Food that has height, like a burger or a three or five tier wedding cake, is not going to look good shot like this.
For these key shots, you need to put your camera on the table and go for a straight on shot and use your smartphone wide angle lens to make the food look bigger and more punchy.
VARY YOUR SPEED
Get familiar with your smartphone speed settings.
Think about what shots would look great at what speed.
- Honey dripping from a spoon would work as slo-mo
- Kneading pizza dough can look great speeded up
- Get creative with a variety of shots.
Movement adds a huge value to food shooting.
Add some great camera moves left to right
You can use a gimbal for these as their stabilisation delivers foolproof shots, but you don’t HAVE to own one to shoot some decent movement.
A really popular choice with many chefs is something called a Dolly slider. It looks like a small roller skate that you sit your smartphone.
Take a look at these two dolly sliders below for inspiration
When you are adding in movement to shots, do note:
- Going forward into your shot can be a good way to start your video
- Using movement to pull back from your food is a good way to end
TRY OUT A MACRO LENS
You can get great close up food shots if you add on a macro lens.
There is a massive choice of inexpensive clip on lenses for every smartphone, and you don’t have to spend a fortune to give this a go.
Macro lenses work best with lots of light, so help them out with shooting in the right place
If you are going to get a ton of use out of this lens type, then you check out www.shopmoment.com, they sell a great macro lens and case for most smartphones. They are great, but an investment for when you are SURE you are really going to use it!
USE A BACK DROP
Many video chefs today use backdrops for food shoots. These are a great idea!
Backdrops can be neutral and clean
- They make your viewer focus on your food
- They make your food the star of the show
- They provide a totally perfect surface
- They are easy to wipe clean
We really recommend using these to showcase your final dish to look professional, and then use your ingredients around it as your supporting cast.
Put your showstopper cake in the middle of the shot and the eggs, small bowls of flour, butter and sugar in small bowls and to the side.
Don’t ever let your viewer be distracted by a busy or messy background. WE love a backdrop as we don’t have to worry about scratches on the table or smears in our shot.
BACK DROP BUYING GUIDE
Light backgrounds are good for breakfasts, baking shots and healthy food
Dark backgrounds are good for cocktails, dinners and winter shots
Wooden backgrounds are the most versatile and also great for showcasing colourful ingredients like avocado, butternut squash and sweetcorn
We like www.blackvelvetstyling.com as they have a huge range of backdrops, they stock loads of handy sizes, and they always have a good selection on sale.
Now you have your kit all ready, look out for my Food Shooting Expert Guide Part Two
Coming soon to a kitchen near you. . .