How To Create A Monochromatic Food Photography With A Twist
I initially use monochromatic photography approach to do product photography since images with monochromatic bold color get more attention on social media and my clients love it.
Naturally, I also try to apply it to my commercial food photography projects, which turns out to be not so ideal. If you are trying to sell food by making it stands out, appealing, makes the viewer want to grab it and take a bite ... well, monochrome is less likely to do it for you.
So after a bit of trial and error, I found out that using a dual tone is a better alternative for commercial food photography.
The dual tone in food photography is an approach where a monochromatic background is staged to help the food standout.
Two tones simply translate to one tone for the props and background, and another tone for the food.
This approach is good for creating food photography with storytelling.
Like this image that we created for @chloute to promote their new product The Coffee Croissant.
The props consist of a coffee bag, traditional mokka coffee maker and coffee scoop tells a story about the ingredients in the croissant, it shows that this product uses a real coffee, instead of artificial coffee flavor. We kept all the props within the monochromatic tone, so the focus of the overall image is still on the croissant.
And here're some tips for creating a dual tone food photography:
1. Use a color gradation
Use a bunch of props with similar color, but it doesn't have to be in the exact same color, a gradation of color within the same tone (such as red, pink and peach) will give more dimensions, then just all red.
Referring back to the coffee croissant photo, the marble table-top and subway tiles wall already provide a gradation of white and gray, so we add white and silver props to create a similar gradation color as the background.
2. Use props that "tells a story" and helps define the food.
A good story can add meanings to the overall photograph.
Like the mokka coffee maker as the props. It is a traditional coffee maker that requires craftsmanship to brew coffee, instead of an all automatic coffee maker or artificial coffee flavoring. It shows tradition and authenticity, which align with the brand's value. Chloute produces all its products handmade and with a high level of craftsmanship.
3. Emphasize the food
Since there are only two tones, the image is mainly divided into two: one tone for the props and background, and another tone for the food.
Make sure that the food takes center stage by making the tone of the food stronger or by making it covers a larger area for a stronger presence.
For example: for this cheese stick photography, we made the composition of the product larger by scattering the cheese sticks, and make its overall size larger than the packaging.
Last … never forget to play and experiments!