Whether you’re already a braai-master, wanting to improve your braai food photography skills, or simply try your luck at mastering that convenient little camera in your pocket for taking pictures of your masterpieces on fire, all you need is a few simple tips and tricks. In this article, you get to learn the keys to make the most of your phone’s camera settings, how to utilize great natural lighting, choosing your angles, and styling your shot when attempting to capture your best braai food photos.
Setting the Scene
Setting the scene for a braai photography session need not entail perfectly organized pots and pans. Sometimes, looking past the obvious adds that little extra spice to the picture. Braaing itself can be such a beautiful mess and hence to shoot something like a messy pot of sauce, a dirty knife laying on an equally dirty cutting board just after the meat had been devoured, could actually help in telling the story of the braai in a manner justified to the culture the event is grounded in.
Using your phone’s grid setting
On almost all smartphones today, there should be a tool that allows you to overlay a grid onto any braai photo you’ve taken. On an iPhone, you can find the “grid” toggle in your photo and camera settings. For the Android/Galaxy, you should check the settings in your camera app. If you can’t find the grid toggle, you can always download a third-party app like Camera 360 to turn it on. Using a smartphone’s grid setting allows for a multitude of effects that are well suited to the enhancement of braai food photography.
Using the exposure slider
Braai food photography fact of the day: Did you know that you could control the exposure on your phone much like your favorite Nikon or Canon DSLR camera? Here’s how it works. When you open the camera app, you need to focus on your tjoppie, boerewors or rump steak manually with the touch of your finger. Then, you should see a little image of a sun-like icon appear, and by sliding your finger up and down the small bar that appears, you should be able to set and choose the amount of light you want on your braai masterpiece even before the picture is taken.
Knowing your angles
Generally, it is perceived that there are two angles that work best when taking dynamic photos of food at a braai : (1) Shooting at eye-level of the fire or sizzling braai, and (2) shooting from a bird’s eye view. For the latter, you’re going to need to get up on a chair to make sure the entire braai is in the frame – and that the lines are completely straight. If you’re wanting to take an aerial photo of an entire tablespace, the latter way is your best and easiest method. On the flipside, a more zoomed-in/close-up shot is likely to reveal finer details like moisture, texture, and color – which could further emphasize the intangible elements of braaiing like that unmistakable “braai smell and taste”.
Following the natural light
This is the section that all braai food enthusiasts should be most excited about – and pay the most attention to. In fact, making the most of any and all-natural lighting must be priority nr #1. Of course, the fact that the braai occurs outdoors is a great bonus for this kindof photography. But if you’re shooting your braai food indoors, then some of the best spots to capture natural light would be close to a window or door. Take caution always to avoid overhead light or shooting straight into the sun. If you’re shooting in a kitchen, it’s best to shoot your food on a windowsill.
The power of playing around with light and shadows when it comes to food photography, cannot be understated. It follows from this that while aiming for natural shadows to cast across your food, you are initiating the powerful interplay created between contrast and texture – emphasizing all the right places in order to make people go hungry instantaneously!
The importance of action shots at a braai
Important to note about food photography, is that it’s not only the final product that matters. Aspiring cooks are also drawn to throwing dry rub, slicing fat steak and ribs, pulling pork shoulder, and assembling that perfect plate for their guests. The faces, movements, and passion of the people cooking and enjoying the food is priceless and make for great images…
Choosing the right editing app for you
If so, you will need to resort to technology to fill the gaps and amend where the light could not crack through. Luckily, for the plethora of editing apps available on the smartphone app market today. You can easily edit your food photos and adjust the color temperature, brightness, contrast, and more to gain the desired effect.