Food Photography with Adam Palmer

posted on: Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hi Kitchen Corners readers,

My name is Adam Palmer. I am a brother in law to Damaris and I am a wedding photographer out here in beautiful Hawaii. I wouldn't consider myself to be an expert food photographer but I've seen and shot a lot of good food between the 50 or 60 weddings I've been shooting a year for the last 10 years and all the great stuff Damaris whips up in the kitchen when she's back in Hawaii. Here are 3 tips that came to mind when Damaris invited me to guest post on her blog.

       • Tip 1-
White balance. The first thing that is critical to making food look as delicious on the blog as it does when it's right in front of you is to get the white balance right. All kinds of light has a different color to it that our eyes naturally remove. Have you ever noticed how when you've been wearing colored glasses for a while your eyes tend to adjust and revert back to natural colors after about 10 minute or so. Your eyes are always removing the color from light in all types of scenes. Traditional bulbs look really orange, energy saving CFLs look green, direct sunlight is very neutral but open shade or window light is very blue. To get your food to look just right you need to start by adjusting the white balance on your camera to remove any unwanted color from the light.

       • Tip 2-
Exposure compensation. The second tip to get those colors in your food to really show up is to play with the exposure compensation. You can see from my photos that I like it light and colorful. Cameras are always trying to adjust the scene to get an even representation of the light. If there is a bright background to the photo (such as a white plate, a window lighting the scene, or a piece of sky behind you, the camera will darken the whole scene to even out the brightness. Try brightening up the scene with your cameras exposure compensation setting. I find 80% of my food photos look better with plus one or even two stops of exposure compensation. Shoot two or three at various levels to test it out.

       • Tip 3--
Dealing with the depth of field. When you are shooting close up you are going to be dealing with very shallow depths of field. What that means in plain english is that you will have just a narrow portion of your picture in tack sharp focus. This effect can be quite pleasing if you pay attention to exactly where you want the focus to fall. Aim the center of your camera at the one thing you want in focus and press the button half way down. Then with your finger still halfway down on the button move your camera until you have the picture composed the way you like it and press the button all the way. Practice that 4 or 5 times with each food shot because you'll find it's quite an art to getting the focus exactly where you want it to land. If you really want crisp focus from the front to the back of the dish you have two options. The first is to move back a bit and crop in later. The closer you get to the food the shorter your usable range of focus its. Your other option is to use the smallest aperture you have available which will also mean probably needing a tripod.

I hope this helps. I post general photography tips at From time to time I also have fine art print giveaways. You can see my Hawaii wedding photos

Adam A. Palmer Photography


Adam is a wonderful photographer and so fun to be around. If you're ever in Hawaii give him a call. He takes beautiful wedding pictures and family portraits on the beach that will blow your mind. He's also a great person to talk to about food. He knows all the good places to eat on the island.

Thanks Adam for the tips, so useful!


  1. This post could not have been more perfectly timed! Damaris, thank you so much for having your brother-in-law do a guest post. I'll have to play around with some of these tips to see if I can get a more natural looking picture! Obrigada!

  2. Wow! Great post and beautiful photos! I absolutely need all of these tips!

  3. Awesome post! I am always looking for tips to make my food pics look more appetizing!


Related Posts with Thumbnails