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Eating with the lens: Foodie’s top tips for taking mouth-watering food photos

Evairaline "EA" Alvarez specialises in food photography. Source: EA Alvarez

Evairaline "EA" Alvarez's "messy" style of photography is unique. Her skills with the camera remind us that food photography is a true form of art.

As social media foodies and influencers rose to online fame over recent years, 26-year old Evairaline "EA" Alvarez took her initial steps towards food and travel photography.

"When I was in primary school, my sister used to mould chocolate lollipops, and she would always ask me to take photos of her work. Then from culinary school up to my days in uni, I loved taking photos of whatever dish I concocted," she shares.

This love for food photography carried over to her work as the marketing executive of her family's steak and ribs restaurant in the Philippines.

steak
This love for food photography carried over to her work as the marketing executive of her family's steak and ribs restaurant in the Philippines.
EA Alvarez

"I was working on the menu with a graphic designer. We decided to improve on the food photos," she shares, adding, "It pushed me to then study photography, attend seminars and study food styling. That's how my career in food photography started."

Now, this Melbourne-based food photographer takes photos for home bakers, hobbyists and companies such as Menulog.

According to EA, there are certain things to remember if one hopes to get into food photography or at least improve on food posts on social media.

1. There are different techniques for food, travel and street photography. 
EA Alvarez
The techniques for street and food photography are different
EA Alvarez

EA shares that her techniques for food, travel and street photography are very different.

"For food, your photos need to be very sharp, very detailed. Travel and street photography are a bit similar; but street has more action, while travel has more to do with landscape," she shares.

2. Natural light is your best friend. 
natural light
Natural light is your best friend.
EA Alvarez

"Natural light is your best friend," EA emphasises.

She shares that professional photography requires the use of lighting, but natural light will always boost the details and colours of food. 

"Go to a spot where the light comes in nicely," she says, adding, "If the photo is gloomy, it will be hard to edit. Food is considered as still life; without light, it will be hard to give your photo life."

3. Take photos from a comfortable angle. 
angle
Take photos from a comfortable angle.
EA Alvarez

Unlike selfies, groufies and photos from Instagram boyfriends contorting to get their partner's best side, food photos require good, comfortable angles.

"Always use a tripod if possible," EA shares, adding, "When using a mobile phone, the best angle is flat lay (a shot from the top)."

4. Make sure that food is the focus. 
food focus
Make sure that food is the focus.
EA Alvarez

Over-styling may make for a confusing photo.

"Make sure food is always the focus. If you add a lot of details or props that are not necessarily related to the food, you take away attention from it," EA says.

5. Have your own style.
messy style
EA refers to her style as "messy".
EA Alvarez

The different elements of EA's food photos tell a story. 

Her style is "messy", her edits are "moody", and her compositions evoke a feeling of warmth and almost candid genuineness. Ice cream is supposed to melt. Cookies are supposed to leave crumbs. Melted cheese is supposed to ooze and drip. 

"Photography is a very competitive field. If you’re not innovative, you’re just like any other person taking a photo," she shares, adding, "You can use the photos you see online as inspiration, but you have to have your own distinct style."

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