Social media and chocolate are a match made in heaven. This is a great way to share beautiful images of your chocolate bars, bonbons, and other goodies. Unfortunately, not all business owners or entrepreneurs are photographers. Many of us are not natural photographers. We can’t afford to hire a professional photographer for each social media post. What can you do then? Here are a few simple tricks to take and edit photos of chocolate for social media. Your smartphone will do just fine. We are not talking chocolate photography for your site. This is best left to professionals and is well worth the investment, as your website is a vital business tool.
Imagine your social media profile as a shopfront. What impression would you like to give if someone walked by your store? Blurry pictures? Unappetizing product? No, absolutely not. If all you can post is a poor photo, then it’s better not to post anything.
Jessica Washburn, EC grad and chocolatier extraordinaire, collaborated with us to create this post. Thank you, Jessica! Check out her Instagram page and follow her @pastrypastmidnight. She has also created an Instagram account to promote her new chocolate company, Bliss Chocolatier. Here are a few tips on how to take great photos and some editing techniques that will help you create an attractive social media feed.
Make sure that your product is as beautiful as possible and ready for the big reveal
You need to ensure that your product is in its best possible condition. No finger marks, no smudges, and perfect edges are all part of this. Many photographs have been taken of products that are delicious but not presented most attractively. Chocolate is brown, so it can quickly go from being appetizing (if you get what we mean!) to being disgusting.
The flash will not work in your favor
It would be best if you also consider where you will be taking the photos. Instagram is FULL OF pictures where you can tell that they were taken in a dark room with overhead lighting. It’s even worse if you take the picture in a dim room. It can create shadows and reflect in strange ways on the chocolate surface. This makes it difficult to take a good shot. You can only take a good picture if you have a studio at your office or shop and are familiar with how to use the lights.
Jessica’s most popular photography setups are shown below. They can be used with or without reflectors, depending on the lighting quality. These angles and forms can be used in front of large windows as well. Note that the sun does not shine directly into the home. Just outside her backdoor, you can see the intersection of the sun and the shade. I’ve even set up my little studio in the front hall. You might want to consider purchasing a tripod, whether you’re using your digital camera or smartphone. This will help to stabilize the camera and reduce blurriness.
Front hall photo studio
Lighting from the sides, the back, or even a combination of both is best for food. Try to use natural light when taking photos, but avoid direct sunlight. You can take pictures near a window, but you will need something white that will reflect the light from all sides. By reflecting light from the sides of your composition, you can achieve a photo with a natural depth and a more even lighting. This doesn’t require anything special; just two or three pieces of white foam board from any office supply shop will do. Turn off your flash.
The difference between a Directional Light and a Flat Light
It would be best if you also considered whether you want a directional or flat light. Compare the photos below. Jessica took the first photo on a dark, gloomy day. Her commitments prevented her from taking the pictures at the most optimal time. She placed her bonbons in a shady area of her patio where the sun and shade met. It was flat, and there was lots of soft light.
As soon as she finished shooting, the light was bright enough for her to bring in her subject and position it directly in front of a doorway. The upper right corner was lit beautifully, adding depth and highlights to the image.
Shooting chocolate: This will require you to take multiple photos
It may seem obvious, but it’s surprising how many blurry photos of products we see on Instagram. The print doesn’t need to be perfect magazine quality every time. But it should at least be sharp. Try taking the picture from different angles. You can try it from overhead, sideways, with various props, up close and further away. You will have a variety of options. In the best-case scenario, you’ll end up with several photos you can use in other situations. A library of product images is a great thing to have. Since you’ve already set up your studio, why not take multiple photos?
Composing your photos
The way you compose or set up your photos will directly affect how visually appealing they are to your audience. Jessica shared some options for composition. “Filling the Frame” is demonstrated in the following two images. While the first image looks nice, it does not have the same impact as the second. Don’t be scared to crop or get close. Bonbons are tiny, so don’t hesitate.
Extreme closeups can be very dramatic. You can capture every detail with a macro lens or attachment for your smartphone camera. Online, you can order an extension to your phone camera for about $40.00.
Rule of Thirds The “Rule of Thirds” is one of the most well-known composition rules. Divide your image mentally into thirds, both horizontally and vertically. Add interest to your picture by placing your focal point at one of the intersection points.
It’s not necessary to always use an intersection point, but generally, it’s a good idea for you to place your focal points along the lines.
Triangles & Diagonals: Use triangles, diagonals, or groups of three to create dynamic images. Try grouping your chocolate pieces into triangles and groups of three to create more harmonious photos.