This week I’m all about finding your signature style in the world of food photography.
If you’re a subscriber to Food Blogging Collective, you’ll be getting an email all about my own style, and how it suddenly jumped out at me. You see, I’ve been doing some rejigging, moving content from my other two(!) sites over to this one, and I recently was able to view my food photography side by side, as a portfolio with its own unique style.
That got me thinking. It’s pretty difficult for a new food blogger to choose their style right from the get-go. Sure, there are those that are fascinated by chiaroscuro and so make it their aim to perfect that technique, but for the rest of us, we just want to show off our recipes in a good light. Every food blogger struggles with food photography at first (unless you’re a photographer making the leap over) and so in the beginning, it’s more about getting any shot you can use – not holding out for the perfect one.
After you’ve been practising and posting for a while, however, it’s more common to find that a specific style has developed and to fall into the same sorts of patterns. But wouldn’t it be great if you could go back in time and start that way, proud of every single shot?
First of all, what do we mean by a “signature style”?
By signature style, I am talking about what it is that differentiates your pictures from the next blogger’s. I’m not discussing quality and techniques here (as I said, that comes with practise); rather I’m thinking of what your pictures actually look like.
Incidentally, Tieghan over at HBH is my favourite food photographer; I always think her food looks like we’re already sitting down together enjoying it. Yum!
Why you should choose a signature style
If you haven’t thought about your signature style yet, then I urge you to do so. Jot down some words that sum up what message you’re giving out with your recipes and what problem you are solving for your readers.
Some words you might use include: comfort, light, quick, easy, healthy, decadent, family.
You might also find that your cuisine (Mediterranean, Asian, Southern) or cooking style (stir-fry, casseroles, lunchboxes) dictate a certain colour or backdrop. If so, go with it! Embrace your style!
And if you’re still not convinced, here are some great reasons why your blog would benefit from a signature style:
#1 Easier to shop for new accessories and props
Imagine if you always shoot on white plates. Or blue. Or use copper cutlery. The next time you’re browsing, looking for inspiration, you can head straight for accessories that fit the bill, rather than being tempted to buy everything in the shop.
#2 To create a cohesive look
Any website or portfolio will look more professional if your photographs share the same look – just think about all those gorgeous themed feeds on Instagram.
In terms of potential clients, it’s much easier for them to see if you’d be a good potential match if they can tell what your vibe is – better than if you’re undecided and all over the place.
In terms of readers, a tightly cohesive style makes them feel at home on your website and more likely to stick around a while and try your recipes.
#3 People begin to recognise your style
If you’re using Pinterest religiously like I am, then you’ll know how important it is to make sure that it’s your pins that get clicked on. If you’ve got a signature style for your food photographs, then it makes it easier for hungry pinners to recognise your recipes at a glance. And, if they’ve already cooked and enjoyed your food, then they’re more likely to seek you out again – so make it simple for them to find you!
#4 You don’t need to worry about what to use for styling
Ever been on a deadline for your shoot? Yup, me too. Failing light, hungry diners, impatient children and clients paying by the hour are all added stresses on your time. You have to get the shot FAST. But how should you style it? Would it look better on this platter or this one? What colour napkin?
Hold it right there!
You have a signature style. So go grab that trusty setup that always works and get shooting. Time: saved.
Over to you!
Now that you have heard some reasons why you should have a signature style, you can start building your inspiration into your future photo shoots. Your blog will thank you for it.
And if you’re ready to take better food shots:
What’s your signature style? Which food bloggers make you drool? Leave a comment for us all below.