Tips for Perfect Food Shots

Sony Alpha Collective photographer Jessica Hirsch (@cheatdayeats on Instagram) dives into a different kind of menu to show how she sets up her Sony cameras to make her dynamic signature-style food shots.

One of the first things that I do is head to my menu and make sure that I am shooting in RAW + JPEG. That's great for doing a quick edit, I'll have the JPEG on my phone and I can just edit there. If I want to get a little bit more into the dynamic range, I will head to the RAW file that's on my computer where I have can bring out the shadows and the highlights. 

Alpha Universe Camera Setup Food Jessica Hirsc

Next I like to make sure I'm in Manual (on the top dial) and I go into the Function settings by pressing the Fn button on the back of my α7R III. I set my Drive Mode to Single Shooting and I also set the Focus Mode to Single-shot AF (AF-S). This allows me to focus on the burger or pizza or something fun like that and shoot one shot at a time.

 

Alpha Universe Camera Setup Food Jessica Hirsch single shot

When I'm going to be shooting something where I have a little bit more movement, something like hot fudge pouring over a sundae or maple syrup, I will go back to Continuous Shooting. To do that I I head back to my Fn button and set the Drive Mode to Continuous Shooting. I set it to Mid, and that will take multiple shots at once so it catches the movement. I will also set it my Focus Mode to Continuous AF (AF-C).

Alpha Universe Camera Setup Food Jessica Hirsch continuous

Alpha Universe Camera Setup Food Jessica Hirsch continuous AF

Because I'm shooting both stills and video for Instagram, I really love to have the memory recall feature (on the mode dial) because I can go from one to another really quickly without having to go into my main menus to change that. It's especially helpful when a shot is moving fast. Being able to catch that motion in a still and then being able to switch over to video instantly is key.

Alpha Universe Camera Setup Food Jessica Hirsch memory dial

When I go to "1" on the mode dial, that's actually set for shooting slow motion video. I have that at 60 frames per second and I double the shutter speed, to 1/125-sec. I leave my f/stop at "4" and my ISO at 640. When I get ready to shoot, I'll analyze the lighting and how much depth of field I want and I'll change the aperture f/stop and ISO as necessary. I like to set my aspect ratio to 3:2 versus 16:9 because it allows me to get the perfect framing for Instagram.

Alpha Universe Camera Setup Food Jessica Hirsch memory

I use memory "2" for shooting 4K. I have that set at 30 frames per second. Shooting in 4K allows me to be able to zoom in in post if I'm shooting to any situation where I might not want to get my camera too close. For example, if there's fire or steam. 

Alpha Universe Camera Setup Food Jessica Hirsch memory

This article was originally published on alphauniverse.com