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Food porn, what is it and what is it used for?

Food porn ¿Qué y por qué saberlo?

A picture is worth a thousand words, a principle that governs and exploits food porn.

The key to food porn is to captivate the audience with images.

These images, usually processed photographs, must attract attention and must be adapted to the aesthetic tastes of the customers.

Although for the moment it is not possible to convey smells and tastes, this is an ideal strategy to arouse interest in consuming what is in front of your eyes.

The reception of this information is possible through a television, computer or mobile phone, among other devices.

In this marketing concept, not only the quality of the dishes is taken into account, but also the way in which they are served on the platter and the presentation.

The photographer is in charge of awakening the sensation of appetite and desire, taking pictures from different angles and illuminations where each of the ingredients of the dish are detailed.

Learn more about this famous marketing trend, what are its objectives and some tips to encourage you to apply it in your restaurant.

What is food porn?

Food porn is a term that is part of the trends in social networks, in which the world of catering and hospitality is involved.

This term refers to photographs of food dishes that attract people to visit your restaurant by showing every ingredient of the dish in an attractive and irresistible way.

This strategy is widely used as part of brand marketing. Fast food chain restaurants and businesses that offer foods high in sugar are some of the brands that invest the most in this type of photography.

They seek to encourage their customers through the view in order to promote the consumption of their dishes and recipes.

In addition to the food being of high quality and having an incredible presentation, photography contributes 50% of the effectiveness of food porn.

The person in charge of taking the photos must take into account a series of aspects to achieve a seductive image, which will generate a desire in people to consume it.

The word food porn also refers to the fact that, thanks to the sensations produced by observing these photographs, food dishes can replace sex.

Known origins of the term food porn

It is a term that has had several mentions since the 1970s and that thanks to the emergence of social networks has become increasingly well-known. It is common to see it as a hashtag on restaurant networks.

The word was first mentioned in December 1977, in an article written by Alexander Cockburn and published by The New York Review of Books.

In that article, it was stated that gastro-porn boosts people’s emotions. It also creates a sense that the dishes are unattainable by showing colour photographs in the writing.

However, the first reference to this concept, as written, was made in 1984 by Rosalind Coward.

She used the term in her book “Feminine Desire”. In it, Coward used “food porn” to express that the presentation of the elements is a way of showing feelings.

To close his vision, Corward indicated that the presentation is a way of thanking people for coming to the restaurant.

On the other hand, he mentions that, although food porn photographs cause different sensations in people, they do not show the process of elaboration of the food.

Objectives of food porn

The aim of using these photographs is to capture people’s attention, generate a sense of appetite and entice them to eat the dishes you have on your restaurant’s menu, to make their mouths water.

It is not enough to take pictures of a simple plate of food. It must have elements of colour, products that attract the attention of potential customers and a décor that will stimulate the palate and the appetite of people to eat in your establishment.

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These images should show different angles of the dish, different types of lighting and varied approaches to recreate photographs that look seductive and irresistible.

In this way, you achieve the feeling of pleasure that you want to convey to people.

Tips on how to take food porn style photos

Food porn style photographs are ideal for increasing the clientele of your restaurant, through images of the dishes that seduce and incite people to visit your business to eat them.

A camera will be your assistant in this task, so it is important that the images have a good resolution so that every detail and ingredient of the dish can be perceived.

Follow each of the recommendations to take the best pictures, whether you have experience or not, and you will see how your business will succeed in the gastronomic world.

Have some extra batteries on hand

Food porn photo shoots often take a long time because you take pictures of the dishes from different angles and then choose the best ones.

If your camera runs out of battery in the middle of the shoot, having a few extra batteries will help you continue shooting in less than two minutes.

If the batteries that have run out are rechargeable, charge them up so that they have power in case you need to change them again.

Memories for storing images

Depending on the format in which you take the pictures and their size, you should have one or more memory sticks to store the images in case you run out of space.

If you save your images in JPG format, the format compresses the file and the images take up less space.

However, editing is easy as there is not a lot of information to correct. This image format can be saved in 4 gigabytes or larger.

On the other hand, the RAW format saves the images in their original size and can be modified by more editing tools. To save these images, you need memory that stores from 16 GB and upwards.

Choose the best editing software

Regardless of the format in which you took the images, it is necessary to edit the small details to achieve the perfect picture or to improve some elements such as lighting.

Lightroom is a tool you get from Adobe’s website. By paying just over €10 a month, you get access to all the benefits, you can start by downloading the free trial version.

It has a user-friendly interface, easy to sync with your mobile devices and gives you the opportunity to create a portfolio of your work on Behance.

Another application that is useful for editing photos is Photoshop, which although it offers the same tools as Lightroom has a slightly slow interface because you can’t access the image folders.

Best lens for food porn photos

In this type of photography it is important to show every detail of the dishes, including the textures of the ingredients it contains when zooming in with the lens.

With a macro lens it is easier to capture the products it contains to show a detailed and appetizing side of the dishes.

You can use either a 50mm or 100mm lens, although the 50mm lens is much more versatile and easier for inexperienced people to use.

Perfect illumination

Besides batteries, editing software, storage memories and other tools, lighting is the main factor that makes a food porn session perfect.

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The lighting that can be used in this type of photography can be natural or artificial.

To use natural light you should bring the plate close to a window with enough sunlight. You can place a curtain to control the entry of light at the moment of taking the picture.

You should choose a good space in the establishment where you think the lighting is ideal for the photographs and decide on the times of day when the light is best for you to start the photo sessions.

Artificial light, on the other hand, has three different types of light so that you can choose the ideal light for the space in which you are taking the photographs and that every detail of the dishes can be appreciated.

Studio flash

Studio flashes are large and powerful.

This type of flash needs a diffuser to control the shadow or light to be used.

Its power is higher than any other flash, so it tends to be used professionally.

With the help of this flash you can take pictures in dim lighting or in dark rooms.

In addition, you can add accessories such as light rings, filters, diffusers or anything that helps to give a different lighting to the image.

Speedlight

It is a small, versatile flash that can be placed on the camera or wirelessly on a tripod.

Some speedlights have the ability to tilt, swivel and be used wirelessly with a control to control the intensity of the light

The flash illuminates any object at a distance of more than 30 metres, a much greater range than the flash that comes with the camera.

On-camera flash

If you have an on-camera flash it is necessary to fit a diffuser to reduce the intensity of the strong light it emits so that it does not burn the image with too much light.

Take test shots so that you can choose which diffuser to use and what is the ideal way to control the lighting of your food porn photos.

Additional tools and recommendations

To perfect the lighting of the image and to add details that make a difference in the photographs you capture , use the following recommendations and observe the change:

Backgrounds

If you use black cardboard or fabric in the background you will generate a contrast when placing the plate. You will make it the sole protagonist of the photograph by accentuating its ingredients.

As only one flash is used, white paper is used to distribute the light throughout the image so that the plate is clearly visible.

If you want to reflect the light, you can use 5-in-1 reflectors or aluminium foil. The difference between the two is that the 5-in-1 reflectors come in different sizes and offer you various types of lights to set the scene for your photos.

Tripod or tripod

If you got the ideal angle of the pictures, the tripod is the ideal tool to make sure you don’t miss the perfect spot.

In case you haven’t found it, play around moving the camera with the tripod and change angles until the pictures show what they have to offer.

Water spray

The water sprayer contains special mixtures to moisturise food for a fresh appearance.

These substances are mixtures of water and glycerine, or water and baby oil. These ingredients are used so that the water remains attached to the food for longer.

Photographing freshly cooked food

The best tip for perfect food porn photography is to portray fresh, freshly made food.

Every ingredient in a dish has a time until it loses its image, so take advantage of the textures and colours before they deteriorate.

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