The Importance of Food Lens Choice and Position

Words and images by Bob Coates

When photographing food, lens choice can help tell your story or dilute it. Today we’ll talk about a wide-angle lens. Specifically, we'll discuss two different situations and how it can make the environment the star, or make it secondary.

In this first image, the food is definitely a strong part of the story, but the room and musical decor are highlighted. The lens is a 7.5mm f/2.0 Laowa. This has the equivalent field of view of a 15mm full frame lens. In the shot below, the food is not close to the lens. A little extra work was needed in post production because the chardonnay wine glass was on the edge of the frame. One of the perils of working with wide angle glass is distortion out on the edges!

One thought here. I had to photograph this during the day during "down-time" for the restaurant. However, we needed the image to reflect a nighttime feel.

Therefore, after the processing for the image for daytime, a Curves Layer was added in Photoshop. The entire image was brought down and made more like night. A mask was then added, and some of the darkening was blocked by adding brightness to the food and drink.


The below image of the seafood dish on the deck was made with the same 7.5mm lens, but the food was brought front and center. It's in your face, so to speak. The red rock view scene in the background then becomes a supporting actor in the photo.

Obviously, other lenses can tell your story as well, but when you want some extra attention, the wide angle view can push your image to an extreme by putting the attention where you want it to be!

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