Camera angles are one of the most essential aspects of food photography. Shoot with the wrong camera angle and a perfectly good dish can look simply terrible as an image. There are three basic angles that I use when shooting food---each angle reserved for particular types of food. Master these three angles and you'll be shooting like a pro in no time!
Camera Angle #1 - FrontalThis camera angle is reserved specifically for vertical types of food. Whenever the food is going to be stacked, like in the image of the brownies, I tend to use this angle.
To pull this camera angle off you must position the camera at the exact height of the food and completely level with the table.A tripod is essential for this angle. This camera angle tends to work best with flat and square type of food...baked goods for instance work especially well.
Camera Angle #2 - OverheadThis is one of my favorite camera angles because it is usually my fall-back angle if nothing else works. But not just that, this angle works really well for loose, messy type food like salads, rice, or soups...in essence, any food that doesn't have a strong solid structure.
Position the plate of food on a low table or on the seat of a chair and hover directly above the plate. Try to get directly on top and not at a slight angle.For this angle I also tend to style the food knowing that I'll be viewing it from above, so for this image of Succotash I piled the Succotash in the center but also made sure to spread it out in a pleasing pattern.
Camera Angle #3 - 3 Quarter AngleThis angle is probably the one most often used for food that is solid and structured. I like this angle because it could be slightly adjusted to create vastly different results, making it an incredibly versatile camera angle.
Position the camera one foot above the food and angle the camera down so that the plate fills the frame. Position the plate of food so that the side of the food is slightly facing the camera.In this image of a Spanish tortilla notice how the "point" of the slice is pointing toward the corner. Positioning the slice this way gives me a broader side view without it being flat. This positioning is borrowed from portrait photography where the subject turns slightly and face slightly to the right of the camera.
The great thing about all three of these angles is that they can be varied slightly to produce an incredible amount of diversity.
The most important thing to remember is to chose an angle that will best display the food. Analyze the type of structure the food has, and then choose an angle.
Do any of you have a favorite type of camera angle you like to shoot with? I'd love to hear about it in the comments.