What Color Plates Should I Use for Food Photography?

What Color Plates Should I Use for Food Photography? - bzyoo

Food photography is an art that goes beyond capturing delicious dishes—it’s about creating a feast for all five senses. Plate selection significantly influences the visual appeal of food photos, delighting the eye and enticing the palate. In our comprehensive guide, we will explore the science and art behind choosing the right color plates for food photography. 

How Color Theory Works in Food Photography

Before diving into the specifics of plate selection, it’s essential to grasp the basics of color theory and how colors interact. The color wheel contains primary colors (yellow, blue, and red), along with secondary (purple, orange, and green) and tertiary colors. An understanding of how colors work together forms the foundation of plate selection for food photography.

  • Complement and contrast: Contrasting colors are opposite one another on the color wheel, and they create vibrancy and visual appeal. Complementary colors, conversely, are adjacent on the color wheel and evoke balance and harmony. Applying these principles will help you choose plates that enhance the style and color of your food. 
  • Monochrome schemes: A monochromatic color scheme involves different tones and shades of single colors. Consider using shades that complement dishes without overpowering them.
  • Analogous colors: These shades are next to one another on the color wheel. Sharing similar undertones, analogous color schemes provide a feeling of unity and will work when choosing plates to subtly complement the food’s colors.

Read on to learn how to choose the best plate colors, styles, finishes, and textures for different types of food.

Neutral Tones for Greater Versatility and Better Photos

Neutral colors like white, light gray, and beige are great choices for food photography. They create a timeless, clean backdrop, allowing the textures and colors of your food to shine. White ceramic plates are preferred for their ability to display varied, vibrant dishes without unnecessary distraction.

Contrasting Colors for Additional Impact

For dishes with monochromatic or neutral tones, consider choosing plates that offer visual contrast. Bold reds, rich greens, deep blues, and other vibrant colors make foods pop and add dynamism to your photos.

Earth Tones for Timeless Authenticity and Appeal

If you’re snapping photos of organic or rustic dishes, muted greens, terra cotta, and warm browns lend a more natural aesthetic. These earthy tones evoke feelings of authenticity and warmth, making them fine choices for photographers who want to capture the spirit of homemade or farm-to-table cuisine.

Pastel Plates for Pretty Desserts

For delicate, stylish desserts, plates in pastel shades of green, blue, yellow, and pink will enhance visual appeal and taste. Pastel colors create an inviting, whimsical atmosphere that’s ideal for capturing the unique charm of baked goods and desserts.

Dark Tones for Understated Elegance

For gourmet, upscale presentations, dark tones like deep burgundy, navy, and charcoal add class and sophistication. These shades create an elegant backdrop that complements the finest dishes, allowing them to exude refinement.

Change Plate Colors With the Seasons

Consider each dish’s seasonal elements and choose plate colors accordingly. Airy, light pastels work well for spring and summer meals, while deep, rich tones evoke a warm, welcoming autumn atmosphere. 

Keep the Backdrop Consistent for a Cohesive Look

When choosing plate colors, consider the background and setting of the photos. Consistency in tone between the backdrop, the plates, and the food contributes to a unified, harmonious composition. With a consistent background, the viewer’s eye will be drawn where it should be—to the food.

Adding Contrast Makes Dishes Come to Life

If you are using a monochromatic or neutral backdrop, consider choosing dinnerware in contrasting colors. This helps the plates stand out and adds visual appeal to the photos. On the other hand, neutral, simple plates are best for colorful and busy backgrounds.

Think About Texture and Finish

Along with color, plate texture determines the visual appeal of food photographs. A matte finish reduces glare, while a textured surface adds interest and depth. Experiment with different textures and finishes to find the ideal complement to your delicious dishes.

The Shape of Things to Come

For food photos, the shape of the plate is just as important as the color. If you’re snapping pics from a straight-on angle, use flat plates that make the food more visible. For overhead shots, pick a deep plate. Bowl-like dishes are a great way to show stews and soups. The shallow depth of such a dish allows the food’s texture and its saucy nature to come through in photos.

A Little Experimentation is a Good Thing

Food photography is an art as much as it is a science, and there are no rules in this creative pursuit. Try to experiment with different plate arrangements and colors to find those that work for your style and the foods you’re photographing. Taking test shots in different lighting conditions will reveal how colors interact.

Hit the Lights

Most food photographers go with bi-color lighting. For most viewers, warm-toned lighting at a low color temperature makes food look more appealing. The right lighting brings out the color of your plates and the visual flavor of the food.

Choose Your Plates and Take Some Photos

We taste our food with our eyes before it touches our lips, and most believe that dishes taste better when they’re well-presented. Even basic meals can benefit from careful plate color selection and thoughtful presentation. Selecting the best plate colors for food photography involves artistic freedom and a deep understanding of color theory. Whether you select vibrant contrasts, classic neutrals, or muted earth tones, the goal is to make culinary creations more visually appealing. 

An eye for composition, attention to detail, and a bit of experimentation will help you choose plates that take your photos to a higher level. The artistry of food photography isn’t confined to the plate—it’s also in the colorful interplay that makes every photo a feast for the eye. With the tips included in our guide, you’ll be able to choose the right plate color for every food photography session.