Work out the technical details before the actual food arrives: Food that is under those lights can become wilted or tired and lose its visual appeal.
- Camera settings
Most successful images of food will have a secondary subject, out of focus, in the background, to lend depth and layers to the image. It is not always necessary, but in general it will just make the photo all the more interesting.
Lighting: ahh, that is what can make a dish look tempting and wonderful. Start simple and add lights as you see the need. Start with one light, use a reflector to get some more light where you need it. As you add a light, adjust and add reflector(s) as you see the need. Do not add another light until you are happy with the first one. A good single light setup is a softbox, lighting from the side of camera position (front side) and a reflector on the back side to help fill in the shadows. Using continuous lights (Westcott’s Spiderlites) is perfect, because you will see exactly what your results will be without having to take the photo–what you see is what you get !!
Keep in good communication with the chef, he or she knows what they want to feature with each particular dish and they are the ultimate person to please.