I get e-mails from Photojojo, which sends out a twice weekly e-mails on off-beat photography tips. From the most recent e-mail:
Ten Tasty Tips for Photographing Food
1. Setting - choose a plain background, and make sure there are no distracting items in the background, like utensils or trash.
2. Lighting - natural lighting is best for food. Using the flash flattens out the contours and moist areas on the food reflect the light too much, making for shiny spots.
3. Color balance - use the color balance on the camera, otherwise food will look unappetizing if it looks too blue or yellow. Some adjustment can be done on the computer afterwards. On my camera, I can change the color balance to red, green or blue, as well as balancing for different kinds of light. I think the best bet would be to take several pictures in natural or ambient light and see what looks best.
4. Don't move - since it's best to use ambient light, make sure you're either using a tripod or have the camera steadied on a chair. Sometimes the exposure will have to be quite long.
5. Shoot a lot - as I said above, use different color settings and also take the food from different angles.
6. Zoom in - use the macro setting on the camera. The food should fill the field of the camera.
7. Preparation - they suggst that taking pictures of the preparation of the food can be interesting.
8. Be Quick - get pictures of the food when it is first served so you're not getting nauseating images of congealed fat or wilted lettuce. I laughed at this. I often forget to take pictures of meals with friends until the end of the meal - when there are scattered fish bones and splotches of food on the plates.
9. Details - wipe away smudges from the edges of plates, get in close for textures and even garnish the plates with a sprig of parsley or slice of lemon.
10. The last tip had me laughing - also know when not to shoot food. The meal may be delicious but if it's all brown, it might not look appetizing. The article likes to a picture of hagis to prove its point - you'd have to be a real artist to make it look delicious!
Photojojo has lot of interesting photography tips. It's worth checking out - and the twice weekly email updates are fun to read (the subscribe box thingy is right on the home page).