Food photography tips: 10 ingredients for delicious images


Food photography is one of the fastest-growing genres of photography, thanks to the rise blogging, smartphones and the popularity of reality television shows about cooking.

But getting the right look in your pictures of food is no easy task. There’s more to food photography than simply snapping your plate, and below we’ve rounded up 10 essential food photography tips to help your images look more professional.

Food photography tips: 10 ingredients for delicious images

Food photography tips: 01 Use natural light
Natural light can be lovely for food shots but you need lots of it to bring out colour and contrast. Try shooting next 
to a large window or consider taking your dishes outside to photograph them.

Food photography tips: 02 Better flash
A flashgun can supply all the light you need, but it’s prone to producing ‘specular highlights’ (unwanted small, very bright spots). Try bouncing the flash off a sheet of white card instead 
of firing it directly at the food.

Food photography tips: 03 Composition
It’s usually best to be minimal with composition but a couple of props, such as quality crockery or fine cutlery, can add to the shot. Use them sparingly and choose items that suit the mood you’re aiming to convey.

Food photography tips: 04 Go geometric

Strong geometric shapes work well, so keep this in mind when cutting food and arranging it together on the plate prior to shooting.

Food photography tips: 05 Add garnish

Blandly coloured food, such as bowls of pasta, can look particularly unappetising. An easy way to liven up less visually interesting dishes is to simply add some colourful garnish.

Food photography tips: 10 ingredients for delicious images

Food photography tips: 06 Picture Styles
Alandscape Picture Style accentuates blues and greens, while a standard Picture Style emphasises reds and yellows. Therefore, to get the best out of your subjects, ensure you choose the style that best suits the colours that you are looking to enhance.

Food photography tips: 07 White Balance

Different manual White Balance settings, such as Daylight, Cloudy, Shade and Tungsten, can add trendy colour casts to make shots look more dynamic.

Food photography tips: 08 Selective focus
A small depth of field, where 
only a small part of the dish is in focus, can work really well. Use a macro or long telephoto lens at a wide aperture for best results.

Food photography tips: 09 Bump up the colour

For real colour impact, increase the saturation setting in a Custom Picture Style, or do this after the event 
in a program such as Digital Photo Professional or Photoshop Elements.

Food photography tips: 10 Hot shots

If food is supposed to look hot, it should be steaming. Get everything set up first so that you’re ready to shoot food straight from the oven.


Food photography made easy: professional tips you can easily digest
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Photo Ideas: fine art food photography
Still life photography: depth of field mastered in 8 steps
10 rules of photo composition (and why they work)

  • MmmmApp

    We like the simplicity of these suggestions.
    Some general pointers without making your food look unrealistically good.

    I’m guessing that our app users have read this blog post.. 😉

  • Donnie Robertson


  • Copper Eye

    Sales Pitches? I’m a little confused – maybe I’m a bit dim – where are the sales pitches?
    Point 1 – Use Natural Light – last time I heard natural light was free
    Point 2 -Better Flash – OK the title could lead to thinking it’s a sales pitch but if you read the point you will see it just says if you use flash bounce it – I suppose white card was mentioned – is this a sales pitch?
    Point 3 – Composition – using cutlery and other such items could be construed as a sales pitch
    Point 4 – Go Geometric – no sales pitch here
    Point 5 – Add Garnish – is the parsley industry doing some subliminal advertising
    Point 6 – Picture Style – making use of your camera no saes pitch
    Point 7 – White Balance – Technique not sales pitch
    Point 8 – Selective Focus (see above)
    Point 9 – Bump up the colour – so is this an Adobe sponsored item to make us all rush out and buy photoshop
    Point 10 – Hot Shots – Technique not sales pitch

    So what we have is a fiendish plot by paper makers, cutlery makers and parsley growers to make photographers run out and buy items we don’t need.

    Or maybe you comment on the post is completely ridiculous and probably intended to make yourself be seen as an anti-capitalist rebel. Or you have, more likely, copied it from someone else and just pasted it without looking at the content you supposed commenting on. I mean using Ya instead of You – how old are you? (or should I say Ya)

    I have had nothing to do with the article I don’t work for a paper mill or cutlery maker and I’m certainly not a parsley grower. What I am is a photographer who likes to learn and will read odd posts like this and gets absolutely fed up of idiots like yourself making ridiculous out of context comments.

    The tips are good and I like the fact that they have considered composition and geometry; looked at selective depth of field. So I suppose my meaning to all of this is
    Be Quiet Unless You Have Something Sensible To Contribute

  • Jim Polaski

    I shot food for 25+years in Chicago and this is an overly simplistic view of shooting food not to mention the awful photo of the croissant with the horrible knife. Any photo we do is MADE, not taken. Composition, props, lighting, etc need to be carefully considered and one really needs to think of how everything relates in the photo and tells a story of sorts. As my old mentor would say, “A photo has to have a LOOK” and by that something that makes it special.