10 Food Photography Tips and Advice Only The Best Know

Food. Photography. Can you think of any other combination that sounds more perfect than that? We surely can’t. In order to make this bond between the food and photography even stronger, we decided to bring you 10 tips from world’s best food photographers. So get yourself comfortable, grab some food and check out these mouth watering food photography tips from the best!

1. Use Natural Light to Your Advantage

We will start our list with a vegan food and lifestyle photographer Gerard de Moragas. First of all, why did we choose him? Well, if you take a look at his Instagram profile, you’ll stay there for hours. Literally. His perfect setting is to die for. If you’d like to know how he produces these shots, his secret is natural lighting.

“My most important food photography tip is to always use natural light to make your food look appetizing. Try to shoot next to a window or exterior places but be careful because too much light can make your pictures too saturated. Always combine natural light, a good background, simple props and delicious food; that will make your pictures perfect!”

A photo showing a baked pie with fruits on top taken using the natural light from a window
Using natural light can produce mouth watering food photography

2. Find Your Own Food Photography Style

Our next photographer in line is Naomi Sherman and she’s a photographer based in the south of Tasmania and, as she would say, has gotten the best job in the world. According to her photos from Instagram, we would describe her as a perfectionist with an amazing sense for details. Not only is she skillful with her camera but also she wrote down great food photography tips for us:

  • Find your own style.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others. Look at their photos and ask yourself what is it about that image that appeals to you. Is it the light, the styling, bright colors or deep tones?
  • Shoot outside of your comfort zone. That is when you will produce your best work.
  • Trust your instincts. Don’t shoot to make your followers happy. Shoot what makes you happy. That image that makes you proud and excited is the keeper, even if you’re the only one who thinks so. Oh, and have FUN!”
A food photograph showing baked pie arranged with a rugged baking tray, cutlery, and cilantro
Food photographs that make you proud and excited are the ones you should strive for.

3. Overly Complex Photos Burden the Observer

It’s our honor to present you our next photographer, Carolin Strothe, who runs a successful blog and an Instagram profile. Being absolutely in love with food, Carolin has found a perfect way to combine all her passions into one: food, photography and (editorial) design. She was also so kind to share her most valuable tips with us. In summary “An attractive looking dish with a clear texture, the perfect set styling, and atmosphere are the keys to great food photos.

  • Harmony has to do with tidiness and structure. Even when you create a natural chaos in your photos, there is always an underlying compositional system like diagonal and counter brace or golden section or geometric shapes. Anton Stankowski, the famous German graphic designer, phrased this approach in a nutshell: “Harmony has to do with tidiness and structure.
  • Try to be as concise as possible. The simplicity of a photography is decisive. Overly complex photos burden the observer.
  • Details make the essential difference. Little details help a photo to stand out from the crowd. This is why the quote “God is the details” by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (famous German-American architect) is my personal motto.
  • Try to tell a little story within a food photo. Our brain loves stories. These can be small hinted stories with props or ingredients from the dish.
  • Colors, light, and shadows are everything in photography. After all, photography means “Painting with light”. You can improve your food photos very easily when you take pictures next to a shady window while using a light reflector.
A photo of a blueberry ice cream tub created with basic photography composition tools.
Even when you create a natural chaos in your photos, there is always an underlying system like diagonal and counter brace or golden section or geometric shapes

4. Create a Touching Composition That Tells a Story

Let’s continue our list with Martyna Jovaisaite Paukste and her amazing sense of minimalism. Her Instagram profile truly stands out from the crowd. What makes her food photography so special? We would say the simplicity and the cleverness of the food arrangement. It seems as if she puts a lot of time and effort to make a unique scene, but let’s hear her advice, maybe she’ll share her secret food photography tips with us.

The main goal in food photography is not to merely make it look delicious, attractive, and mouth watering. More important is the mood, emotion, and the story behind it.”

  • Know what you want to say. What is your message? It should not be just an appetizing picture.
  • It is all about the light. The light creates mood and temper that could show if it’s a fine dining restaurant, or it is your kitchen table at home with daylight through the window. Dark light, contrasts, intense colors create mystical emotion, it makes you expect something unusual.
  • Decorations and other elements are very important in creating a story. It could be ingredients of the dish or the tools you used.

A shrimp dish decorated with additional elements around the main dish. Cutlery, ingredients, and tools shown helps to tell a story

5. Use Complementary Colors in Your Food Photography

We present you Agnes Cecilia Gällhagen, a wild hearted and quietly rule breaking solopreneur from Stockholm, Sweden, with a sweet spot for plant based food. She quit her job in order to start her own business and many of her Instagram followers support her in her decision. Her food photography also shows her great character so let’s check food photography tips she has to share with us.

  • Work with complementary colors. My number one tip for creating that vibrant, eye-popping quality of great food photography is to work with complementary colors. Red & green, yellow & purple, blue & orange. These color dualities help to enhance each other and create balance. For instance, a red berry smoothie bowl will instantly stand out from the picture if you add a slice of avocado or a sprinkle of green herbs to it.
  • Use neutral backgrounds. To really let my colorful food shine, I like to use fairly neutral backgrounds like marble, gray steel/stone or wooden tables.”

A plant based dish highlighting matching colors of red and green.

6. Master the Art of Observation

From where should we start first? She’s truly an inspiration to many of us. Her name is Bea and she runs Bea’s cookbook blog, a place where she unleashes her love for food and creativity. She says she had never known what she wanted to do in life but luckily ( for all of us) she has discovered her endless passion for food and photography. In addition, Bea’s Instagram account reminds us of our grandma’s pantry, we just want to get inside and eat all the sweets at once! How she manages to stay at the top? Read below to find out!

  • Make learning the most exciting part. There’s something new to learn every day, and that’s the most exciting part of food photography!
  • Food Photography is an art of observation. It’s not about what is in front of the camera but about what you see and about the story you want to tell the world. We often look but we don’t see, we don’t notice.
  • Train your eye, take the time to be in the moment. Be still, look around and learn to notice the beautiful details, interesting patterns, various textures and the magical light. Oh, the light! I promise you, that the minute you start taking pictures of light, the minute you start taking pictures with your heart and your eyes, that’s when the magic will happen!

A berry Pavlova with two layers photographed with incredible light

7. You Have One Goal: To Arouse the Appetite of Anyone

El Oso Con Botas has a biography that’s quite impressive. Since he was a child, he had a keen interest in art, colors, and shapes, which led him to study Architecture in college. Later on, while doing his Ph.D. in Architectural projects in Madrid, he started a Master in Fine Arts and a cooking degree as well. What a journey! His Instagram photos make your speechless, and hungry too. He gave us some great food photography tips but also clever hacks that you should definitely try out.

“One of the most important goals in culinary photography is that the photos will arouse the appetite of anyone., no matter what type of dish is involved. It can be a savory or a sweet fare, but you should always fancy it.”

  • Photography is all about light and food photography is no exception so make sure you have the right light throughout the frame.
  • Put emphasis on food. Concentrate on food and try to avoid objects that can catch the viewer’s eye. Use the correct aperture and do not forget that the wider apertures allow a selective focus and the ability to isolate the subject from the background and foreground elements.
  • Control the light. The goal is to have soft lights throughout the photograph, but at the same time, I love having glitter on the food, it makes it look more attractive. You can brush a little oil or pour a few drops of oil to achieve glitter on savory dishes. For sweets or desserts, you can use honey or syrups for the same effect. If you are photographing ice cream or sorbet try blowing some air carefully with a hair dryer, it will melt slightly and provide that glitter.

A chocolate cake photo with minimalist approach. Soft light is emphasizing the piece of cake while glitter of pouring chocolate give it a mouthwatering texture

8. Make Your Food the Star of the Image

Let’s move to Anjali, more famous as Bakesalotlady. She likes to play around with different cuisines, flavors, ingredients and basically everything that relates to food. Apart from being the “Monica Geller” in her friend circle, she’s also a vocalist and the guitarist. Furthermore, if you take a look at her photos on Instagram you’ll see that she’s crazy about desserts. Moreover, her sweet world of cakes and pies makes us wanna break our diet immediately. We’ll hold our cravings just for now. Here’s what Anjali has to say about her food photography. “Make your food the star of the image. This extremely obvious factor is overlooked unknowingly a lot of times.

  • Eliminate distractions. Most of the times there will be something in the frame that would be stealing your main dish’s spotlight. A yellow colored plate or a purple backdrop etc. If you have anything that drifts the attention of the viewer from the main component, eliminate it. It actually works wonders.  It’s always advisable to focus on your main dish.
  • Don’t be afraid to use editing tools to your advantage. Make the main colors pop, sharpen your image a bit, add some vignette. Just remember, less is more and you have got yourself the formula for a stunning food shot! ******************

Mouthwatering photo of a cherry pie with vanilla ice cream. The photo focus on the plated which holds the food

9. You’re the One Making the Pictures, Not the Camera

We are almost finished with the list ( you’re all probably hungry but be patient). Let’s meet our next photographer, Beatriz Rodríguez. In 2012 she started her own blog called Tobegourmet which is driven by her passion for gastronomy and the digital world of food photography. In addition, she says that her passion for photography is slowly growing, so are her followers on Instagram. The food photography tips that she shares with you are precise and smartly designed, so let’s check them out.

  • Tweak the light. Play with the curtains and if you don’t have them, just make them up to soften backlighting to highlight texture profiles. You can also use a thin piece of fabric on the window and avoid hard shadows.
  • Don’t increase ISO to gain light. Instead, reduce speed and use a tripod and a shutter release for a sharp image
  • Control the range of colors. Dress the scene as if you were getting dressed, combining the tones and avoiding a clash. Use the color also to transmit feelings. If you are in doubt, just two colors should do the job.
  • Leave the food to the end. First, plan the scene with an empty plate. Take your time, try different variations. Move things around, look through your camera, as the framing will produce a different view.
  • You, and not the camera, make the pictures. I have seen wonderful pictures done with a mobile phone and terrible shots with the best camera in the world. So, instead of dreaming about an expensive camera, get familiar with composition rules, study a lot of pictures, and identify the rules within them.

A photo of a chicken recipe. One of the best food photography tips is to pay attention to composition

10. Always Shoot in Manual Mode

We’re finishing today’s list with our food photographer, Marian Moschen.  When he first started he had made many attempts to bake cakes but failed. However, with the practice, he was able to improve his skills and create an Instagram following that welcomes his mouth watering art.

The most important thing you have to know when starting food photography is your camera. Take the manual, read what every button is used for and try them all out. You will be surprised how good even the non-pricey cameras are.

  • Start shooting in manual mode. This is the start of freedom in food photography. By controlling focus and brightness in your photos, you soon start to have a lot of fun.
  • Use aperture as a creative tool. Make backgrounds look sharp or create a wonderful bokeh by playing with aperture.
  • User shutter speed as a creative tool. Freeze movement by using very short exposure times at bright lighting conditions. You can also make movements visible by using a long exposure time, which makes a very soft and moving picture.

A chocolate fountain shot in manual mode being true to this Food photography tip

Who’s hungry and who’s holding their camera to take some great shots of food? We hope we’ve inspired you to try some of our food photographers’ advice, and hopefully, share your photographs with us! Hit the comment button below and you can upload your own photos.

Giveaway: We are giving away one free PhotoBlog Pro account to a lucky commenter who uploads a mouthwatering food photograph in the comments below!

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About the author

Aleksandra Milinkovic

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