Bite Size Tips: Amazing Food Photography Primer


Taking great photographs of food is not an easy skill to accomplish, but can be honed with practice.

Once you get an idea of what makes food photography look appealing, you can then create some drool-worthy images with the gear that you have.

Remember when it comes to food photography, making the image look appetising is very important as the aim of photographing food is to make the viewer want to taste them.

Image by Grafmex

Here Are Some Tips On Getting Started With Food Photography:

The Gear:

Have a camera that can shoot in manual mode so that you have greater control over the settings. It would be best to use a prime lens (preferably 50mm f/1.8, cheaper too! Use a macro lens if you have one where necessary) and shoot at wider apertures as having a shallow depth of field can draw viewer’s attention to the main subject in the frame. If natural light is limited, make use of artificial light to softly illuminate the subject – that's about it.

The Set-up:

Food photography is similar to photographing still life, so make sure that your subject is well lit. Try your best to shoot in natural light  (better near a window) as it can bring out the real colours and textures in the image, but in very low light conditions, do not hesitate to use soft artificial lights.

Use the right plates and cutlery to enhance the look of the image as these complement the main subject which is the food.

Image by Zuzi99


When photographing food, the way you compose the image is very important and you need to pay attention to the colours, textures, shapes, lighting (lights and shadows), perspectives, etc.

Use elements in the food or any props to enhance the composition; better yet add a human element to tell a story. Make sure you follow the guidelines of composition to create a powerful image.

If you'd like to learn more about composition, head over to Photzy and take a look at Understanding Composition


To make the food photo look appetising, brush them with products like vegetable oil to enhance their looks (shiny food looks more appetising). You can mist spray if you are photographing raw fruits and vegetables. If you are photographing warm food, capturing the steam in the image gives the feeling that the food was freshly cooked.

Image by Congerdesign

Quick Tips For Better Food Images:

  • Choose fresh fruits and vegetables to photograph
  • Do not over manipulate the looks, rather make the image look natural
  • Best to use a tripod to try various angles while composing
  • Be quick to photograph food as most food can lose their looks, colours, textures or fall apart in a few minutes.
  • Try macro to capture the tiny details.
  • Depending on what enhances the look in the food, shoot from top down or from lower angles to capture the details.
  • Make sure you keep the background neutral
  • Do not overcrowd the frame; give your subject some breathing space (keep it simple)

Do you have any tips for creating good food photographs? If so, please share them in the comments section below!

About Author

Dahlia is a stock photographer and full time educator at Light Stalking. You can find her on Gurushots and see some of her more popular articles at The American Society of Media Photographers. Get to know her better here.

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