8 Tips to Taking Perfect Food Photos

Liz Alterman | Feb 10, 2015 Food & Party

Butternut Squash Crostini with Ricotta, Cider Caramelized Onions and Fried Sage

Nothing makes you want to try a new recipe like mouth-watering food photography, right? Today's food bloggers seem to have perfected the art of taking gorgeous, leap-off-the-screen pictures that leave you salivating. Just look at this Butternut Squash Crostini With Ricotta, Cider Caramelized Onions, and Fried Sage. Yum. If you've ever wondered how these foodies do it, you're in luck! 

Here, eight food bloggers share their secrets to capturing stunning shots without fancy cameras or a stable of expensive props. Best of all, these tips are geared toward all kinds of beginners, whether you want to shoot your own culinary creations or simply take a great photo of your lunch to share with your friends on Instagram. In fact, if good photography is the only thing standing between you and starting a food blog, no more excuses! 

#3 is a great suggestion and a fun excuse to taste-test your latest creation.

What's your secret for making your dishes look amazing in pictures?


food photography tips

Images via ChezCateyLou/Instagram and ©iStock.com/Rasulovs  

  • Use Natural Light


    "My biggest photography trick is natural light," explains food blogger Cate, founder of ChezCateyLou.com. "It makes a world of difference in photos -- with both iPhone cameras and fancy cameras."

    "Also another inexpensive photography trick to utilize natural light is to make a reflector: cover a box or thick piece of cardboard with aluminum foil and tape it down. Voila! A quick, cheap, and easy reflector! I use a small size box from Amazon -- that way, the reflector can stand on its own."

  • Keep Your Hands Steady


    Ashley Rodriguez, founder of the award-winning food blog Not Without Salt, says sharp images require a steady hand. 

    "Hold the iPhone as you would a camera, with two hands," Rodriguez advises in the blog she writes for Craftsy.com. "Keep the phone close to your body, where you have the most stability.

    "I recently learned the picture is taken after you release your finger from the 'shutter' button, not when you press it, so keep the camera steady throughout the entire process."

  • Play With Your Food


    "Don't be afraid to play with your food or mess things up! Break the cookie in half, take a bite of the sandwich, or twirl the spaghetti on the fork. Real food is good food," says food blogger Maria Lichty, founder of Two Peas & Their Pod

  • Shoot From Above


    Food photographer and blogger Brian Samuels, founder of A Thought for Food, shares why shooting from above is often your best bet.

    "Because the iPhone doesn’t have the same depth of field capabilities as a DSLR, shooting from the side doesn’t always work as well as one would like. The best way to capture a dish (or a whole table of plates) is to get the shot from above. If you do shoot from the side, keep your shot simple and with minimal props because everything in the shot will remain in focus."

  • Look for Interesting Props


    Kristen, who runs The Endless Meal food blog, says, "Always be on the lookout for new (at least to you) props. Some of the more interesting props that I have found are a newspaper, old postcards, and interestingly shaped dishes."

  • Try Different Angles


    Food blogger and photographer Kate, founder of Cookie and Kate, suggests trying different angles to show off your dish.

    "Some plates of food look better from above, or from the side, or at a 45-degree angle. Try moving around the plate and taking photos at various angles so you can pick your favorite later."

  • Get Comfortable With Editing Tools


    How do you take an otherwise dull photo and make it pop? Editing, of course!

    The experts at Oh My Veggies suggest that if you don’t want to invest in Photoshop, try Gimp, which is free, or Photoshop Elements, a more affordable consumer version of Photoshop. Or, if you'd rather do your photo editing online, try PicMonkey or other photo editing apps available for the iPhone. At a minimum, always crop and sharpen your images.

  • Don't Give Up!


    "My number one piece of advice: Practice makes perfect," notes Sally, founder of Sally's Baking Addiction. "Take hundreds of photos. Tons. Keep working at it."

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