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Food Photography – 5 Tasty Tips & Tricks

Whether snapping pictures of your dinner while on your vacation to Cancun, or posting shots on the food blog you’ve started to promote your fabulous cupcake baking skills, the process of capturing food at its most flattering takes a little know-how.  If you follow these 5 simple tips and tricks, you will be on your way to capturing the deliciousness of grandma’s fresh-baked oatmeal cookies, or making those restaurant fajitas look as good as they smell.
  1.  Lighting

    Lighting is everything!  Use natural light whenever possible. The ideal place to set up your shot is next to a large window.  Just because you are shooting food, don’t feel that you are confined to the kitchen. Move around until you are able to find the perfect natural lighting.  Do not use your built in flash because this makes for shiny spots that are unappealing. If you have food that is steaming, try using backlight. This will allow the steam to show up in the image.
  2. Setting

    Choose a setting that does not distract from your food.  Keep it simple by using a plain tablecloth or background.  Place the food on plates that contrast against the color of the food, not ones that are the same color.  The dishes need to harmonize with your food.  Take anything off of the table that is distracting and pair down to one plate or bowl of food. However, if the food itself isn’t really visually stimulating, like pea soup, get creative with props and cropping.  Always remember the “more is less” rule when in doubt.
  3. Before & After Shots

    You’ve spent hours in the kitchen creating that perfect Pineapple Upside Down Cake for your foodie blog post.  Why not let your followers see all the sweat and tears you put into making this glorious creation?  Sometimes all of the chopping and mixing can be just as interesting as the final product. Just simply showing one shot before the food is cooked helps people to understand the final image.  Another option is to take shots of the process step by step, including a group photo of the ingredients, slicing, dicing, boiling in the pot, and the final presentation. Sometimes, showing the food cooking makes for a better final shot than a picture of it served on a plate.  This is especially true for slow cooker recipes.
  4.  Vary the Angle

    Variety is the spice of life.  The same is true with photography, including photographing food.  Choose your angles wisely so you create a sense of perspective, depth and scale.  Remember, different angles will work better for different types of shots and food.  For example, if you photograph a row of muffins from an angle above them you can create leading lines through the frame.  Some plates of food look better from the side, or from above, or even at a 45-degree angle.  Takes lots of pictures, moving around the food and see which angle looks best  
  5.  Don't Move

    You’ve cooked all day, prepared the perfect setting for your photo shoot, placed an impeccable serving of food on the plate, and took tons of pictures of your masterpiece.   A feeling of dread washes over you when you start looking through the hundreds of photos you just took of the most beautiful red velvet cupcakes you have ever seen and they are a complete blur!  No worries, unless you have already demolished these yummy cupcakes, there is still time to correct this problem. The cause for the blurriness could be that you need to move to an area with more natural lighting.  Or, you could just need to hold your camera steadier.  If you aren’t able to do this, you may need to purchase a tripod to hold your camera for you.  There are a variety of tripods for you to choose from, available in all price ranges, at  If you’re not ready to splurge for more equipment just yet, or would rather have your camera in your hands, try resting your camera on the back of a chair or heavy water glass.  One last thing you can try is increasing your shutter speed, which also may include opening your aperture to make up for the difference.   Photographing food can be fun and rewarding when done correctly.  When you think about it, there’s really not much difference between photographing food and people.  It’s all about the lighting, background, angles, exposure and “wardrobe”.  The results however, can be mouthwatering when applied to food! You can find all of the equipment you’ll need from point and shoot digital cameras to photography training guides to help you take the perfect food photography at
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