The food photography tips you forget


We all know that good, natural lighting and the right angles can make a food photograph look delicious but here are the tips you forget.

Taking good photographs of food requires skill and a fine attention to detail. As well as the food photography tips you always hear there are a few others that you might have missed. Whether you’re taking a food selfie or a professional marketing image, understand these five principles.

Use less food than usual

Although many people are guilty of piling their plates with food, less is more when it comes to food photography. If the shot spills over with food it can be hard to focus in on specific parts of the image, making it look very unappealing to the eye. Leaving empty space around the edge of the plate creates a contrast between the food and background, making the image clearer and better defined.

Depth of field

Close up shots of food are essentially macro shots which blur out the surrounding background. This can work well to add depth to a photograph but only if the arrangement is continuous. Shooting a tray of cupcakes is ideal for this kind of frame but if the shot has been styled to accommodate for background elements, these will be hard to spot if they get blurred out. The surroundings may be key to the image.

Shoot ingredients

Your main aim as a food photographer is to make the food look tasty and appealing but this can be tricky with certain dishes. Although it may taste good, it doesn’t necessary look good. When this happens try thinking outside the box, photographing some of the ingredients in the dish. A close up of coffee beans can be far more effective than simply a mug of coffee. Another idea is to capture the cooking or preparation process. A hand stirring a bowl or liquid being poured can look less sloppy.

Mess things up a bit

Sometimes precision just isn’t the best option. Having food arranged perfectly on a plate can be ideal for a number of photography projects but at other times, messing things up a bit brings life to the photos. Get creative and capture food that has had a bite taken out of it. For example a crumbling cookie will work far more effectively, showing that someone has already enjoyed it, marketing the deliciousness.

Know the purpose

Having a clear brief from the beginning is essential when planning the photograph. If there is a certain target audience in mind or the photograph will be printed to fit a certain purpose, this needs to be understood. An image in a cookbook and an image in a glossy magazine can be very different. Know the audience and what will best capture their attention. Professional might override creative, and vice versa.

Stephen Conroy can help you with your latest photography project whether it is food photography for editorial pieces or brand promotion or packaging. Get in touch today to arrange an appointment or find out more about how we can help.


Stephen Conroy
Food Photographer & Director