Summer is just about over and Fall is almost here.  And with Fall comes amazing foods: Hearty stews, warm apple pies and all-things pumpkin. As you dive into all the delicious foods common during this time of the year, make sure you grab some photos. After all, you worked so hard on making {or buying!} the food, why not capture some photos to remember it?

Here are 7 food photography tips to get you started.

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Food Photography Tip #1: Keep Your Backdrop Simple

Keep your backdrop simple so you don’t distract from the mouth-watering food you are photographing. Try using a pretty tablecloth or placemat. Or use the wood grain of the picnic table as your backdrop. Also look for distracting clutter and move it out of the shot. In the kitchen, this is really important and easy to overlook. Don’t forget to clean off any drips on the plate. You want your food to look it’s best! If you have them, use a white plate. I find that really helps the food stand out. Or use a contrasting color plate to highlight the food colors. For instance, a dish with red curry might look amazing on a olive-colored plate. Thrift stores and garage sales a great place to pick up plate for photographs.

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Food Photography Tip #2: Watch Your White Balance

Food can give off some odd coloring {mainly blue} so make sure you have your white balance correct. You may even need to use a custom white balance when photographing anything light in color. You want your food to look realistic! If you’re not sure what we’re talking about, check out our white balance tutorial.

Food Photography Tip #3: Lighting

As always, use natural light. if you can. I know that sometimes we can’t avoid using our flash but flash photography can be really harsh on food.  Your food will appear flat and shiny, not appetizing! If you are stuck shooting in the kitchen, bump your ISO up {try to not go over 400}. Just remember the higher you go, the more grain you will have in your picture. My kitchen doesn’t get a lot of natural light so I shoot my food outside. Just make sure you watch out for flies!

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Need a little more light? Here’s a little trick I learned. Move your food over to the window. Then, take two glasses and put a white napkin over them. Instant light reflector! The light will bounce off the napkin and fill in any shadows.

Food Photography Tip #4: Use a Shallow Depth of Field

If you want to avoid a lot of grain and keep your ISO on the low end, use a higher f/ stop. I love using an f/ 1.8 for my food photography pictures which results in a very shallow depth of field. This is similar to the approach we took in our bokeh photography tutorial. I love to have a shallow depth of field when I am photographing the same food in a row {like cookies} or to highlight a certain detail.

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Food Photography Tip #5: Get Up Close

Photographing food is a great opportunity to shoot macros. Go ahead and fill the frame. Try and crop it as tightly as you can, either in camera or later when post-processing your photos in PicMonkey. When you fill the frame, you see more detail and it can help get rid of those dishes in the sink or anything else in the backdrop.

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Food Photography Tip #6: Shoot at Different Angles

When photographing food, I take shots at all different angles: straight-on, from above, from the side. You just never know how something is going to look until you see it on your big screen. Read this photography post for more tips on switching up your angles.

Food Photography Tip #7: Dress It Up

Go ahead and add a little drizzle or a sprig of whatever herbs you have laying around. Or grab a flower from your backyard and throw in on the plate. Don’t have either available. Position a fun pair of salt and pepper shakers in the backdrop to add a touch of whimsy. If those options don’t work, set the table and shoot around a shot table. Include a placemat, forks, knives and a cloth napkin. For formal, informal and Eurpoean table setting etiquette, check out this post.

Your challenge this week is to dress your food up and make it look beautiful! Make sure you share your beautiful food photography on the Facebook page.


Have you missed a Photography Tutorial? Don’t worry! Just check out our Photography Tutorial Library. It’s jam packed with over 30 photography lessons. And we add to it every week!

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