10 Food Photography Tips to Make It Look Tasty

May 11, 2010 · 201 comments

in Tips & Tricks

We’ve all done it before. Taken a photo of a delicious meal only to have it turn out looking ugly and not edible. Hopefully these 10 food photography tips will help you take a more tasty-looking food photo next time.

1.) Keep the background clean

Make sure there is a color contrast between the background and the food, don’t have the two be the same color or a similar shade. For example, strawberries served on a red plate isn’t going to stand out. Keep the background simple and uncluttered. If unsure, stick to a plain white background.

2.) Adjust the white balance

Adjust the white balance on your camera according to what you’re shooting. Meat should always be shot in warm tones as a blue-ish tinge under some fluorescent lights would make it look ghastly.

3.) Use natural lighting

Whenever you can, try to shoot using natural lighting. Shoot during the day near a window where you would get plenty of natural sunlight. When you must shoot at night, try avoid using flash directly on the food as it’s too harsh. Instead, use a flash diffuser or have the flash bounce off a ceiling or wall.

4.) Use a tripod

Most food photography will be done indoors, where there might not be enough lighting. Use a tripod whenever you can as it beats trying to hold very still for long a amount of time.

5.) Small details make a big difference

Don’t disregard the small stuff. Keep in mind that using nice cutlery and a clean serving plate/bowl could make all the difference transforming a nice photo to a fantastic one.

6.) Get up close

Instead of only taking photos of a full plate of food, take some macro shots too.  Getting up close to your subject will bring out the textures and finer details, making it more interesting and intriguing.

7.) Cut it, slice it, dice it!

As with anything, you shouldn’t just take something for its face value. With food, sometimes it’s what’s inside that can create a great shot. I love cutting up crumbed foods for the contrasting textures. I also love cutting up cakes just so I can get the different layers.

8.) Take photos from all angles

Don’t just take a photo from a bird’s eye view, try different angles. Left, right, top, bottom. Feel free to even move the food around and come up with different compositions.

9.) Use props

Don’t be afraid to jazz up the set. Maybe a glass of orange juice to go with those pancakes? A bottle of wine in the background with your steak and mash meal? Or maybe some hundreds and thousands sprinkled around your cupcakes? Do remember to keep it simple as too many props can be distracting.

10.) Cheat if you have to

As long as you’re not planning to eat the food afterwards, there are ways to enhance your food by using some industry tricks. For example, make your food glisten by brushing on some vegetable oil. Create that ‘fresh out of the oven’ steam by placing some microwaved cotton balls that have been soaked in water. Or make perfect-looking ice cream that won’t ever melt with some mashed potatoes.

Do you have any more ideas, tips and tricks to share when it comes to food photography?

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Article by

1 part ad agency. 2 parts freelancer. An avid urban photographer, traveler, and streetwear lover. Geeky curator of all things awesome. Sustains on Vegemite, meat pies and lamingtons. Follow me on Twitter or Flickr.

Yi has written 69 awesome articles for us at Photoble

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