Whether you are a food enthusiast that loves taking photos of your meals for the gram, or you’re looking to earn a spot on the cover of Bon Appétit, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite food photography tips to level up your skill and help you create more thought-provoking and refined imagery. These are just some of the tips we cover on our TikTok and in our newest course Creative Photography 101. We wanted to create a framework for creativity because I believe, just like any other aspect of photography, that it’s a muscle that can be trained.
Each technique has a video associated with it that teaches you exactly how to apply the food photography tip while shooting on location. These are meant to be short-form tutorials that get straight to the point, so make sure you check out the full course in order to master the concepts because it dives into great detail as to how to do so.
1. Get Up Close & Personal
Don’t be afraid to get in closer with your lens, or phone camera, to capture all the details. This video is a great example of the power of cropping and getting close to show off the herbs, spices, cheese, and other tasty details. If you are shooting on a phone camera, you can try using portrait mode or zooming your lens in.
2. Use a Napkin to Scrim Hard Light
Seems like a pretty obvious statement, but you would be surprised how hard it is to find good light in kitchens or outdoor areas. This is a fun trick you can do pretty much anywhere and works great for when you are in need of a scrim. Grab a napkin and hold it over your food to cast a shadow and scrim the sunlight from hitting it. This creates a diffused light source that is perfect for food photos.
3. Use Food Photography Backdrops
One of the greatest tools you can invest in for professional food photography is an inexpensive food photography backdrop. You can make your own for a pretty low cost by buying foam board and applying contact paper on it. I’ve also seen people purchase single square tiles from home improvement stores to create a surface to shoot food on. Some of our favorite professional quality food backdrops are Replica Surfaces. But if that isn’t in your budget I highly suggest the DIY route.
4. Create a Unique Perspective
This is my favorite and also the most creative trick on this list. Most captivating photographs usually have one thing in common: they showcase a unique perspective that otherwise wouldn’t be seen or created.
Do a scan of your scene to see how you can build context into your photos to create an experience in an image rather than just focusing on taking photos of food. When you pair perspective with unique and interesting angle choices, you’re more often than not going to yield a more provocative photo that is sure to make people think. You can get close to objects and use them as your foreground to create the perception that you’re seeing it from the angle of the object, like we did in this photo to simulate the idea of taking the food out of the oven.
If you want to see more of these bite-size (haha, get it) tutorials make sure you follow us on TikTok where we teach unique photo concepts no matter what gear you own. You’ll find more techniques like this in our newest course, Creative Photography 101, where we used only an iPhone camera to capture all images in the course just to show you how you can train yourself to see beyond what your eye sees.