Photographing food: 10 essential ingredients for tasty images!

Stonesoup lemon meringue piesRemember when cookbooks just featured plain boring text? No stunning mouth-watering Stonesoup green chickpea saladimages tempting you to break your diet?

Today, the visual appeal of food is considered just as important as how it tastes. And if you’re considering creating a food blog, you’ll want to know how best to photograph your favourite dishes.

Advice on how to shoot terrific food photography (and how to create a successful food blog) can be found in the book Will Write for Food by Dianne Jacob, and over at Dianne’s fab blog too.

Dianne’s never met a successful food photographer who wasn’t also a foodie – so if you love both photography and food, you’re sure to excel!

Here are ten of Dianne’s top tips for tasty photography:

  1. always carry a camera… you just never know when or where you’ll be inspired!
  2. shoot lots of frames
  3. try different points of view and framing… overhead, straight on, close-up, environmental shots
  4. consider composition and props… Dianne suggests plate
    smears, propped forks aStonesoup delicious lemon cakend rusted spatulas
  5. avoid busy backgrounds… a wooden cutting board or a painted foam-core board are good options, as backgrounds are usually thrown out of focus
  6. work quickly… your food has to look fresh and delicious!
  7. shoot in natural, diffused light… tape tissue paper to the window if the light’s too directional
  8. shoot throughout the preparation and cooking process… show how you achieved the finished dish!
  9. get in close – use a macro lens and tripod if you can
  10. edit your images to maximise impactStonesoup burnt carrot salad

The images here were shot by Jules Clancy over at the tempting food blog, Stonesoup. Be sure to check out more of her photography – and wonderful recipes! I really like the uncluttered simplicity of her images, where the luscious food is definitely the hero! I love the snowy white bowls and platters here too – I think white best showcases the colour and textures of food, although some food photographers think patterned chinaware adds interest.

So browse your favourite cookbooks, don your apron, grab your camera, experiment, and have fun… then (and this is the best bit) eat and enjoy!

9 thoughts on “Photographing food: 10 essential ingredients for tasty images!

    • Hi John,
      Delighted you enjoyed the read! But then, who wouldn’t enjoy reading about photography *and* food at the same time! 😉 Enjoy the learning curve and take pleasure in your progress. I note from your blog that you’ve been experimenting with flash and finding it problematic. I recommend you try to avoid flash for food photography and make the best use of soft, diffused window light instead – I’m sure you’ll achieve more pleasing results. Most importantly, keep experimenting and be sure to have fun in the process! Best of luck…

  1. Hi Susie! Great tips here! It’s very true that nowadays presentation is just as important as taste! Food presentation itself is becoming an art form – so it’s good to know how to capture it on camera! 🙂 I have another tip as well – I have taken many photos of food that I have eaten on my travels only to think later – ‘what was dish that called again?’ or ‘what was it actually made from’?. Half the time i forgot the names as they’d be in italian – which is a shame as the chefs often go to great detail to explain if a dish is made from local produce, or is a traditional dish from the area! I’d probably suggest bringing a small notepad to jot down this info! Now I have all these nice photos of food – and no idea what they are!

    PS i love the part of the heading ‘ingredients for tasty images’ – very clever!!

    Gilda 🙂

    • Hi Gilda,
      Your suggestion about culinary jottings is a terrific one! In fact, I wish restaurant waiting staff wouldn’t automatically remove the menu as soon as I’ve ordered, as often I feel I’d like to revisit the description when the dish arrives at the table so I can better appreciate the elements that have gone into its preparation. But then perhaps it’s just the fading memory of old age in my case! 🙂 I appreciate you dropping by to view and comment, Gilda… many thanks!

  2. Hi Susie,
    Your page looks incredible. Makes me very hungry! Definitely looks as though you love your photography. I myself have always wanted to get into photography, I think it’s an amazing talent to have. The ability to take a picture that can tell a thousand words. I love the tips you put up about photographing food, its all very interesting. The photographers make it look very easy. But I suppose with this information and helpful tips, I can give it a go some time. Like I said, great job 🙂

    • Hello Catherine,

      Thank you for your interest in my post. And yes, you should definitely try your hand at photography. I see your blog speaks very warmly of your family and friends – I’m sure this warmth would be reflected in your images, so grab a camera and start clicking! Afterall, there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain. Oh, and have a look at my post called Dear Photograph – I think that site just may appeal to you!


    • Yes – good food photography is certainly dangerous to the hips! (Did you notice that luscious lemon meringue?!) Appreciate you dropping by, Jane – thank you…

thoughts? let me know what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s