🔕 🔔

My Basket ()

All questions

Any tips for a rank amateur food photographer?

Many of the photos accompanying the recipes are AMAZING. I'm usually happy if my shots are in focus. I don't have high-tech equipment, but I'd like to learn more. Any suggestions?

asked by wssmom over 6 years ago
11 answers 1043 views
Ddd52943 cdf0 4edb a2d4 73aa286607f0  399571 2853636453848 1694221275 n
added over 6 years ago

thirschfeld = master of photography in all things food!

D6706402 eb96 499d a671 b2e90db25df9  bike2
added over 6 years ago

When I asked the same question about 8 months ago, theoutcrop was kind enough to offer this advice, "try a tripod,and turn off the flash - and set up a cheap reflector (using just a garage light aimed on a piece of white poster board to reflect light back down to your food - or, setting it up near a window so that it gets some natural light - or, actually moving your food outside into the shade!) when you do the tripod, you can have it aimed directly down over your food, you'll have to have it tall enough and so that you can focus on your subject." My best luck is when I shoot my food outdoors, as a rank amateur. If Sarah Shatz, or someone as wonderful, ever wants to offer lessons, I bet we would all want to flock to workshop!

C46ca7ba b440 4c29 8af3 b2e6a2781f8b  twitter background
added over 6 years ago

One highly rated book is "Food Styling for photographers", by Bellingham and Bybee. It was eye-opening to me, and a little disappointing, to learn that food styling is all about creating an artificially appealing image. For example, a high quality photograph of ice cream may be created by first creating a flour substance that looks like ice cream, but is not, and then coloring it and spraying it with a mister and putting it in the freezer, etc. A photograph of a roll may require buying several bags of rolls and selecting the 'hero' roll to photograph, handling it carefully, etc. Evidently, doing it at a professional level requires enormous patience. Food photography also requires mastery of lighting techniques, and there are many excellent books on that subject.

B3038408 42c1 4c18 b002 8441bee13ed3  new years kitchen hlc only

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 6 years ago

Here are some interesting tips, from three who are said to be pretty good at it:



0dcfb05c 8a90 480f 8cf7 cbc33e9a6b5c  me
added over 6 years ago

All wonderful tips! Thanks so much for the direction!

2045a005 8613 4be3 af5a 15bed1831f49  sodium girl
added over 6 years ago

Flash makes food like a bit wonky, so it is best to shoot with natural light in the morning. And if I've made something for dinner that I want to photograph, I put a small portion aside for the next day and then eat it for lunch! It really works wonders for your pictures.

B374f07a 68c6 4595 a705 99ed993c08fc  coconut panna cotta small for web
added over 6 years ago

A tripod is a must. It allows you to use natural light even if it isn't super bright. I also use large pieces of white poster board as light reflectors

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added over 6 years ago

In my younger days I did some TV commercial work and once did a shoot for Red Lobster. They flew in food stylists and a lot of the food was not fit for consumption by the time they were finished with it!

I had a column in a magazine in Egypt for a while and did my own food pics. The tips above are pretty solid. If you don't want to invest in a full-sized tripod, try one of the little 6 or 8 inch ones with bendy legs. They'll do the trick in a pinch and are pretty cheap.

The flashes on most point and shoot cameras are lousy for just about everything. Natural light is generally best, and many cameras have a setting especially for shooting in natural, indoor light with no flash. The shutter times can be long, which is why you need the tripod. If you have a bigger camera that can take an external flash, try pointing it up, away from the food and bounce it off the ceiling, or a piece of white foam core.

Also, experiment with the aperture settings. I don't remember enough about it to really go into detail, but you can get nice effects by pushing it one way or the other, for instance getting your foreground in sharp focus while the background fuzzes out a bit.

9920059c c14d 4755 965d d880979c2f61  monkeys
added over 6 years ago

The Pioneer Woman has a section on photography that is so easy to understand and implement. For point and shoot cameras, natural daylight is the way to go. If you have a manual camera, then follow the tips on the blog below.

27e464b9 6273 420b 9546 d6ed6ae12929  anita date

Anita is a vegan pastry chef & founder of Electric Blue Baking Co. in Brooklyn.

added over 6 years ago

Check out this:

And this:

Happy snapping!

27e464b9 6273 420b 9546 d6ed6ae12929  anita date

Anita is a vegan pastry chef & founder of Electric Blue Baking Co. in Brooklyn.

added over 6 years ago

whoops, that first link was the wrong one. Here's the right one:


Let's Keep in Touch!

Get the recipes and features that have us talking, plus first dibs on events and limited-batch products.

(Oh, and $10 off your order of $50 or more in the Food52 Shop, too.)

Please enter a valid email address.