Food Photography 101.

TGIF, am I right?! :) I hope your week has been wonderful, and that your weekend ahead is relaxing and lovely! With less than a week to go until Turkey Day, I thought I would share some of my favorite tips on photographing all of that yummy food coming your way! I am certainly still growing and refining my style when it comes to photographing my Foodie Friday features, but have found some simple steps that make a huge difference in image quality. Your goal in photographing food is to have the viewer look at that image and want to reach through their screen to get it (and since they can’t do that, run to their kitchens and make it! :)). Bottom line, it should look down right delicious, that’s the whole point, right? I hope you enjoy, and as always, if you have any questions feel free to ask away in the comments or shoot me an email! :) Happy weekend! xo


1. Find the Light

This rule applies to every picture, every time. Without good light, your images will be less interesting, less refined, and overall less appealing.  I prefer two types of light when taking pics of food, backlight and directional light. The above image of my strawberry freezer jam is an example of backlighting…placing the subject in front of a light source (in this case, the window) and shooting into said source. The light envelopes your food, creating a delightful glow that has quickly become my favorite.

Below are a few images taken using directional lighting…when the light source is off to one side of your subject and you are directly in front of that subject. (Forming a bit of a triangle between you, the food, and the light source!)


With the banana cake, I was in front of the cake stand and the window light is coming from my left! You can see the light hitting the left side of the cake, and the right side being a bit more in shadow. This adds dimension and interest to your image and make the food that much more interesting and tasty! I mean, who wouldn’t want to stick their finger in that glistening frosting?! :)

Lancaster County Wedding_0126

This stunner of a wedding cake is again an example of directional light, this time the light source being off to my right as I took the picture. I love the texture the shadows and light give this image.

Fells Point Engagement Session_0005

2.) Style Away

You want your food to look effortless, as if you could sit down and enjoy it straight away, right? Well believe it or not, achieving that look requires a little bit of thought and some careful execution! Depending on the dish or food item, plate it (or in the case of these muffins, basket it!) as you would love to see them come out to you in a restaurant. I love family style meals, so serving warm muffins in a basket lined with a pretty-yet-rustic dish towel is right up my alley. (Don’t you just want to snag one right now?! I know myyyy mouth is watering! :))

Below, the kale chips look so much more fun and appealing standing up than if I had left them laying flat on their cooking tray. Be careful when plating, arranging the food so you can see all of its very best and yummy parts! When photographing soup, I always find myself fishing through to make sure all of the ingredients are visible. You don’t put in all of that hard work for some of that deliciousness to go unnoticed! Plus, it is helpful to your reader when they can see exactly what they have to look forward to! Bottom line in styling – think through how you would love to see it presented to you and make it happen! :)

Kale Chips-2633


3.) Include Some Behind the Scenes

Sometimes, the behind-the-scenes portion of your recipes are some of the loveliest! In addition, it can be helpful for those you are sharing with to have some step-by-step visual aids! This lemon zest was just too pretty not to include…I can smell it now! Again, just be sure you have a great light source and shoot away! Action shots are always welcome.

Roasted Chicken-5008

4.) Present Simply

When styling food, it is so easy to get wrapped up in making the food and its container exotic, or unique looking, when in fact doing so can take away from the natural beauty of the food itself. When your plates, containers, etc., are simple, the focus can be on that stunning dish you spent valuable time and effort preparing! I was so tempted to photograph this chicken after carving it, but am so glad I chose to leave it in it’s roasting pan instead. It is so yummy and delicious looking on its own, plus this image showcases the true ease and beauty of a ‘one pot meal’! I often choose plain white plates when presenting a dish and it allows the food, the most important part, to shine.

Lancaster County Wedding_0120

5.) Add a Human Element

I loveeee having food presented “in action”. The purpose of food is for us to eat and enjoy, so why not photograph it while someone is doing so?! Or even better, allow the person who created it be showcased in its presentation?! I mean, what’s not to like? :) Again, be mindful of a clean, well-lit presentation and you will be golden!


In closing, I would also like to encourage you all to take pictures of food using any and all cameras you may have at your disposal. While this post highlights images taken with my DSLR, my iPhone is a staple for on-the-go snacks, or when we go out to eat. It produces such crisp images and I am always happy when I can leave that clunky DSLR at home! Using these tips, any camera can produce a lovely and appealing image, just be excited to practice, practice, practice, and experiment along the way! Happy shooting! xo

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