On this page you will find additional links through to full articles about food photography tips, equipment needed for food blogging, learning how to use your camera as well and more!
Food Photography Tips, Equipment & Resources
The most important part of building your food blog and increasing traffic is taking great pictures. I really can’t stress this enough. Without good pictures it will be difficult to get the initial traffic needed to get your blog off the ground.
Unless you are a professional photographer, this is a skill that needs to be worked on and improved on a daily basis. It’s hard work but with a good foundation, a little guidance and patience you will see your photographs improve drastically.
If you are just starting, chances are that you are taking between 100 and 200 shots of your dish and various stages of preparation. In the end, you are ending up with a couple that are good… which is so frustrating! Believe me, I was there too. Now I take between 20 and 50 shots per recipe, including all the prep work and have to choose between the good ones! It makes the entire process so much more enjoyable. You’ll find everything I did to turn the corner located in this food photography tips, equipment and resources section. It’s not rocket science, but it does take time and patience!
In my opinion the best food photography book is The Food Photography Book by Nagi Maehashi. This book is written so everyone will understand how to better use their camera, setup for food shots and use their time more efficiently.
There are many different books on food photography and I have downloaded so many of them hoping to pull out just one more nugget of information. Most of these books are not worth the money. Nagi’s book, however, is worth every penny.
Please note that this is an affiliate link. The Food Photography Book took my images from just ok to a million times better in no time flat.
My definition of food photography is simple: taking composed pictures of recipes to the best of your ability. Food photography does not include non-composed pictures of dishes being made or snapshots of dinner the previous night. The photographer has taken into account the lighting, atmosphere and has staged the finished dish to the best of their ability.
With many cameras to choose from, it is difficult to determine which one is best for food photography. In my experience, the best camera for food photography is whichever DSLR you are currently using. Learn to use the camera on Manual mode. Learn about the white balance and ISO settings. Your food photography will improve overnight.
Find more information on which is the best camera for food blogging along with recommendations for tripods, lighting and more.
Learning how to edit food photography takes some time and requires decent software. Typically, food bloggers are utilizing either Photoshop or Lightroom. Some food bloggers are using Pixlr which is a free program to use, but does not support editing camera RAW files, which will help to bring out the best in your food photography.
Editing food photography takes as much practice as learning the settings on your camera. You will find that you need to edit your food photography less when you start taking better pictures.
Learn about the difference between Photoshop, Lightroom and Pixlr.
Utilizing natural light for food photography is ideal. Food responds extremely well to natural lighting with a depth that is hard to recreate with artificial lighting. The best times to use natural light for food photographs is as follows:
- In the early morning or afternoon when the sun is not a full strength.
- On cloudy or overcast days. These conditions often result in dramatic images.
- In the shade of trees or other natural diffusion.
If you are shooting your food photography during full sun, you will most likely need the following:
- Sheers on your windows. Something that will let the light through, but cut down on the harsh direct sunlight.
- A diffuser. These sometimes come in kits of three pieces, with both a gold and silver bounce.
Whether shooting in natural or artificial light, it is helpful to have a white reflector or bounce card. A reflector allows you to fill areas of the frame with light that otherwise would look underexposed.
Utilizing artificial light for food photography is becoming more widely accepted. With artificial lighting there is more control of the environment which often times results in shooting extremely high quality food images. It is easier to control the white balance, light direction and brightness with artificial lighting.
To use artificial lighting for food photography, you will need the following:
- A light box or soft box. Either Compact Fluorescent (CFL) or LED work. Ensure that the light is equivalent to 5000K and set your white balance accordingly. Two lights are often used for food photography.
- A reflector card or bounce card. White is the best.
- A dark room (a basement or other room without windows). Combining artificial with natural light often does not work well.
- Easy access to power. The lights typically need to be run from electricity. Battery powered lights are expensive and often do not last very long.
More Food Photography Tips
Click on the images below for a more in-depth look at the different areas of food photography.