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Easy Ways To Spice Up Your Food Photography

by Nellie

Food photography is not easy especially when you are first starting out. Here are some easy ways to spice up your food photography!8 Food Photography Tips-3892

We need it everywhere, food pictures! Healthy food, not so healthy food and even food that may taste delicious but simply looks really bad in a photo. I don’t post a ton of food on my Instagram but when I do, the pictures are so popular!8 Food Photography Tips-3881

So when I was invited to a Food Photography workshop led by the amazing EatingNYC and hosted by World Kitchen on Instagram, I didn’t hesitate. I am always looking to improve my photography skills especially because social media is so incredibly visual.

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Power lunch parm @bryantparkgrill ? #EATINGNYC

A post shared by Alexa Matthews (@eatingnyc) on

I arrived a bit late because of work event but was welcomed immediately by the hosts with open arms. It’s so nice when you get somewhere all frazzled and the hosts don’t hold it against you.8 Food Photography Tips-3904

There were several food stations set up all over the stunning Upper East Side apartment that had been repurposed for the press events. There was actual food to eat as well but there were stations that had the set up for the perfect picture. One of the first stations I approached was the brownie section. (It wasn’t on purpose I swear). I picked up 3 smart photography tips from just this section alone:

  1. Use raw ingredients: When you bake or create something, use the raw ingredients int the picture to accentuate the final product. For example: A cup full of sugar or a container of chocolate chips on the side really makes the picture pop.
  2. Dress up your extras: A neat tip for dry chocolate chips: You know how sometimes chocolate chips can have that really dusty look? Try painting them with Olive Oil using a brush. Now you have photo ready chocolate chips!

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3. Bake with style: Use a pan with color to really make the finished product like this one from Baker’s Secret to really make your dish stand out. Check out the pan here, it’s a steal at $6.99!

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Next I walked over to the food stations where they had pizza set up with plenty of ingredients to compliment. It was the perfect type of scenario to practice on!8 Food Photography Tips-3925 8 Food Photography Tips-3926

Finally I got some time to chat with Alexa. She was the sweetest and share some really good tips with me like:

4. It’s all about dimension: Overhead shots work really well for things like pizza, but if the food has depth or a lot of layer it is better to really get all in there for the shot.

5. Kitchen towels work great: Sometimes adding a kitchen towel with a pop of color can make all the difference in your photo

6. The rule of thirds still applies: “Food photography is not a selfie, so follow the rule of thirds making sure your image falls just off center for best results. The rule of thirds divides your photo equally with two horizontal and two vertical lines.The focal point should fall along the lines or at their intersections.”

7. Flash too harsh? Use a napkin: We have all been in a situation where the restaurant was dark so the food pictures come out looking kind of…rough. Alexa shared that simply draping your napkin over the flash of your phone or camera can create a softer glow.8 Food Photography Tips-3874

8. Use pretty platesMake sure your food is served on plates thatcompliment its colors, like arranging a beautiful winter salad on the WestEnd Corelle Market Street New York™ dishes. I personally love this Crimson 10.25 in plate for only $4.99 each!! It would be perfect for pasta with red sauce!

There was also a beautiful bowl of ramen perfectly staged that I practiced on. This was my FAVORITE because there was so much dimension and so much to focus on in the bowl.8 Food Photography Tips-3883

I really learned a lot at this event and I thank World Kitchen for hosting me!

Do you have any food photography tips to add? Did you know all of these? Did you learn anything new?

If you liked this food photography article be sure to check out these Healthy Mini Chicken Pot Pies!


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CARLA February 29, 2016 - 5:41 am

I dont photog my foood often 🙂 but Ill take the tips just in case *any* day.

Janine Huldie February 29, 2016 - 6:50 am

I seriously need all the help I can get with this and am always trying to think outside the box when I photo food for posts I do. So thank you seriously so much for sharing some valuable tips here today 😉

Terri February 29, 2016 - 11:03 am

Absolutely loved this post. I love these real tips. I used to work at a magazine and watch food photo shoots all the time. That’s when I found out a lot of the “food” they use isn’t even food because real food isn’t always as photogenic or appealing. The tip to put olive oil on chocolate tips is genius!

Carly February 29, 2016 - 12:04 pm

This sounds like such a fun event! I have some old recipe posts I need to update with photos that were not taken at 8pm in a fluorescent-lit Brooklyn kitchen with an iPhone4! Ha ha ha! So I’m always looking for food photography tips.

Nellie February 29, 2016 - 1:54 pm

this is SO my current situation! I can’t wait till spring and summer come so I am afforded a few hours of daylight when I get home!

Tamara February 29, 2016 - 5:16 pm

I definitely struggle with this. I feel like mine has been passable at best, but I need it to be better. I just am so accustomed to photographing humans and large spaces.
That said, I used a macro lens last night and it made a HUGE difference. You’ll see that post tomorrow. It’s tasty!
And the napkin tip is awesome. A splash of color or an accent or something to fill the frame with some authenticity.

kita February 29, 2016 - 10:00 pm

I can’t ever do food right *sigh* I’ve given up. I just try to make sure I am near a light and that’s about all I can do lol

Leslie March 2, 2016 - 9:57 pm

Food photography is no easy task! I’ve done a lot of research, but still have a long way to go. Definitely agree that a well-placed kitchen towel can make a shot far more interesting, and hadn’t heard about brushing chocolate with oil to make it more glossy!

Jean March 9, 2016 - 11:26 am

Nellie, how I would love to have been there with you! Great tips. Definitely need to upgrade my camera, but then having a really good guitar didn’t really improve my playing! 😀

Food Photography March 11, 2018 - 9:33 am

You’ve quite succeeded in your post. My mouth is actually watering after seeing all those delicious-looking food some I don’t even recognize but will love to give it a bite. LOL! Yum yum… Now I’m hungry.


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