Ordering Catering

Five Tips for Taking Good Food Photos


Written by Pierce Lydon • January 8, 2024

Five Tips for Taking Good Food Photos

One of the true blessings of social media is the amount of delicious-looking food photos at our fingertips. Whether we’re looking at food photos to stoke some cooking inspiration, to get a recommendation for your next meal out, or simply to dream and drool, photo quality is a necessity. And if you’re a contributing member to the food social media space, then you’ll need to know how to take good photos of what’s on the table.

Here are five tips for taking good food photos.

Get the good lighting

Lighting, lighting, lighting — it’s all about lighting when it comes to presenting food and making it look as delicious as it is. To find the good lighting, move your light source around the food and try different angles, testing to see which light is the most flattering for the food that you’re photographing. If your light source isn’t moveable, then try some different camera angles with your eye on what lighting works best. Often, indirect bright light is the best when it comes to food photos, which means that the food isn’t directly in sunlight but instead surrounded by bright light from all sides.

If you’re in the photo, try to angle yourself so that the food doesn’t fall into your shadow. Which leads us to the next tip…

Let the food be the main event

If you’re in your food photos, remember that you’re a side character. Your food is the main event, and the shot should be set up that way, with your delicious dish in the center. For food photos sans human beings, clear out any other clutter that might detract the viewer’s attention away from the food. This might include napkins (especially those of the used variety!), phones, utensils, or anything else on the table. This way, your shot solely highlights your food, with that food popping out against the background.

Variety is best

Another tip when it comes to food photography is that variety is best, so try out different sizes and colors of plates. If the food that you’re taking photos of has several parts to it — say, a main dish and two side dishes — place each dish in a different type of plate or bowl. This might include a large plate and two small plates, a square plate and two round plates, or a red plate and two blue plates. Or any of those options mixed together!

Even when you’re photographing only one food at home, try placing it on a larger plate to see if that brings out different features of the food. And, if you’re running a prolific food page, add variety across all of your food photos by changing up the background, plates that you use, colors of foods, and anything else that you can to give your viewers a sense of change.

Don’t forget the garnish

Who doesn’t love a garnish? (Unless that garnish is cilantro for the select few who find that it tastes like soap.) When setting up food for a photo, sprinkle some garnish across the top for a professional touch. And garnishes don’t need to be leafy greens! Garnishes can be nuts, seeds, extra spices or herbs, fruit — anything! Oh, or cheese. Can’t forget the cheese.

Garnishes provide the viewer with a bit of contrast against the main food, which could be a pop of color or a differing texture. This additional detail adds depth and detail to the food photo, which can be just the extra touch your food needs to look amazing.

Use the angles

The last tip for taking good food photos is to use your angles. Get up high and take an overhead shot looking down on your beautiful table — this is especially aesthetic when you have a spread of dishes or when you have a nice charcuterie thing going on. For this shot, you might need to stand on a chair, so be careful!

Depending on the type of food that you’re photographing, different angles might suit better. For tall foods such as layered cakes, try shooting head-on at a zero degree angle. For foods that spread across a plate like delicious BBQ and mac n cheese, try a 45 degree angle to showcase the delicious texture of the foods.

Before you take a bite, be sure to capture a good photo. Once you start eating, good luck stopping!