5 Tips for Food Photography


Nutella CookiesI've had a few folks email and ask me for tips on how to photograph food. This kind of request always makes me smile as I have to admit that, yes, I take a lot of pictures of food! I won't say that I'm the best food photographer out there, but over the years as I've grown as a food blogger I've learned a few simple tricks that really help me show off my cooking creations. Here's my top 5 tips for photographing food…
Brussels-sprouts-recipe1. Get as much natural light in the picture as you can. Make sure to turn the automatic flash off when you are getting ready to take a picture, the flash will ruin a perfectly pretty photo! You may need to move your dish toward a window or even take it outside to get enough pretty light in your photograph. And, this also means you have to plan ahead a little-if your dinner won't be ready until 7pm but the sun goes down at 6:30pm, sadly you probably won't be able to get a well lit picture. So make sure you cook or bake with enough daylight hours left.
Apple cider2. Think about the whole image, not just the food. Pay attention to what kind of background you are shooting by. You may want to move your dish over slightly if something weird or unsightly is showing in the background (like a sink full of dirty dishes!). And think about your plates, bowls, silverware and other 'props' as you photograph. If you've just made a delicious looking salad you may not necessarily want to photograph it on a green plate, as the colors may clash and not look as pretty as other colors would look when paired together.
Infused waters3. Try different angles. Some of my very favorite food photos were taken while I was standing on a chair directly above the dish I was photographing. You may feel a bit silly standing on a chair in your kitchen while taking pictures of a loaf of bread, but try different angles as much as possible. You'll be glad you did!
Grilled cheese4. Fill the entire frame. You may want to frame your dish slightly off center, but this should be an artistic choice you have made and not an accident! Pay attention to what you can see in the image as you photograph. You may need to back up or move in toward the food, depending on your lens. You don't want to get so close that you can't tell what the food is, but you don't want a ton of negative space either.
Baked apples5. Garnish, drizzle and take a bite! Don't forget to add a few sprigs of cilantro to the top of your curry. Drizzle on a little glaze just before photographing those cinnamon rolls. And, after you've take a few pictures, take a bite or slice a piece off so the photo looks like the food is in the process of being eaten. All these little details can really make a picture pop and give it that little extra interest that it wouldn't otherwise have. Have fun and try different things!
Bella cookiesGood luck in all your recipe and food photography adventures! xo. Emma (All photos from A Beautiful Mess + Food Coma)


  • Thanks for sharing an amazing art. I will keep this idea in my mind while posting a new food recipe on my social profile.

  • Nicely written Emma! Thank you for the tips on food photography! I loved these hacks.

  • Amazing. Absolutely love this! so simple but helps so much. Thank you so much.

  • Thanks for the tips!! Amazing pictures and post.

  • Very good tips – definitely made me think about my own food photog skillz. ???? Thanks!

  • Thanks so much! I definitely needed this, since I’m new to photographing and all and I bake too much cupcakes.


  • such great tips – your photography and recipes are always amazing. I love to try each one that you blog about!!

  • My daughter is very interested in photography and she loves cooking… isn’t that a wonderful combination. I will make her check out your food photography for inspiration. Thanks for this great post. Hey by the way do check out some great cordless phones if you ever have the time. They are good to have around the house… – https://www.top10in.in/best-cordless-phones-top-10-best-cordless-phones-in-india/

  • The information that is provided on your web portal is amazing and I am always eager to catch hold of the new posts being published on your website. Doing that, I am always enlightened and it really seems to be a learning experience. keep up the good work and may your site prosper even more in the coming future with the addition of some more fabulous pieces of content.

  • I found some great ideas for speech and languages games and activities on these sites:

  • really nice post. thanks for sharing your ideas.keep sharing

  • Nice blog, the article you have shared is good.This article is very useful. Thank you for sharing this topic here. thank you for this wonderful Article!

  • I just stared food blogging, and these tips are fabulous. My main issue is natural light. It’s so difficult to find the right place in my house for natural lighting. I end up going outside a lot!!


  • I published my first set of truly lovely food photography yesterday. I had been practicing using you tips as well as getting to know the equipment I’m using. I still (always) have a lot to learn. However this post gave me a great hand up. Without it i would still be struggling along. It was like a fast-forward button.

    Thanks & Cheers!

  • Love your photographs! The tips about using natural light and high angles were spot on!

  • Thanks for these tips. The direct sunlight tip is one I need to follow more often. Creative ideas, I have some early ideas on my next food photos already. This post is being featured on the Zujava blog today (and will be published at around 9:30 AM EST)!

  • These are all great tips! I’ve done the standing on the chair technique and always love it. What I need to do is invest in a better camera. 😉

  • Very good tips – definitely made me think about my own food photog skillz. 🙂 Thanks!

  • Lighting is definitely my biggest problem — since daylight hours are so short in the winter it’s really difficult to find time to photograph when you’re in the office from 9-6.

    I find myself saving leftovers throughout the week to shoot on Saturdays and trying reeeeaaallly hard to get up early on sunny mornings to get some photos in.

    Hopefully summer will be better! Thanks for the tips!

  • Great tips. Thanks Emma. Also I just bought a book called From Plate to Pixel for those of you looking for even more great tips…


  • Gosh those nutella cookies look delicious! I need to spend a Saturday baking some of those. Yum!

  • absolutely love this! so simple but helps so much. Thanks.



  • Lovely! Thank you! I tried a few of these tips and this is how my asparagus photo came out: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mopys58/6711027423/ I’m not completely satisfied with the color, but I’ll keep working on it.

  • This is a fantastic well written article. Thank you for sharing this information, keep up the good work.

  • I love taking pictures of food too! Even though a lot of people don’t like that haha =D
    Yummy pictures by the way ;D

  • This post had amazing tips and tricks! Thank you so much for sharing! I love when two of my blogs come together to make something great!

  • Great tips! I always struggle with these pictures.


  • Now I’m hungry…

    My favorite tip is the one where you say to take a bite. 🙂

    Can you please let me know where you find those super cute straws?

  • Great tips, thanks so much. I am just starting to learn more about the art of food photography. I’m sure I will rereading your post. This was my recent first “food photo shoot”.
    Have a happy new year 🙂

  • Thank you for these great tips. Love your blog!


    CHECK OUT MY BLOG – http://oneloveonedna. blogspot. com/
    http://oneloveonedna. blogspot. com/
    http://oneloveonedna. blogspot. com/
    http://oneloveonedna. blogspot. com/
    http://oneloveonedna. blogspot. com/
    http://oneloveonedna. blogspot. com/
    http://oneloveonedna. blogspot. com/


  • thank you for sharing your tips! because we need all of them as it is so difficult to photograph food!


  • Amazing tips elsie!
    I’m definitely trying that sometime soon!



  • I like your pics.

    I’d like to add one tip for photographing anything in a glass.

    If a person owns a dslr camera and they use a polarizing filter it will remove the reflections on the glass so the contents will be clear.

    Just a thought.

    Dave 🙂

  • Very good to think about. Thank you for sharing your tips and wonderful examples too.

  • Thanks for the tips Elsie. I really needed these!

  • wow thank you so much for the tips! This comes in a great time as I’ll soon be shooting food for my blog! Hopefully I’ll be able to replicate some of these tricks successfuly 🙂

  • Great! Can’t wait to use these tips for the next pictures for my health blog!


  • I totally ♥ posts like this! I’m not a food blogger, however I have always taken pics of my food. I love them! They just show so much personality and a (hopefully) major part of your life!

    Thank you for this!!!

  • Some great tips! I usually only post recipes as a bit of an afterthought- as in I’ve just cooked a meal and I think “I could blog that!” and snap a few pics. I should try to plan things out more!

  • Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! I need to start cooking while it is still daylight. I know that would improve my pictures so much!
    Luvv, Leigh B

  • Great tips! Would love to start bringing food/recipes onto my blog, but I feel like its already such a mish-mosh of things as it is!


  • Thanks so much! I definitely needd this, since I’m new to photographing and all and I bake too much cupcakes.

    thank you, amazing! xo



  • Food photography is something I’ve always struggled with and trying to make the picture look as good as it does in real life. Using different angles has definitely helped me. I’ll try using more interesting props and backgrounds though, thanks for the tips! x

  • Thanks Emma this is seriously perfect timing for me! Ive definitely stood on chairs etc to try to get specific shots before but I most definitely feel better about it now hearing it from you! I really should be looking to get a few pretty props since I want to start posting more recipes..at least weekly if not more.


  • These are great tips! Will try to be more patient and follow them next time 😉

  • Thanks for these tips, Emma. I definitely need them! Unfortunately I live in a basement apartment and there isn’t really any natural light. I’ll have to see if I can figure out a set-up outside when the snow melts.


  • Thank you very much Elsie. I never have patience to writte coments, but i loved your tips so much that i make a effort. So again, thank you a lot and keep this nice and creative. 🙂

  • Thanks for the tips. I´m just starting to photograph a bit more “professionally” and soak up any tips I can get. 🙂

  • Mmmmmmmmmmmm LOOKS GOOD ! NICE PHOTOS 🙂

    PLEASE CHECK UOT MY FIRST BLOG : http://oneloveonedna.blogspot.com/

  • tasty advice…Thank you!


  • Thanks so much for the great tips! I’ll be trying them out the next time I photograph my dinner! It’s also nice to know that I’m not the only crazy person who does this……

  • OMG your blog is gorgeous ! Every single detail is amazing ! Whoua it’s a pleasure for the eyes !!
    Love your blog so much 🙂

  • These are excellent tips! My photography is definitely an area that needs help! Thank you 🙂

    Emma xx

  • i love taking photos of food too thank you for the tips 🙂


  • I’ve always wanted to try food photography. Good tips, thanks for sharing!

  • Absolutely helpful! I have a fashion and cooking blog: pret-a-penser and i completely agree with each of these tips! Some times i end up cooking in the morning in order to get better light or as you said stading on a chair (no idea what the people loking at me through the window wight think) 🙂

    Great job 😉


  • great tips! I definitely have lots of room for improvement in this area. I think I need to invest in at least one white plate and bowl. i also need to cook donner earlier. your photos look fantastic!

  • oh i love these types of posts! also, can i just add that you shouldn’t be afraid to take a LOT of photographs. a) it helps you get more comfortable with your camera and b) the more you take, the more risks you’re willing to take, & the more you’ll grow in terms of your own style.

  • Great ideas! I’ve always thought about taking pictures of my food but they never seem to come out right so I just scrap the idea all together. I’m going to try these suggestions out!


  • This is so helpful! I love the way you and Emma display food on your blogs.

    Thanks for the great tips! <3


    Much love, Vivi

  • Thanks! These will really come in handy when photographing my next dish 🙂 Mia


  • Wow! These are some great tips. Thanks for sharing girl. I’m always envious of your food photos.

    {XOXO, Deanna}


  • i LOOOVE food photography but sometimes the ones i take are too plain! this is a great guide!!

  • thank u so much for the tips!!! =) really good ones and yes I really like your food photography 😀

  • my immediate reaction was turn off of the flash! that was before i read it. too true about the nature light, angles, backdrop, & photo as a whole, wise one.t

  • thank you EMMA for this post, i love to take pictures of food and daylight is the bestbestbest light you could ever have, not bright sunlight but beautiful daylight all over your picture <3

  • You must have read my mind! I was just telling my friend I need to learn how to photograph food! Thank you for the help!

  • I love your styling tip posts. I’m big on food photography – which means not so much that I do it myself (I do sometimes), but I just love it and aspire to do more of it in the future (once my cooking/baking bug comes back!) I can use all the tips I can get!

  • Super nice tips & tricks! Love your pictures.

    Xoxo Whitney

  • Gorgeous!!

    You do always have the prettiest photos:)

    Stephanie May*


  • How would you deal with a location thats not that pretty? Take it and then edit it?

    Thats the problem I’m having! Not a lot of options to take good photos- bad light and not enough space so I have to edit all of my photos


  • I have so many plates I’ve picked up over the years. This is the perfect way to showcase them! Thanks Elsie!!

  • This is great! I totally needed these tips! I’ve started baking a lot more goodies and am not exactly a pro at photographing them. Thanks, Elsie!



  • These are wonderful tips. I’m so glad you did this post! I have been recently trying to up the ante on my blogging and photography tips are great. I’ve been doing roughly one recipe per week and I need all the help I can get as far as lighting in the kitchen (the only room in the house with poor light), so taking it outside…!… brilliant.
    Sarah M

  • VERY HELPFUL! Thanks for sharing! I guess this also means “stop using your phone to take pictures” LOL!


  • Not only is this the cutest post, but it’s also really informative!Thanks for sharing 🙂


  • Thank you thank you thank you! My pictures of food never make them look tasty at all. I’m going to try your tips and will hopefully have lots better luck.

  • You need good light. This can be as simple as moving your food near a large window or even going out on your porch to photograph. As for backgrounds, I would find one you are happy with as oppose to trying to edit it later. You could lay out a piece of fabric (you’d only need a yard or two) and photograph on that if you feel you don’t have any other good options. Good luck! xo. Emma

  • Such great tips! I find that natural light a an eye-catching plate or surface.

  • So helpful. All your food pics always look so yummy….. Thanks for sharing these tips!

  • Such good advice! I’ll have to keep this in mind!


  • Your photography posts are always the best! Definitely a huge help when I finally got my DSLR last year so I could resurrect my love for photography 🙂

    a cup of subtle tea

  • such great tips – your photography and recipes are always amazing. I love to try each one that you blog about!! 🙂

    xx Ashleigh


  • totally agree on the natural light. That first Nutella picture is killing me 😉

  • i’m a food lover and i love taking pictures of my favorite food, so i’ll definitely apply these tips! thanks elsie! 😉

  • you know, i was just photographing (or trying to photograph) a dish i had made last night, wondering how to make it look more appetizing. wonderful tips, elsie 🙂

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.