Food Photography – Tips & Inspiration

Since I started my blog I really got into food photography. I fell in love with the process of cooking and baking, preparing, arranging, taking the picture at the end and of course: eating it afterwards.

Today I would like to share some inspiration, tips and things I learned through the process.

I am totally aware that I am not a pro at all, not even very good. I’m only a beginner trying my best, but I already learned a few things that I want to share with you. Maybe you want to start taking pretty pictures of your meals as well and sometimes it’s easier to learn from someone like me instead of someone that already has a lot of equipment, knowledge and practice and who can’t relate to the difficulties of a beginner.

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Equipment

My Camera. I shoot with a Sony Alpha 6000* a system camera that takes amazing pictures while being very small and light – perfect for my travels and everything I wanted. It captures the colours very beautifully and blurs the backround nicely.

My Lens. I still only have the 16-50 mm lens that came with my camera because it works very well for what I need and I didn’t want to spend more money. Maybe in the future but for now I have to work with what I got.

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The two pictures above are taken with my iPhone 6s

Phone. Your phone is also capable to take some great food pic’s. But I find that it isn’t possible to take good pictures in different angles – it just looks weird. But from above and 45° angle looks decent.

I don’t have anything else that I use for my food photography. No light, no tripod (that I use), no background/ underground. I only use what I can find at home: window light, wood floor, white table, kitchen cloth, cardigans, scarfs…

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I once bought this grey plate, but I’ve only used it once or twice because the colour doesn’t make the food look very good…
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But I always use the same plate in pink! Both from IKEA

Ceramic. I did invest in some beautiful plates and bowls cause I really enjoy cute pottery and it’s nice to switch and vary them with different colours and meals. I always find lovely ceramic at IKEA and it’s affordable too.

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Porridge

I think the easiest meal to style and photograph is porridge. Just mix some oats with hot water or plant milk and some extras (here are some porridge recipe inspirations if you need!). You can’t really make something wrong and it’s also super quick and without much effort.

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very liquidy porridge – on purpouse

Tip #1 Make your porridge pretty thick rather than too liquidy (put more plant milk in after taking the pictures when you want to eat) because that way your toppings won’t sink into the porridge. Unless that’s the look you go for obviously – can look very cool as well.

 

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I used a pullover and a sushi roll pad for the background

Nice Cream

…is pretty easy as well, but you have to be quick so that it doesn’t melt away and your toppings drown!

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Tip #2 Get creative with your toppings. It’s always so much fun to choose and cut the fruit and then carefully place it where you’d like it to go without making it look to perfect (most of the time – exact lines can look great too!). Then look for small grains/seeds to add. Maybe even some flowers to top it off? The variety makes food pictures often look super interesting and eye-catching. But don’t overdo it! Too much stuff can look very confusing and extreme. Of course, minimalistic styling can look amazing as well – just try out what you like best!

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simple and pretty- but nothing special

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Examples of toppings
  • fruit/veggies used in the meal or as an extra
  • seeds, nuts, granola, dried fruit, shredded coconut, chocolate drops
  • hearbs
  • leaves or flowers
  • cutlery
  • drizzled syrup

The green-yellow-blue colour palette.

Tip #3 Stick to a colour palette. Especially when you use a lot of different ingredients it can look unappealing when you have too many colours that don’t fit to each other well. I would say 2-3 colours are enough for most pictures. A colourful food styling can look lovely, but the colours have to work with each other well.

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I went for orange and green – just like the ingredients
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This is by far the prettiest bowl of oats I ever made. Simple but beautiful!

 

Tip #4 Leave the skin/ the greenery on. It might feel weird to put strawberries with their greens on your food – but it looks so pretty. Same with Mango, when you fold it over after cutting or cherries.

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Bright strong colours, but they harmony pretty well with each other so that it works fine. 

 

Tip #5 Stick to natural colours and stay away from bright colours (unless it’s the food itself of course). It just doesn’t fit well in my eyes.

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No need a lot of effort. Just some greens, veggies, a few sesame seeds and chopsticks on the side. 

 

Tip #6 Don’t overdo it with the styling. It’s in matters of taste, but I personally don’t like it when food pictures are loaded with too much food, ingredients, toppings etc. I’m more the basic and minimalistic kind.

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Tip #7 Movement or „just-about-to-eat“ pictures can bring your food photography to the next level. I’m just starting to experiment with it myself, but I love the look and it’s even more eye-catching than just a pretty bowl of oats or a stack of pancakes.

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Examples for movement in pictures
  • Cutlery digging into the bowl of oats, stabbing into a piece of pancake, rolling up some spaghetti or laying on the plate
  • pouring chocolate sauce or maple syrup over pancakes/waffles, pouring milk into a bowl of granola, coffee poured in a cup or smoothie in a jaw
  • hands holding the bowl of oats or the plate with pancakes into the frame, holding the cutlery or jaw
  • syrup, sauce, melting ice cream, berry jam dripping from pancakes or waffles

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Tip #8 Don’t just focus on the bowl/plate itself, the scenery is just as important. Of course, you can leave it very plain and basic to put the focus on the food, but most of the time some little details in the background are essential for great pictures.

Underground & Background

It looks super beautiful when you have many different varieties of wood floor, plain coloured floor, marble floor etc. but I just didn’t take the time and effort to make some square meters of under-/background myself. Here are some DIY tutorials on how to make them yourself (1 and 2). I am for sure going to do that when I’ll be back from my travels and start getting into food photography more again! It makes your pictures look much more professional and put together, but until then just look for different floors or tables in your home or…

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this picture is taken in my bed
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My grey cardigan as the underground

Use kitchen cloth, bed linen or clothes as an underground or detail in your picture. Kitchen clothes are obvious, but it can also look great to take foot pictures in your bed or use cardigans and scarfs as an extra.

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newspaper and a drink
Examples of details
  • kitchen cloth, blanket, clothes
  • cutlery
  • kitchen tools
  • fruits, veggies, ingredients (separate or in a small bowl)
  • seeds, nuts, granola scrattered
  • flowers, greens, leaves
  • drinks (tea, hot chocolate, smoothie, juice, coffee)
  • news paper
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baking tray 

 

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two plates on a grey t-shirt

 

Tip #9 Have two or three plates/bowls with the meal and not only one. Style them similar but not same so you have a bigger variety and more possibilities to picture them. For example one in the foreground, the other blurred in the back or both next to each other/ behind each other as if you would want to eat with another person sitting in front of you.

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Pancakes

Stacks of pancakes are a bit harder to capture because they tend to look crooked and the angle can be unflattering. But it’s so fun to style (and eat!) them so I love to experiment around and try different things.

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Got inspired to make bigger and thinner „Crêpes“ and roll them up on Instagram, so that’s what I did

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Putting banana between the pancakes or cutting pieces out – so many great ideas to incorporate into your own pictures.

Tip #11 Take the idea of a food picture you like and recreate it. I promise you it won’t look the same and copied in the end, but when you do this you start to look exactly at how it’s done. How the setting, food, toppings and details are arranged to make it look good in the end. You’ll learn and understand a lot in this process!

I really like to get my Inspiration from Pinterest – have a look at my food photography board!

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I hope you enjoyed this post! I really tried to show what I’ve already learned and I am super excited to experiment around more and get better! 

Do you like food photography? Are you hungry now? And do you take pictures of your meals as well?
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Healthy Vegan Treats – Quick & Easy

It’s quite a while ago since I posted a recipe on my blog. So today I decided it was time again and I want to show you healthy vegan trats that are made super quick and easy so you always have some good snacks on hand when you crave something sweet and/or chocolaty.

I really love snacks and I could always munch on something while working on my laptop. I try to be satisfied after every meal, but I just have such a sweet tooth and I always want dessert after having a savoury meal… I try to resist is sometimes, but I rather have some „healthy“ treats here and there to satisfy my desire.

I’m sure not everybody agrees with me when I say these recipes are healthy, but they definitely are better than regular stuff: free from industrial sugar, low in fat and without white flour, but they still taste amazing!

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Chocolate ’nana Muffin

– 1 tbsp shredded Flaxseeds + 3 tbsp warm water
– 3 ripe bananas
– 1,5 tbsp maple syrup
– 1,5 tbsp applesauce (without added sugar)
– 1 tbsp coconut oil
– pinch of vanilla extract
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 1 tsp baking soda
– pinch of salt
– 1 tbsp unsweetened (raw) cacao powder ( I use this product*)
– 5 tbsp buckwheat flour
– 1 tbsp dark chocolate chips

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  • mix the flaxseeds with water and let it sit for 5-10 minutes
  • mash the bananas and mix all ingredients to a smooth dough
  • bake for around 15 minutes at 190°C

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Chocolate Cookie Dough made with Chickpeas

I eat this cookie dough for breakfast most of the times because it is the best post-workout meal! But I always end up having leftovers as a snack later.
I have to admit that it doesn’t taste like real cookie dough because you can’t taste the sugar crystals and the greasy butter, but it’s still super yummy – you just can’t expect it to taste the same.
I got this recipe idea from kichererb.se but I never followed her instructions completely and rather experiment myself.

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– 1 can of very well rinsed chickpeas (save the chickpea water to make other yummy recipes like my healthy crunchy muesli!)
– about 8 pitted dates (soak them in plant milk overnight if they aren’t smooth)
– 5 tsp unsweetened (raw) cacao ( I use this product*)
– a little bit of plant milk (depends on consistency)
– pinch of vanilla extract
– optional: 3 tsp chopped dark chocolate, cacao nibs, nut butter, cinnamon, chopped nuts, shredded coconut…

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  • mix everything with a high speed blender and add whatever extras you like/have on hand
  • I never make the same cookie dough and always add something else every time

I love dipping apple slices into it or eating it with fruit!


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Chocolate Bliss Balls

I always wanted to make my own bliss balls because you can literally see everyone making and eating them. I just mixed together everything I thought would fit and taste and they came out so so yum!
– 12 soaked dates (in just as much plant milk to cover them overnight)
– 3 tsp chia seeds
– 2 handful of nuts (I used a variety of different ones we had)
– 3 tsp unsweetened (raw) cacao (I use this product*)
– 3 tsp shredded dark chocolate
– cacao nibs
– 6 tbsp spelt flakes (or oats)
– optional: coconut flakes to coat your bliss balls

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  • soak the dates and chia seeds together in plant milk overnight
  • mix all ingredients in a high-speed blender and add the spelt/oat flakes in portions to vary depending on the consistency (it needs to be very creamy but not too sticky)
  • wet your hands with water, take small portions and roll your bliss balls
  • coat them in coconut flakes (sadly we didn’t have any…)

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Hemp-Apricot Bliss Balls

My grandma once made me these yummy bliss balls that have slightly different ingredients than usual bliss balls but they tasted amazing! I really love dried apricots anyways and hempseeds also are high in protein and very healthy!

– 150g dried apricots (not sulphurated! and try to find very creamy ones)
– 100g oat bran
– 100g hazelnuts
– 100g hempseeds
– plant milk depending on consistency
– optional: shredded coconut or more oat bran

  • mix the apricots in a high-speed blender with a little bit of plant milk and slowly add the dry ingredients, depending on the consistency add more milk
  • wet your hands with water, take small portions and roll your bliss balls
  • coat them in shredded coconut or oat bran

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Always keep in mind that it is better to have a proper snack or meal than to stuff yourself with „healthy treats“ because you are hungry. These treats are made for dessert to satisfy your sweet tooth but not to fill you up!

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You could, for example, have a piece of bread with avocado and tomato, a bowl of porridge with fruit or (vegan) yogurt with fruit and muesli. These things will fill you up more and won’t make you hungry for more (like treats tend to do!).
You should also think about what you could improve in your eating routine so that you stay full longer and don’t need to have snacks in between. But that also depends on yourself because everyone has different preferences with how they separate their meals. Some only have 2/3 big meals a day, others like to eat more frequently but smaller portions – for me it depends on my day and what I am up to.


More treats:

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This dessert doesn’t look healthy at all – but it is! Made of silken tofu it is the perfect creamy vegan chocolate mousse. Only takes 10 minutes and 5 main ingredients to make and it’s so good, while still being healthy and high in protein as well!

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Treats don’t always need chocolate to be super delicious! These fruity little muffins are prefect to use up ripe bananas and very handy to take with you wherever you go!

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Cakes can be „healthy“ too! If you use cane sugar instead of white industrial sugar, buckwheat or other wholegrain flour instead of white flour and plant butter/oil even your favorite cake can be made healthy (or at least healthier!). I collected my all time favourite vegan cake recipes here!

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I recently made my favourite raspberry banana bread with frozen blueberries instead and it tasted amazing – so creamy, moist and fruity!

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But if you prefer the combination of chocolate, banana and peanut butter, I got you covered as well!

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Ever tried brownies made with sweet potato? Super delicious! I can highly recommend trying it, especially when it’s still warm!

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Probably my favourite treat ever! So so creamy, fruity, crunchy, not too sweet and warm – I really need to remake it with different kinds of fruit: Baked Plum Crumble


What treats do you like to make when you crave something sweet but still want to stay healthy? Are you going to try one of my recipe? What are your favourite treats?


* This is an affiliate link. If you purchase something through this link I get a commission and you support me and my work, but it doesn’t affect the price for you. Thanks!

* Dies ist ein Affiliate Link. Wenn du etwas über diesen Link kaufst, bekomme ich eine kleine Provision und du unterstützt mich und meine Arbeit. Der Preis ändert sich für dich dabei natürlich nicht. Danke!

What I Eat on a Hot Summer Day #19

Summer is the best time for fresh healthy food. So much variety, lots of garden produce and local produce, the prices are affordable and because of the heat you just want to eat fresh food.

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Right now I am soo addicted to watermelon. I could literally eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and as a snack. I mean, what can I say – it’s sweet, fruity and so refreshing!

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In Portugal, I fell in love with grapefruit because they taste so sour-sweet and fresh.

Peaches, Nectarines, Mangoes and all kinds of Berries are some more favorites that I can’t get enough of! Fruit is all I crave at the moment and I can not understand how people do a keto or low carb diet and not eat fruit in summer. I would not be okay with that. I love fruit just way too much!

How about you? Do you eat lots of fruit at the moment or do you try to get away from all the fruit sugar? 

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The last few weeks after our trip to Portugal I tried to eat very clean, vegan and healthy because I didn’t eat that well on vacation (lots of white bread and cheese) and I did okay. Not as I hoped, but I ate out with friends a lot (basically all vegan at least) but still bread and cheese here and there and the last days I also craved chocolate every night… But I also tell myself that I won’t have access to a lot of the food I can eat now when I am in Australia cause I need to buy cheap – so I let myself have it all now :D

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My breakfast still looks pretty much the same: some porridge, lots of fruit and sometimes a bit vegan lupin mango yogurt. I often have an extra bowl of watermelon or other fruit on the side as well.

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Then for lunchtime, I sometimes have more fruit, a big salad with garden tomatoes and cucumbers or a wrap depending on how late I ate breakfast and how hungry I am. I really like to have cold food for lunch because at 36°C it’s just too much to cook something or eat warm food and wraps and salads are a great way to get some greens in as well!

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Now that we super many tomatoes from our garden we love to roast thick slices in a pan on both sides an then put it on a bread with hummus. Or you can also put some feta cheese on top and wait one more minute until it gets warm as well. Tastes freaking amazing and I can highly recommend making these hot tomatoes to top your bread.

Sometimes we have some tofu with it or some fresh cucumber and chives from the garden.

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As I already mentioned I craved chocolate after dinner and I let myself enjoy some vegan chocolate. It’s not healthy and clean at all, but I still want to be honest with you.

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Luckily I bought silken tofu today at the Asia market and now I can make my healthy vegan chocolate dessert mousse again to have something chocolaty but still healthy when I crave it.