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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We Drown in Plastic

Every single piece of plastic made, still exists.

It takes about 450 years for synthetic material to decompose and since 1950 we’ve already produced 3,8 million tons of it. If we continue or even increase the use and waste of plastic it won’t take long until we drown in plastic.

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There are plastic islands as big as France and Germany together in every ocean on our earth.

Sea animals die of starvation with their stomach full of plastic they mistake as food.

Beaches at the most beautiful places in the world are overfloated with garbage that gets thrown into the sea by ships or into rivers that flow into the oceans.

You wonder what it has to do with you?

You put all your garbage in trash bins and it gets recycled – that’s only one part of the truth.
We produce so much waste in the industrial countries that we export it to other countries to get rid of it. 2015 Germany exported 600.000 tons of synthetic waste to China. Now that our waste is not in our country anymore we can’t control what is done with it.
55% of our waste gets burned. A great way to get rid of it quickly, without needing huge landfills or risking that it lands in the ocean – But on the side, toxic chemicals emit and pollute our air.

I know that the garbage from developing countries mostly ends up in our oceans, but I am sure that even small changes and being attentive to our own consumption can help.

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It’s not just them

70.000 m³ waste from ships and fishing boats end up in the North Sea every year.

Synthetic clothes lose 2.000 pieces of fibre per wash and 500 tons of microplastic from peelings and other beauty products ends up in our sewage.

Wastelands in nature – not just in developing countries but in our neighbourhood and at our beaches. Takeaway food packaging, cigarette ends, candy wrapper, chewing gums, drinking bottles and more.

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What can we do?

Be aware of your consumption.

If you use less, you can waste less. Especially try to avoid single-use plastic. 78 million tons of plastic packaging is produced every year – one-third ends up in our nature. I know it’s super hard to reduce something that seems to be EVERYWHERE and I am not super good at it myself and I really want to work on it more and more, but there are small things that are not hard to change and that have an impact as well. Start small and get better!
I already made a blog post about 5 eco-friendly swaps everyone should use. Things that really aren’t that hard to incorporate in your day to day life. I’ll soon make another post about reducing plastic in our bathroom and using sustainable, zero-waste products – stay tuned!

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Talk to others about this problem.

When more and more people start to make small changes they add up to great results. For example, share this blog post or my 5 eco-friendly must-haves so that more people can learn and improve!

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Take your garbage with you.

I’m pretty sure that you, my readers, are intelligent enough to not throw takeaway food containers out of your car window on the roadside. And we can’t convince others if they are not willing to understand, but we can be a good example. And yes that sometimes means cleaning the disgusting garbage of others…but you can feel great about it afterwards!

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Stop using chemical beauty products.

Products that contain synthetical peeling pieces, glitter and such. It’s not just very unhealthy for your body (because our skin absorbs them as well), but it’s also so small that it easily ends up in our groundwater and until now it’s not sure what consequences it has for our nature and organism. But it has already been linked to bad fertility.

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Stop supporting wild fishing.

Until recently my family thought wild fish is healthier than farmed fish. On one hand that’s true because it has less fat and ate more natural than farmed and fed fish. But on the other hand, wild fish lives in our oceans, seas and lakes that are polluted with microplastic and waste. Our oceans contain 6 times more plastic than plankton and the marine life easily mistake it. And so do we mistake these animals as our food and the plastic ends up in our body as well.
But you should not only refuse fishing for health reasons. It is a major reason for garbage, chemicals and oils in our oceans and sea animals, as well as reefs, get killed/destroyed by lost fishing nets.

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These pictures are made by Katja from amoureuxee and I am very proud that we could transfer this topic into these wonderful and aesthetic pictures!

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This subject is very important to me and I want to better myself and take you guys along with me on my journey to more sustainability here on my blog. I hope you are interested in more information, DIYs and tips!

 

Plastic is a huge topic and everybody that loves nature, animals, is aware of their own health or the health of mother earth needs to occupy oneself with it. So start yourself now, every little change is an improvement and together it will be huge.

We need to change, otherwise, we’ll drown in plastic.

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Source for the numbers and facts: here.

Entscheidungen Treffen: So Fällt es Leichter

Heute gibt es eine kleine Premiere auf dem Blog! Der erste Gastbeitrag – geschrieben von der lieben Carla zu einem Thema, welches sie in letzter Zeit viel beschäftigt hat. 

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Auf meinem Blog carlakatharina schreibe ich über Dinge, die ich mag und die das Leben schön machen. Reisen & Erlebnisse. Achtsamkeit & Kreativität. Körper & Seele. Schönheit & Genuss.


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Bei großen Dingen, können wir uns oft nur schwer entscheiden. Ewig lange machen wir im Kopf Pro und Kontra Listen, und am Ende des Tages sind wir immer noch nicht weiter. Kennst du das? Ja? Ich auch… Aber keine Angst: Entscheidungen leicht treffen zu können kann man lernen! In diesem Beitrag erfährst du, wieso es so unglaublich wichtig ist, Entscheidungen zu treffen und wie es dir leichter fällt.

Wieso es uns schwer fällt, Entscheidungen zu treffen?

Tagtäglich dürfen (oder müssen) wir mehrere Entscheidungen fällen. Soll ich jetzt schon aufstehen oder noch ein bisschen liegen bleiben? Soll ich einen Salat oder doch einen Avocado Toast essen? Soll ich am See entspannen oder doch lieber im Park? Für welchen Job soll ich mich entscheiden? Welche Wohnung ist besser? Soll ich den weichen Pulli oder das lange Kleid kaufen? Laut Wissenschaft haben wir täglich unglaubliche 20‘000 Entscheidungen zu treffen! Einige davon fallen uns ganz leicht. Wir überlegen gar nicht lange und entscheiden einfach. Und dann sind da noch die anderen, die wir ewig hin und her schieben und bei denen wir uns einfach nicht entscheiden möchten. Wieso fällt es uns bei manchen Entscheidungen eigentlich so schwer?

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Oft haben wir einfach nur Angst, uns falsch zu entscheiden und es danach vielleicht zu bereuen. Wir denken, dass unsere Entscheidungen einen riesigen Einfluss auf unsere Zukunft haben. Das stimmt ja zum Teil auch, denn dein jetziges Leben ist nichts anderes als eine Folge von den Entscheidungen, die du in deiner Vergangenheit getroffen hast. Du würdest nicht dort arbeiten, wenn du dich für eine andere Stelle entschieden hättest. Du würdest nicht nach London reisen, wenn du dich für Paris entschieden hättest. Oft haben wir einfach Angst vor der Folge der Entscheidung.

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Warum es wichtig ist sich zu entscheiden & „Der innere Schreibtisch“

Entscheidungen vor uns her zu schieben oder einfach versuchen, sie zu ignorieren kostet unglaublich viel Energie. Im Unterbewusstsein wissen wir nämlich ganz genau, dass wir uns irgendwann entscheiden müssen und unsere Gedanken sind ständig am Kreisen. Es ist ein riesiger Energieräuber und er wird von Tag zu Tag grösser. Ich habe mal einen Vergleich gelesen, den ich total gut finde:

Entscheidungen sind wie lose Blätter. Wenn wir die losen Blätter immer auf unseren Schreibtisch legen, anstatt sie in Ordner einzuordnen, wird unser Schreibtisch immer voller mit losen Blättern. Es herrscht Chaos und Unruhe und wir haben keinen Platz mehr, um uns für das Wesentliche zu konzentrieren. Bei Entscheidungen ist es genau dasselbe! Wenn wir Entscheidungen aufschieben, wird unser innerer Schreibtisch immer unordentlicher. Wenn wir Ordnung auf unserem Schreibtisch (bzw. in unserem Geist) Ruhe und Ordnung möchten, dann bleibt uns nichts anderes übrig, als die losen Blätter sofort einzuordnen, also die Entscheidungen gleich zu treffen.

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Die schlechteste Entscheidung, die du machen kannst, ist, dich nicht zu entscheiden, denn das ist auch eine Entscheidung. Die Folgen davon: Du fühlst dich energielos, unruhig und denkst immer wieder daran. Du bist eingeschränkt und fühlst dich machtlos. Sobald du das erkannt hast, ist dir klar, dass du dich besser einfach für etwas entscheidest, denn das kann nur besser sein als dieses unangenehme Gefühl dass du hast, wenn du dich nicht entscheidest.

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3 Tipps, die es dir leichter machen Entscheidungen zu treffen

  1. Höre auf dein Bauchgefühl. Nimm dir einfach ein paar Minuten Zeit, atme tief durch und höre auf dein Bauchgefühl, auf deine Intuition. Sie weiß den Weg und gibt dir die nötige Hilfe, um dich zu entscheiden (mehr dazu hier). Versuche, deinen Kopf komplett auszuschalten. Ganz wichtig auch: Denk nicht daran, was die anderen denken könnten, wenn du diese Entscheidung triffst. Es ist total egal, denn hier geht es um dich und um deine Zukunft.

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  1. No Drama! Mache kein Drama aus der Entscheidung und gib ihr nicht zu viel Aufmerksamkeit. Entscheide dich einfach. Ich weiß, es ist leichter gesagt als getan. Aber versuche einfach, es leichter zu nehmen. Denn sobald du es als „wichtige und grosse Entscheidung“ betitelst, fällt es dir umso schwerer.

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  1. Sei dir deiner Macht bewusst. Du alleine kannst diese Entscheidung treffen. Sei dankbar dafür, dass du überhaupt die Macht hast, und dass nicht über dich entschieden wird. Du alleine kannst die Entscheidung treffen und du alleine trägst die Konsequenz dafür. Du hast auch immer die Macht, dich wieder umzuentscheiden, du bist ein freier Mensch. Es ist nicht schlimm, in falsche Richtung gegangen zu sein. Du musst nur den Mut haben, dann auch wieder umzudrehen!

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Am Anfang ist es vielleicht schwierig, da du dir schon angewöhnt hast, lange zu warten, bis du dann entscheidest. Aber versuche es einfach bewusst zu beobachten und halte dir das Bild vom inneren Schreibtisch immer im Gedächtnis.

Fällt es dir leicht, Entscheidungen zu treffen oder gehörst du eher zu der Gruppe, die sie lieber ein bisschen aufschieben? Hast du weitere Tipps, um sich leichter entscheiden zu können?


Ich wünsche dir einen wundervollen Tag!

Alles Liebe,

Carla

https://carlakatharina.com/