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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
…is pretty easy as well, but you have to be quick so that it doesn’t melt away and your toppings drown!
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!
Examples of toppings
- fruit/veggies used in the meal or as an extra
- seeds, nuts, granola, dried fruit, shredded coconut, chocolate drops
- leaves or flowers
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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…
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.
Examples of details
- kitchen cloth, blanket, clothes
- 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
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.
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.
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!
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!