How To: Food Photography

How To: Food Photography

posted onAugust 17, 2015

I’m a huge foodie, and absolutely love creating recipes for you all – one of my favourite parts of this process is the food photography, something I’ve come to love over the years. I’m by no means a professional photographer and the phrase ‘winging it’ definitely applies when it comes to using my camera, but something I have learnt a lot about over the years is how to create a beautiful photograph. Whilst shooting my debut cookbook Naturally Sassy I worked with a wonderful photographer Matt Russell, who brought my vision for the book to life with a hundred striking and stunning pictures, that honestly will make your mouth water uncontrollably! We spent 8 days working together in his studio and over this time I got to understand the way he worked with the food to create the end shot. From angling the finished plate and perfecting the set-up, to creating live movement in the photography I learned a great deal about photography that further helped to grow my personal skills, and redefine how I now use my camera.

For cookbooks and food blogs, the saying “A picture speaks a thousand words” couldn’t be more spot on. We eat with our eyes, and so the way the food looks is everything to the reader. It needs to showcase the vibrant flavours, the sharp taste, the comforting warmth of the dish or the fresh summer vibe. It’s incredibly powerful! I know so many of my readers are bloggers too, and I thought writing a post about the art of food photography could be really interesting for some of you! I’ve put together a collection of Matt’s top tips for food photography below, which I hope you’ll enjoy reading, and maybe implement into your own life too!

See Matt’s work in action and pre-order my cookbook Naturally Sassy; My recipes for an energised, healthy and happy you – here! It’s out now (yay!) and available on Amazon and in Waterstones, Tescos & WHsmiths…. so you can get baking, blending and munching straight away.




This is everything. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again… Play around with a few setups and then chop and change your angle. Some food is beautiful shot from above, whereas other dishes are better with a lower perspective.



A ‘better’ camera or one that is more expensive won’t make you a better photographer. You can get caught up in what body to use or what lens to use, but you can take beautiful images on your phone! If you can’t afford a camera, try using your phone or a second hand piece of kit.



This is everything… How much space you give the image to breath, how intimate you want the viewer to be with the image, its all in the composition. Play around with negative space, the plate doesn’t always have to be in the middle of the image. Have it to the left or right, top or bottom, crop through the plate in order to get closer to the food.



The image doesn’t have to be lit from one side, in fact, if you’re using natural light, you can work around the window you’re shooting at. Try shooting with the light coming from behind the food to ‘backlight’ it. If theres too much shadow, use some white paper, or card to ‘bounce’ some light into the shadows to lift them slightly. If there’s too much light, you can use some black card to create more contrast and and shadow for effect.



When working in photography, its good to realise the importance of the ‘team’. Whether its in fashion, food, lifestyle or cars, it’s important to realise that it’s a team effort. Find people who are interested in styling, lighting, propping and collaborate. You can bounce ideas off each other and support one another in your learning. And most of all, have fun!


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