Tip of the week: How to make your food camera friendly

You are about to have a great meal, this plate looks delicious! How to take a photo of it that would look equally mouth-watering? Here are some tips.

Smiling man taking a picture of food on his mobile phone

1. Lighting

Food looks best when it's lit from behind or from a side, with natural light. Place your subject near a window and try different angles. Avoid on-camera direct flashlight, it will make your food look ugly and unappetizing. If you're going to have lunch in a restaurant, equipped with a mobile phone only, choose a table near a window or one that is properly lit.

Pay attention to shadows. Are you, or an object out of the frame, casting unwanted shade on the subject? Move away, change angle.

Images taken in restaurants often have a tint. To some degree, it can be tolerable, but quite often you will have to correct white balance in post-processing. Our eyes find warm colors food photos much more appetizing than those with cold blue tint.

People sharing food photos on mobile phone

2. Composition

Each dish has at least a few potentially attractive angles to consider. Try flat-lay, looking on the plate from above, then 45 degrees standard (as you usually see your lunch), then discover the world of details, find those small crumbs, dew drops or texture details.

Make the composition simple. Avoid cluttering the background with unrelated elements. In your home studio, it's easy to compose such shots, in restaurants, pay attention to your companions' hands, branded napkins or menus, cola bottles (copyright issues). General rule - if an element is not related with your subject, remove it.

Stock food images serve as backgrounds for menus, so I suggest each of your sessions should contain a few versions with copyspace:

Vegetables and spices ingredient for cooking italian food

Use a towel to clean the dishes and cutlery, let them shine. Food stylizing is a whole art, but you don't have to be a specialist to improve those small imperfections. After taking the first shot, analyze it carefully, improve what's disturbing, then continue.

Avoid shooting half-eaten foods. It rarely looks appetizing, unless carefully composed and prepared. If the inside of a pie needs to be shown, use a fork to reveal the details. Here's a good example:

Aussie Meat Pie and Sauce

3. Keywording

We're here to sell our images, so good keywording is a must. A description like "It was a great meal!" will draw little views, while "Delicious kimchi with bibimbap main course, photo taken in Seoul." will have a far better sales potential. The same applies to the keywords field of course.

Bon Appetit and Good Sales!

Photo credits: Rawpixelimages, Robyn Mackenzie, Wavebreakmedia Ltd, Olga Lupol.

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September 12, 2018


Well written, great tips, and you chose some great stock photos to illustrate the blog. Thanks!

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