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Making the most OUT of Food Photography!

Posted by on August 5, 2012

Hey Food Bloggers!

Welcome to Minnesota Girl in LA.  Hey potential foodies, and those that just love to capture photos of their food.  I have recently taken a great deal of interest into food photography.  Although I’d more than call myself an amateur foodie, I have been questioning what makes a GREAT food shot.

There are a variety of issues that arise when it comes to taking photos of your food, and how does one even get that ONE good shot out of many.  Well, today, I thought I would give you some advice on making the most out of your food photography:

1) Get CREATIVE with your ingredients

One of the things I truly love to do is capture all the ingredients of my recipe.  I usually take a shot like above.  However, by looking through a variety of food blogs, I’ve realized this is where you, as a food blogger, can become really creative.  Utilize some of the ingredients as your background.  Put the sliced up tomatoes and cucumbers next to your frying pan.  Cut some of the lettuce and put it atop your potential burger.

2) It’s all about how YOU crop your shot!

When it comes to food photography, you want to keep it simple.  That means, when taking your shot, keep your shot tight as possible, and fixated on the food.  The more stuff that becomes apart of the shot, the more that is taken away from your shot.  Simplicity is best.

3) Get comfortable with angles.

Play around with different angles when it comes to your food.  Take a shot vertically, take an above shot, take a shot horizontially, or get in front of your shot completely.  Each angle will give a different perspective to your food.

4) Have fun with the background!

This is where I have seen the most success with a lot of food bloggers I read on an ongoing basis.  They add little details to the background.  It may be a fun placemat, icing on the side of the plate, or even a mixing bowl, or the simplicity of a cutting board.  Think of the recipe you’re making, think of what really makes this recipe stand out and utilize those pieces in your shot.  Trust me, you will love the way your picture will come out!

5) It’s all about the LIGHTING

Piece of advice: use natural light if you can.  This is seriously where you will get the most out of your shot.  However, if you’re like me, and you do the majority of your cooking during the evening, and there’s a lot of artificial lighting around you, know how to work white balance.  If you need to know more about white balance, please check out my post here.  

6) Environmental Shots

One of my favorite things I find from food blogs I read on a regular basis is how they change it up.  Meaning, they show us their experience of shopping at the store, or how they pick their ingredients out at the farmer’s market, or perhaps it’s the environment of the restaurant they just went to by taking pictures of the staff creating the meal, or the food trucks they’ve just visited.  It’s those environment shots that make the food blogger become human, and there’s a beauty to it.

7) Shallow Depth of Field

If you need to learn more about aperture and what is does for you and your shots, please check out my article.   A shallow depth of field will fixate on  your food in the front, and blur out the background in the back.  It can be a pretty awesome effect especially when it comes to food.

However, before you go out and buy that shallow depth of field lens, please know, that the lighting around you can affect the turn out of depth of field.  If you shoot in a lot of low light settings, it will be hard to go below a f-stop of 4.5.  Again, shallow depth of field works best in natural lighting settings.

8) PicMonkey is your friend.

All of the pictures above all received borders off of picmonkey.  This site has become my savior with some of my photos in blogland 😉

In the end, just have fun.  I know, as kids, we are taught never to play with our food, but when it comes to food photography, playing is the only thing that makes sense.  😉

If you have any questions you’d like me to answer, please ask them below, and I will either answer, or find the answer for you!

And I want to leave you with a list of some of my all time favorite food blogs:

Smitten Kitchen

Shugary Sweets

What Megan’s Making

Bibi’s Culinary Journey

Jolly Tomato

Gluten is my Bitch


19 Responses to Making the most OUT of Food Photography!

  1. Rebecca Rider

    Great advice – I love posts about photography! I am learning as I go! 🙂
    Rebecca Rider recently posted..Saturday #30 – OC Fair!!

  2. Holly

    I am not very good with food photography, but I did learn a few things from your tips here. I especially need to keep what you said about lighting in mind. I’m always turning all the lights in the room on when I go to take a picture of something just to make sure that there is enough light, without keeping in mind that the natural light coming through the window is probably enough and would most likely make the picture better. Thanks!
    Holly recently posted..Dinner’s On Me Giveaway Event

  3. Alexandra McAllister

    WOW! Love, love, love your article, Jamie! Your tips will certainly be of help to me! I enjoy taking pics but haven’t followed a course, so the outcome is not the best! I have book marked this and will come back again. Thanks so much for the tips and lovely photos!
    Alexandra McAllister recently posted..Can One Truly Find A Drunk’s Stupidity Funny?

  4. Solvita

    Love the tips, it will help me to take great pics. Thank you so much for sharing! 🙂
    Solvita recently posted..2 Top Reasons to STOP the Gossip and Have Inner Peace

  5. Martha Giffen

    Thanks for these awesome tips! They are useful whether we are shooting food or anything else. Appreciate it!
    Martha Giffen recently posted..What Social Media Engagement Really Means

  6. Alexis Grace

    I definitely think cropping is the key to a good a food shot. Something I am always trying to get better at!!
    Alexis Grace recently posted..Louis Vuitton Fall 2012 Ad Campaign

    • Jamie

      As am I. As I browse through blogs I am simple impressed with some of the food photography out there. I think that’s why I’ve become so drawn to it the last few months.

      now I have to start playing in the kitchen, once temps cooler down a bit 😉

  7. Barbara Peters

    well now you have made me hungry! LOL I love these pictures and the Dinner shot of the stools is so interesting. I’m going to visit the food blogs and torture myself a little more..;)
    Barbara Peters recently posted..The relationship of the future: what we pass on to our children.

  8. elizabeth Maness

    I love to use picmonkey to work with pictures and make quotes to post! You can do some great stuff on there! Nice photo tips!.. Storing them away.. til another day!
    elizabeth Maness recently posted..The Best WordPress Theme EVER: Why We Use Headway For WordPress

  9. Lisa Birnesser

    I always love your photography tips. I have forwarded on your blog to a friend who wants to learn more about photography. Thanks!
    Lisa Birnesser recently posted..Stress and Job Security: How to Deal with a Job Loss-Part One

  10. Mark/YourKitchenCamera

    Welcome to the food photography realm. You got all the right tips going for you. Hope you stick with it and hone those skills, its a belly full of fun! Hope to see more from you and thanks for sharing Jamie!
    Mark/YourKitchenCamera recently posted..An Easy Tip to Help Find a Background Surface for Engaging Food Photography

    • Jamie

      Thanks for stopping by. You’ve got my curiosity going and now I want to take a peek at some of yours =)

  11. Meryl Hershey Beck

    Although I am not into food photography, I am loving my camera and now carry it in my purse. There were great tips for me! Thanks.
    Meryl Hershey Beck recently posted..Feeling, not Feeding, the Feelings

  12. Susan Preston

    Wonderful article. I will definitely be using these tips to take photos of food, for sure. I find when I share photos of dishes that hubby and I make on Facebook that a lot of people like to comment and/or share. Thanks 🙂
    Susan Preston recently posted..Your Thoughts Become Things

  13. Marie Leslie

    Great tips for getting started with food photography. One thing that has definitely helped for me with creativity is finding great dishes, utensils and tableware at vintage shops and thrift stores. I’ve been able to add a lot of variety to my shots and really highlight different cuisines with “just the right setting.” Food photography is definitely endlessly creative.
    Marie Leslie recently posted..Eight Easy Ways to Improve Your Blog’s Readability

    • Jamie

      The possibilities are endless, and yes, I’m going to start getting in thrift stores and look for unique dishes for future settings =)

  14. Catherine

    Thx for the tips. I’m thinking of starting a food blog 🙂
    Catherine recently posted..Get ‘Er Done

  15. Sharon O'Day

    That’s one form of photography I’ve never tried, Jamie, although I worked with amazing photographers when I was Marketing Director for Godiva Chocolates. But we worked with 4×5 negatives in those days … so maybe that’s what intimidated me. No more excuses … 😉
    Sharon O’Day recently posted..Financial Reality Check: The Women Around Me

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