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How to Take Photos of Food

Taking a tantalizing photo of a plate of food isn't as simple as point and shoot. Pay close attention to detail and use these tips to turn food into art.


  • Step 1: Set up Set up everything you need -- lights, setting, garnishments, etc. -- before bringing out the food. Food changes after being cooked. For example, sauces congeal, or cereal gets soggy. Leave yourself time to get the perfect shot of the food rather than setting up equipment.
  • Step 2: Study the food Study the food. Ask yourself what it is about the food that is appealing to you or what makes it unique. The texture, color, and shape of the food should be considered.
  • TIP: Place food against a contrasting background, like black beans on a white plate, to make them pop rather than fade into the background.
  • Step 3: Use a tripod Use a tripod, because photos of food should be taken at close range. In low light situations, the tripod will enable you to take longer exposures.
  • Step 4: Consider lighting Play with different ways of lighting the subject. Use small lighting equipment so you can easily move it around for different shots.
  • TIP: On bright days, wear white or neutral colors so that light reflects off of you and back onto your subject.
  • Step 5: Shoot from several angles Use a lower angle for single plates of food and a higher one for large spreads. Make sure the the food always fills your frame. When you get done shooting from one angle, go to another.
  • Step 6: Pay attention to details Prepare the plate with great care. Pay attention to details. Every little mistake will be visible in the picture, so keep the plate itself simple and don't overcrowd it.
  • Step 7: Use garnishes Use accessories like flowers or flatware to help set a mood for your photo. You can suggest a location to your audience with a few simple props. And if you follow these tips correctly, they will wish the plate was in front of them.
  • FACT: The first photograph of a person was taken in Paris in 1839 by Louis-Jacques-Mande Daguerre.

You Will Need

  • Camera
  • Lighting equipment
  • Garnishments
  • Table or other setting
  • Plate
  • Food
  • Tripod
  • Attention to detail

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