The Ultimate Food Photography Guide

The Ultimate Food Photography Guide

My ULTIMATE food photography guide - including my favorite props and ceramics, tools all about lighting, composition, styling as well as all my favorite equipment, camera gear and lighting.

The Ultimate Food Photography Guide

Food Photography Tips

Lighting

Natural Lighting ~  I personally shoot in natural lighting, I find it's the best for food photography. However, this can also depend on the mood and tone you're trying to accomplish. I personally like bright, white colorful food photos, so that's why utilizing natural light works, however, if you are going for a more moody tone then artificial lighting, nighttime food photography or dark tones may work best for you. 

I personally love to shoot in overcast lighting next to a window. I like the sharp and bright images without any direct sunlight with an overcast shadow. 

Artificial Lighting ~  You can also utilize the bright colorful images with artificial lighting. Although more expensive and takes some practice in terms of technique to accomplish, you can definitely use this too. 

The Ultimate Food Photography Guide

The Food Itself

This is one of the main food photography tips I can give you! You don't have to think TOO much into this but it should be on your mind. Make sure you are developing recipes/plating itself that looks great. An image can do so much, but the colors and textures of the dish is what you really want to be the star.

Think before you plate, how can I make this look it's best? You can imagine how the camera will pick up the colors as well. A tomato soup that is red can look vibrant, but it can be elevated with a little bit of olive oil to add texture, some basil for a pop of green while still allowing the tomato soup to pop and be the star of the dish.

Human Element

I've found that by incorporating hands and arms in photos, it gives the photo texture and a human element + emotion to the image. It can sometimes elevate an image just right. Use it to hold chopsticks, pick up lettuce wraps or to dip nachos in queso for example. 

Mood/Tone

The mood and tone of a food photo depends on the style you're going for. You can utilize a bright image or a moody dark tone. Its up to you. Mess around with different settings and find your style! 

The Ultimate Food Photography Guide

Props and Backgrounds

For props, ceramics and my favorite photography backgrounds, you can look at my blog post here. 

My newest + favorite food photography backdrop at the moment is this one below from Toile Blanche:

The Ultimate Food Photography Guide

I have another pair of boards from Toile Blanche and I am IN LOVE. It is such a high quality board and not to mention, it photographs beautifully.

I am also a huge fan of anything Lodge or Staub. I also always take a look at any Marshall’s or Ross when I’m in the areas of any locations - sometimes you can find some really great gems! If there are any local estate sales or garage sales near by, that can also be a great place to find cheap and affordable props and styling tools. More on props here. You can also shop my favorite ceramics and props here as well in my SHOP.

Some of my favorites at the moment are:

The Ultimate Food Photography Guide

Styling

Start simple, snap and keep adding ingredients and props. 

What I like to do is shoot the image in it's purest form. Then keep snapping and see what needs adding. Sometimes a little addition of a fork or a herb will make all the difference. You can also add little things, but sometimes you won't be able to take items away, so start simple then keep adding as needed. 

Keep it Simple + don't Overdo it on the Props 

Sometimes we want to overdo it with the props and linens, and then sometimes it can look too cluttered, scattered and dirty. You want your food photography to look natural and seamless but also utilizing simple props that will elevate it. 

For example, a apple pie will look elevated with a scoop of ice cream, a piece cut out and the knife right next to it. But if you start to scatter 2 or 3 more knives around, a bunch of slices of apple around the frame, and ice cream scoops surrounding the image, it might look messy. Keep it simple but still use props to elevate the image. 

Texture, Angles + Composition

Some of the most important aspects of food photography are texture and composition. You need to make your food look vibrant, colorful and appetizing. By just putting a boring plate of salad or leafy greens, it looks sad and unappetizing. It needs to be elevated with certain types of textures and colors like crispy breadcrumbs and layers like herbs, red tomatoes etc.

For composition, mess around with your angles and where you want the dish to be placed. Sometimes a simple nudge of the plate to the corner might elevate the photo just right. You want balance, symmetry and to take shots in all different angles to see which composition works best for the dish you're shooting and what style you’re trying to utilize for your aesthetic.

The Ultimate Food Photography Guide

Camera Gear 

I currently use a Canon 6d Mark II and a Canon T5i for side angles for video shoots. I use a 50mm 1.4 lens (which is one of the best and affordable lenses out there in my opinion and great for food photography). I also use a 85mm 1.4 as well, I switch off between the two. For an entry level camera, I would recommend a T5i.

The Ultimate Food Photography Guide

Editing Softwares/Post-Processing (desktop and phone)

There are so many softwares out there to edit photos. I personally use a few before actually posting on Instagram but generally I start with my lightroom preset. What I love about lightroom is you can create an edit preset that you love and you can just copy/paste on all your images and adjust contrast, saturation, brightness, exposure, etc. from there. 

It's also a great spot treatment so if a drizzle from a sauce gets on the outside of the bowl, I can edit that out. 

I also love the app A Color Story. I use 3-4 filters on my Instagram photos along with the lightroom preset sometimes, it depends on the image. 

Another great phone app is Snapseed, this generally operates as a great alternative to Lightroom. You can brighten and sharpen certain points of the image and I personally love their sharpening tools as well as their selective tool - if one part of an image needs brightening or contrasting, you can just focus on that part.

I use the app Facetune to whiten the background of some of my images when they are maybe too shadowy, dark or not as white as they can be. 

The Ultimate Food Photography Guide
The Ultimate Food Photography Guide

Thanks for reading! Any other tips you’d be interested in covering in more depth on photography and food photography?

Keep up with me on instagram @lindseyeatsla!

The Ultimate Food Photography Guide

A Life With Peace Gets Invited to a Thrillist Culinary Road Trip

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^Mortadella Sandwich from Lardo, click Read More to see more pictures! 

People often travel around the country to try some of the most famous and well-known restaurants and dives. With this event, we are able to have the most famous restaurants in one place, without having to travel anywhere! From places in the East Coast like New York and Philadelphia, this event brought all the goods from around the country. This extremely well-organized, trendy and wonderful event left me feeling full, satisfied and happy!

Taking place a whole weekend in Hollywood, California at the Siren Studios at Orange, this venue was spacious and awesome! The walls were white and were able to be written on!

When you walk in, you get a punch card with all the different foods and as you make your way down, it gets checked off! The first stop I took was Sweetgreen. Originally famous in Washington D.C, Sweetgreen just opened recently in Los Angeles on 3rd street, and now I know why. The salad served was a Rad Thai Salad with fresh greens, cucumbers, carrots and other fresh ingredients! This was an amazing appetizer to start off the adventure of the night. It was crisp, light and exactly what a salad should be. It really kicked off the rest of the event.

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Second stop was Black Seed Bagels from New York City. I've only had a New York bagel one time in my life and this would count as the second and it was DELICIOUS! There is just SOMETHING about New York bagels… The bagel was a sesame seed bagel with cucumbers, dill, cream cheese, capers and red onion. The bagels were soft and the toppings paired perfectly. The taste from the fresh dill paired with the sourness and tartness of the caper was a great combination. The crunch of the cucumbers with the creamy cream cheese hit the spot! I could have had a ton of these! But, there was A LOT more to go and I did NOT want to get full just yet!

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So far, I loved the ambience, the colors, the music, as well as the grass designs all over the venue. Each stop had it's own unique style and lighting. After the bagels and salad, I wanted to get right in there and try Lardo’s grilled Mortadella Sandwich from Portland. This sandwich was my favorite of the night. It had so many components to it, the first bite, I fell in love! The Mortadella sandwich was crispy, crunchy and spicy! The bread was soft and all the component of this sandwich worked so well together. The Mortadella was grilled and crusted to perfection that gave it a nice smoky flavor and a bit of crunch! The greens didn’t get soggy and also provided a crunch. The sauce and grilled vegetables completed the sandwich and left me oh so satisfied! Definitely looking forward to trying this again if I am ever in Portland. Really good and delicious sandwich.

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After this, we grabbed some complimentary boxed water and headed to New England for Luke’s Lobsters. I am a sucker for a good lobster roll and I was surprised and satisfied with the taste of this one. I’ve always got hot and steamy lobster rolls but this one was cold and really provided a new flavor. It was peppery, buttery and lemony, really the 3 best things if you ask me! Who doesn’t love butter and pepper? And lemon just adds all the components of a dish together. You can tell the lobster was fresh and creamy and crunchy. It was paired with a soft roll and the sauces and mayo with the pepper, lemon and butter on the lobster was really amazing. My favorites of the whole night would have to be this lobster roll, in addition with Lardo’s sandwich.

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After the lobster roll, we went to try some deep-dish pizza from Chicago, something I’ve never tried before! The sauces on the pizzas were delicious and the sausages paired great with the sauces, the crust was crunchy and doughy at the same time. It was heavy and delicious! I liked this pizza, but it was not one of my favorites stops of the night. They had three pizzas to try from so it was cool they gave a variety!

After all this heavy, greasy, fresh and DELICIOUS food, we decided to slow it down a little. In the middle of the second room there is a “Rest Stop” where they were handing out root beer and chips! The route beer and chips were from “Route Beer 66” and I got Dill Pickle chips and the Lightly Salted chips. Regular lightly salted chips are always good but what I enjoyed the most was the Dill Pickle chips. These were delicious! They were vinegar tasting and really tasted like a dill pickle. The chips were crunchy and flavorful, I wish I could have picked up more bags of these! The root beer was also delicious, it is made from real sugar cane and is caffeine free! I really enjoyed this refreshing beverage before heading to the next main food stop before dessert.

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Next, we went to Philly to try some Philly cheesesteaks. There were two types to pick from, a simple rib eye Philly cheesesteak with American cheese or slow roasted pork with sautéed broccoli rabe, sharp provolone and Italian bread. I tried the cheesesteak because I know that is what they are known for! And mmm it was delicious! At this point, I was so crazy full! The rib eye was delicious and paired with the melted cheese and the soft bread. A very simple sandwich, yet it contains a lot of juicy, amazing elements that were delicious.

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After this, we went to Washington D.C to start our dessert. Georgetown Cupcakes, also opened in Los Angeles, was an amazing end to our foodie adventure. We got the vanilla birthday and lava fudge with a fudge center! Both were so tasty, delicious and super rich! I have tried Georgetown Cupcakes in LA before but I never tried those flavors and they were delicious! Looking forward to picking up more cupcakes from them and happy 2 places from this night are in LA!

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Lastly, we got some cookies from Philly, called Insomnia Cookies. These cookies were moist, thin and melted in my mouth. I got double chocolate chunk and snicker doodle. They were also handing out samples of spritzers and seltzer that came in a lot of different flavors, I tried cucumber and grapefruit and it was extremely fresh and light.

This night was unforgettable and cannot be thankful enough that I was able to be apart of this event! Thank you so much Thrillist and Honda for inviting me to this awesome event. The food, the setting and everything was delicious and spectacular!

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