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

My Favorite Props & Ceramics for Food Styling

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My love for anything ceramic, styling, cute and small runs wild. I am obsessed with researching and sifting through all the best props, bowls, little forks, backdrops that I can find on a daily basis. Here we have all my favorite props and ceramics that I love and use for food photography recipes and styling. 

Current Faves!

Staub

One of my current staples is anything STAUB! Their products are long lasting, sturdy and down-right gorgeous. These items are worth the splurge and I promise, anything you'd cook in them will turn out absolutely beautiful (and delicious!)

Ceramics and Pottery

Colleen Hennessey Clayworks

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Boston Potter makes the BEST handmade pottery. Not only that, it's so unique and the shapes and textures are just gorgeous. I want everything in his shop! You can take a look at his etsy shop here. 

Hansleman Pottery

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As of now, I only have these mini bowls from Hanselmann Pottery but I'm looking to get some more from them ASAP! I loved this shoot I did with them of these Udon Noodle Bowls - isn't it just dreamy? They are really great for mixing bowls, side mixing and prepping for when I'm food styling. They also work perf as side props in the shot. 

Julia E. Dean

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I'm in love with this huge plate above! But also this shop has the most adorable mugs. I use the mug and the plate for a lot of product photography and styling. Highly reccomend! All the items are extremely durable and beautiful. 

Earth and Element

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Also GORG mugs, I swear the BEST! In this above photo, I used the mini pink plate I got. I use the mug on the daily. 

Farmhouse Pottery

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This ceramic shop is so cute! I use the above cheese plate for about... everything! So perfect for styling. I also own 2 large plates that have a light matte brown texture around the plate that is just so dainty and beautiful. 

Daiso Japan 

If you want some cheap + cute props and ceramics, go to Daiso Japan. there is a bunch of locations and mostly everything is under $2. They have adorable sushi bento boxes, chopsticks and bowls that are perfect for styling. My favorites are the smaller bowls with textures like florals or plaid. 

Photography Backdrops

The Little Ladle Co. on Etsy.  

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Another board that has become an essential for me are these Etsy Backdrops. 

Eclectic Lab Designs

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I'm obseeesssing over these background photography boards! no matter what, the light that hits them always looks so good for photography. They are double sided + super sturdy, I use them A LOT for my food photography and styling. You can choose your own styles or they have some that are ready made but most are made to order! 

Other

Misen Knives

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Everyone that cookes NEEDS some good knives and up until now, I haven't had any good ones. I had one Victorinox one that is awesome, but besides that, I don't have any knife blocks or anything like that so I was in NEED for some really sharp and sturdy knives. I've been trying out the Misen Knives I LOVE them. I definitely recommend. I got the gray. :) 

Williams Sonoma 

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+ last but NOT least, I've been exploring a lot on the WS site. They have so much versatility in their pieces and some really awesome knives that I also got! 

Any props or ceramic makers I missed out or should look into? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments! 

Messhall Kitchen

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Messhall Kitchen, located in Los Feliz, has a large menu with fantastic choices, especially their cocktail program, which changes themes monthly. This month's theme is Harry Potter. All the juice is squeezed in house, achieving that super fresh taste, and the combinations work perfectly, giving off an interesting take on Harry Potter. Staples include the fried chicken sandwich and oysters. Take a look at the pictorial essay of Messhall Kitchen below.

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Fried Chicken Sandwich with hot honey aioli, red onions, lettuce and pickles

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Oysters (dozen)

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Hot Wings Tokyo Style

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Banana Cream Pie

Now for the cocktails....

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Polyjuice Potion

151 rum, persimmon syrup, grapefruit, lemon, sherry float

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Felix Felicis

Ford's gin, Lichi Li liquer, agave, lemon

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Amortentia

El dorado rum, creme de cacao, creme de menthe, angostrura, cream, egg white

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Draught of Living Death

scotch, cio ciaro, yellow chartreuse, meyer lemon bitters

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Pepperup Potion

Corralejo Reposado tequilla, cynar, peppercorn syrup, mint

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Messhall Old Fashioned

Four roses bourbon, sugar, bitters

Doma Kitchen

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A sweet spot located in Manhattan Beach, Doma Kitchen is bringing amazing flavors filled with local and fresh ingredients.

I had a remarkable experience enjoying the beautiful decor and delicious Doma Kitchen staple dishes. The owner, Angie, is friendly and really passionate about food and her culture. The menu contains all different types of cuisine but has a strong emphasis on European & Central Asian dishes, some from her background in Ukraine. When food tastes good, even more than good, one can notice it's due to the amount of passion and love put into the meal and this shine through here at Doma Kitchen.

We tasted traditional dishes with a healthy and unique twist. Starting with Borscht, then Housemade Chicken Dumplings in Broth, Braised Rice "Plov" with veggies & herbs, Uzbeck style, and ended with tea and Pumpkin cake, marshmallow whipped cream & caramelized apples (gluten free!). Continue reading for photos and a full run down of the dishes.

We started off with some black and hibiscus iced tea served in cute mason jars. While waiting for Angie to arrive, I took a look at the menu. Serving happy hour from 3-6 on Monday-Friday with $1 off beer and wine as well as many discounted appetizers and sides. The menu is diverse and contains many Californian dishes like wraps, tartines, sandwiches and french fries and then some other dishes that are very cultural, these are the dishes we tried.

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First off was the Borscht. This is a Ukrainian style soup with beets, cabbage and local natural grass fed lamb, fresh dill, bavarian rye bread and a side of sour cream. Everything we tried was phenomenal, but this was by far my favorite dish. Doma Kitchen took on this Borscht and transformed it into a healthier dish. Normally, it is much heavier but this was light and with the grass fed lamb, it brought a strong and tender flavor. The flavor of the soup was sweet and savory, bringing pieces of cabbage and tender, tasty lamb. This dish is extremely light, yet filling, and the flavors just sing in unison. What you do is put some sour cream in the soup with some bread. They ship their Rye Bread from Germany, it is extremely fresh and delicious. When you have this soup with the sour cream, it brings it to another level. I cannot wait to come back here and get this soup again.

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Next was the dumpling soup. These are Siberian style housemade dumplings, local cage-free chicken, chicken broth, fresh dill and of course - a side of sour cream. The dumpling dough was made in-house and this shows through with the bite. It is velvety, soft, and extremely fresh. The dill gives the chicken inside and the broth a hearty flavor. I am a fan of chicken dumplings and these were some of the best I've had. The flavors of all the chicken with the chicken broth was fantastic. All the local and cage free, grass fed meat and poultry is a strong way to be healthy and to feel lighter when having a meal.

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After the soup, we tried Braised Rice "Plov" with veggies & herbs. It had veggies like Garbonzo Beans and a sauce as well as tomatoes and onions. There were also raisins in the rice dish and I am normally not a huge fan of raisins in rice, but this worked perfectly together. The turmeric and spice blend in the rice worked perfect and all the flavors acted with one another, making this a pretty awesome rice dish.

A seasonal dessert was up next, Pumpkin cake, marshmallow whipped cream & caramelized apples (gluten free!). The fact that this dessert dish is gluten free really brings a smile to my face. Although I am not gluten, some people are allergic or that is their choice to not eat gluten and at restaurants especially, there are not a lot of gluten dessert options, and if they do have it, it's not very tasty. However, this was a great taste of marshmallow whipped cream with the cinnamon caramelized apples presented on a tree tray in a mason jar.

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Overall, this was an amazing spot. I enjoyed everything and every bite. The freshness was strong and the flavors all worked together. I left feeling full, and a good full. Not a full after a hamburger and french fries, this was the full we need to be. From a filling yet light and locally, free ranged and fresh lunch. Be sure to check out Doma Kitchen, maybe I'll see you there next time! Planning my next visit already.

11 Ways To Motivate Yourself

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  1. Shift your negative thoughts to positive ones. This is an important first step to motivate yourself. There are many ways you can shift your thoughts and vibration, it depends on you, you can do this through music, lists, rewarding yourself, cleaning up clutter, getting out of bed, shifting to a good mood, flashing a smile, asking questions, growing confidence and making mistakes.
  2. Music: Listen to anything your heart desires. Listen to what makes your heart sing and what gives you goosebumps. Sing along, dance along.
  3. Lists: Write down what you have to do and DO IT, write down your dreams, goals, what you're feeling, what you want from life, what you want from the future, what you want right from this moment. Write lists and write paragraphs, write stories. Write and write (or type), after you will have a feeling of relief if you are journaling and you will feel organized.
  4. After you complete something on your to-do lists, like doing the laundry or doing the dishes or even accomplishing a goal for your career, reward yourself. This will put you in an instant great mood! You can do this by splurging on a new dress or eating a bar of chocolate. What I do when I reward myself is pick up a Sugarfish to go box! You can do whatever you love to reward yourself.
  5. Clean up Clutter
  6. Get out of bed, get dressed, make yourself presentable and rock your DAY!
  7. We often get in a rut and are not motivated when we are in a bad mood, when something is wrong, when we are in our mind and in our ego. A way to get motivated is to put yourself is a good mood. You can do this simply by shifting your thoughts, however, sometimes this can be difficult so you can do something you love to do, a hobby of yours, or even speaking to someone you love. When you are in a bad mood, you will procrastinate and nothing will ever get done, however, do whatever you can to turn your bad mood into a good one.
  8. When you wake up in the morning, flash a smile to yourself or in the mirror. It is often showed that smiling can increase your mood and also takes less muscles than a frown!
  9. Ask yourself questions and allow the honest answers to come up. Don't resist an answer you don't want to here from your heart. A major way you can stay motivated and get motivated is by solving a question that has been stressing you out. It is important to know yourself and be completely honest and this will allow you to stay motivated daily!
  10. Confidence: It is important to build up confidence if you want to stay motivated. You need to know that whatever you want in life, you can have it. And you need to be confident when others may try to put you down or step on your dreams. Do not take this personal, it is letting you know you are on the right track and lets their insecurities shine through. BE THE DIFFERENCE, NOT THE SAME as everyone else telling you, you can't do anything. Build up your confidence through your momentum.
  11. It is important to make mistakes. When you make a mistake, don't fall in a rut, use it as a sign to get back up again. When you fail, it is a good thing and will teach you a lesson. Don't allow this to break your motivation. Whenever something falls through, just let it pass and pick back up.

Evolution of a Dream

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Dream is implanted in brain

Dreamer becomes thrilled

Dreamer becomes terrified

If no action is taken, terrifying thoughts grow into flesh-eating monsters

Dream is considered unrealistic

If action is taken, terrifying thoughts are revealed to be paper tigers. Confidence soars, miracles unfold, and a dreamer begins to saunter.

Either way, nothing remains the same.

Ps. The difference taking action that will make in your life is more than can be comprehended. But of course, this is also true of inaction.

(Page 163 Leveraging The Universe by Mike Dooley)

We get an idea. We have a passion. We feel the moment, we feel the excitement. Then we are placed with fear, with doubts and with resistance. We let it go. Our fear takes over and allow our passion to fade away. We need to learn and we need to condition ourselves to believe we are able to have it all. We are able to achieve our dreams. But we are stuck in today’s society, in today’s living that our dreams are unrealistic. Absolutely nothing is unrealistic, if you can think it, if you can imagine it, it is possible, no matter what. Find what you love to do, find what makes you smile and go with it. You need to run with it, you need to dream about it and you need to envision it every single day. If you believe it won’t happen for you, it won’t and your mind will get cluttered, you will get stuck and you will be unhappy.

When you don’t follow your dreams and your passions, your thoughts will bring the worst out in you. When you do follow your dreams, every moment and every breathe is filled with ease, joy, knowing and liberation. You can finally be relieved of the stresses of life because you are constantly controlling your life to live out your passions. When one goes through life doing what they love, they will be happy and they will gravitate happy people around them and make a large difference in the world. When passion is lost, your mind is scattered, your circumstances are negative and you are lost, scared and hopeless. 

We live a life in which we need to follow our happiness. Every day is a precious new day that has the ability to be changed, molded and shaped with your ideas. Financial security will rise up from following your dreams. It is a journey and you follow through with it, your life will unfold. When money is of most importance for you, you are not living at all. Money is essential for some necessities, yes, but you will gain it once you do not fixate on your financial struggles and you find a way to follow your dreams and figure out your financial situations. When you are in the moment, you will get opportunities greater than you imagine and you can receive a miracle to save your whole financial issues. Therefore, in the moment, there is no financial issues. Therefore, you do not have any reason to not follow your dreams. When you are here and now, and happy in the moment, you will notice that the solutions to your problems will come. You will get answers. However, if you are constantly fixated and upset in every moment, the solutions will just be pushed back against you and no solutions will arise.  

We have over 84 million choices in each second, which do you choose? What do you choose to do with your moments? Sit in misery or achieve all your life is waiting for? 

xoxo, A Life With Peace

Vision Boards

Vision boards allow you to expand your mind and manifest your present and your future. There is so much evidence supporting the effectiveness and strong influence vision boards have on your reality. A vision board is a page/notebook/poster/wall/box of your goals and desired manifestations, including what you like to do at the current moment.

For example, maybe you like to sing and hope to one day sing in front of large audiences. Creating a vision board with your favorite singers, you singing, concerts you have been to, tickets etc. and place it somewhere you can see it everyday. This will be of great influence on your mind and it will ultimately begin to show up in your life.  

Your mind relies heavily on your imagination and does not know the difference between what is happening and what is in your imagination. So, if your mind believes it is already happening and you visualize it enough so that you can believe it too, the world begins to show you signs of it in your life.

Cut magazine pictures, drawings and photos of something you enjoy doing right now and you will begin to see it  manifesting  for you. It is proven that by creating a vision board and leaving it visible for your eye to see everyday, you are engaging the Universe and your mind into believing your goals are already there and easy to attain. This allows a real tangible result and will lead to you accomplishing your dreams!

By creating a vision board, you can tap into your mind and your goals.

Create a sequence of events that you want to see in your future  as well as your current hobbies, or events. A vision board is a mix of images you pick from magazines, personal pictures or your own handwritten material. The ideas are endless! It is important that you take time each day to look at your board and imagine and visualize the feeling you would have when doing this thing you love. More importantly, DO NOT introduce doubt in any way. Believing your dreams are possible is the only way you can make things happen!

This link discusses the reasons why Vision Boards work and take you step by step on how to make one.

This link by Christine Kane shows you exactly how to make specific vision boards.

And here are some examples! Click on the picture for the original source and their explanation/how to for vision boards! Very helpful!