Food Fotography Fun

by Laura Sabatini

Nothing is harder than having to photograph desserts… without eating them. Of course, leave it to me to eat mine too soon. I probably should have messed around with a few more set-ups before inhaling my French maccarons, but the opportunity to re-shoot was swallowed whole, to say the least.

Food photography is enjoyable but it certainly requires a lot of technique. The photographer’s main goal is to make the food arrangement appear mouth-watering; he/she needs to produce a photo colourful and enticing enough to jump off the page on which it will eventually be printed. So easily can a shot of food appear flat, and we don’t want flat.

Not to say i’m a pro at this (because i’m certainly no pro), but there are several things I have come to learn after shooting dessert in the studio, as well as from a few other, food-related projects. There are so many things to consider when trying to capture the perfect shot. I’ll briefly outline for you the ones I feel are most important:

  • Texture: The food’s texture is engaging, it’s what everyone wants to see. If you’re shooting a burger, I want to see the greasy goodness dripping off that patty of beef, so don’t be afraid to get in there. (See photo below for a good use of texture.)


  • Colour and Theme: While a dull shot should be avoided at all costs, use of colour must be done properly. Perhaps choose a colour theme, have the colours be complimentary to each other. And it doesn’t just stop at the food! The set-up must also compliment the food. For example, if you’re shooting a rustic fall dish with potatoes and lamb, use wood and natural colours in the place setting. The table setting will now appear relevant to the dish, which brings me to the next bullet.
  • Context: Give your plate a good context or, as our instructor put it, have it tell a story. Who is about to devour the dish? Who made it? Remember, it’s your job as the photographer to illustrate the passion that went into cooking it. In this example (see photo below), my friend Rachel used a series of props to ensure her New Year’s Eve theme was clear.


  • Temperature: Though this isn’t possible for all foods, revealing a food’s temperature offers a three-dimensional appeal. Is the soup you’re shooting piping hot? Capture the steam. Is a freezing drink starting to melt? Capture the condensation running down the glass. I want to feel as though i’m in the picture.
  • Placement: Having your plate sit smack down in the centre of the frame isn’t essential. Have fun with your shot. Make your shot half placemat and half dish, it might look really cool. Get the fork dirty, maybe the dish is in the process of being eaten. Shoot from above, from the side, from the corner, it’s up to you. The more creative you get, the more depth your shot is likely to have.

If you plan on photographing food, keep these helpful pointers in mind. A blog post by Serious Eats does a really great job offering other advice on the subject. You can give it a read here.

Thanks for the visit!

…And don’t make the same mistake I did. Wait until you’re sure to have taken the perfect shot before eating your subject.