How To, Photography

Food Photography & Blogging

Keeping up with Dina’s Days has given me the motivation to continue to work on my photography skills. I follow several photo blogs,  practice as much as I can, and ask tons of questions.  Food photography was always a challenge for me when I first started blogging. It was so frustrating that I actually didn’t post any recipes for months.  I moved into a place with a lot of natural light even when it’s gloomy outside, and all of a sudden I felt inspired to try again. I don’t claim to be a photographer, because I’m not. I don’t claim that my photos are perfect, because they’re not. I simply like to take pictures like most bloggers do, and feel it’s important that my photos are somewhat appealing for the sake of this blog.  I’m here to share what has worked for me over the years of trial and error with food photography, and would love to hear what works for you too!

Using a professional photo as a starting point: Hello Pinterest and cookbooks. I find a recipe I want to make and then keep that page open when I’m taking the photos for my blog for inspiration. I would never copy it exactly, but will look for ideas on food placement, angles, and props. Real Simple and Martha Stewart cooking photos are some of my favorites.

{This photo was inspired by this one}

Shooting in natural light: Sometimes I get excited and take photos at night and I’m never happy with the results. I finally got into a routine where I take food photos on the weekends when I know I have plenty of time and plenty of daylight.

The power of props: I think the magic behind food photography is making it look realistic, appealing, and like it could be sitting on your dining table.  It could be as simple as a fork, napkin, or even a little dusting of flower on the cutting board. Sometimes I will browse Pinterest photos just for prop ideas.

{the power of props: I used my recipe card, a towel, and miscellaneous lentil beans here}

The shot from up above: I don’t know what the technical term is, but this is my favorite angle. I always use a stool to shoot the food from above. This is a great example.

{shooting by a window and using a stool to get a higher angle}

{one of my favorite angles}


The set up: I’m drawn to photos that use appealing objects to display important aspects of the recipe. For example, I like to place ingredients in pretty bowls and jars instead of photographing a carton of milk in the ingredients shot. Also, I love a white background, so I’ll use a white end table, sheet, scrapbook paper, or even scarf as a backdrop.

{doesn’t the milk look so much prettier in a milk jug rather than using the carton?}
{I used a jar and plate for this ingredients shot, rather than using the jar of olives, box of pasta, and bag of peas. Something I learned from Real Simple magazine food photographers. This photo was taken on a chair}

Taking my time: Food photography takes forever! However, I really enjoy it. It’s almost therapeutic for me. Most of the time (not always) I take the pictures well after I’ve enjoyed the dish so I can arrange everything the way I want to.

{The reason why I take photos after the fact. This is what my cooking area really looks like}
Have any ideas or tips to share? Tell us in the comments section!