How To Photograph Food Beautifully: The Secrets Of Perfect Shots

Each of us has come across appetizing pictures of food many times. Today it is a cult, and we see such photos on food packages, on recipe sites, in magazines, and in cookbooks. Food is everywhere: we encounter it while watching TV commercials, check out the Instagram profile of a favorite blogger, or discovering current stories or a friend’s post. 

The rare person visiting a cafe or restaurant doesn’t have the desire to take a picture of an interesting presentation of a dish. In our material, you will learn about how to take beautiful pictures of food.

Read Skylum’s blog to learn what kind of camera equipment is best for this type of shooting and the advantages of a 35mm vs 50mm lens.

The secrets of food photography

The goal of a food photo shoot is to create a picture that will look appetizing and eye-catching. 

How do you properly take photos of your meals so that they grab the user’s attention from the first seconds? Several secrets make a photo “delicious”:

  • Choose the right dinnerware. Large plates can visually reduce the dish, so it will create the effect that it is tiny. In this case, the photo will immediately become duller. The plate should match the size of the food used.  Don’t forget that contrasting food is better photographed against a background different from the predominant color. For example, white ice cream will look better on dark dishes, and chocolate on light ones.
  • Accessories. Most often the little things are used as extras that add a special gloss to a photo. These can include herbs, spices, napkins, spilled sauce, and various decorations. A sprig of thyme would add elegance, and careless glass beads would be a great addition in some cases because they would bring a bohemian feel.
  • The “tasty” effect. Everything is clear here. The food in the picture should attract you. The person viewing the photo should ideally want to taste what’s in it. Sloppy cooking and unkempt food are not allowed! After all, the main focus is the dish, and the props and utensils are secondary, though not unimportant factors.
  • The mood and concept of the photo. These characteristics are the key to the success of seasonal food photos. Pumpkins are associated with a fall. Hot drinks are best photographed in the atmosphere where they look most organic: hot coffee near a fireplace or by a window with a winter landscape. The same rule applies to light salads and iced drinks, the main association for them is summer. But the concept can be different: in the style of a cafe, the interior of a modern kitchen, or on the beach. You need to think about the background color and surface, so that they complement the picture, but are not irritating or repulsive.
  • The Art of Photography. While taking the picture, remember that there are concepts of color and texture combinations. Don’t be afraid to accentuate the photo with accessories that will match the used color scheme. Bright spices, herbs, or chopped vegetables will successfully complement the overall look, giving freshness to the composition, and the right spatial balance will create the right harmony to all elements of the photo. 
  • Foreshortening and focus. Often a bad angle can ruin an entire photo. You need to choose a different point for each dish or product. You can do this by starting from the lowest position and gradually going upwards until it is right under the lens. For example, dishes that are almost on the same plane as the plate (pizza, portioned salads, or sliced fruit) are better photographed from above, while tiered cakes with decorations, pie cuts, or burgers – from an advantageous angle on the side, revealing them in all their full glory.

How to take photos of food with your smartphone

Many users today use their smartphone as their main gadget and it is often the only photography accessory. So we decided to share with you some tricks on how to take photos of food on your phone in case you do not have professional photo equipment: 

  • The camera of the smartphone should be clean;
  • It is better to use natural light;
  • The used colors should not distract attention from each other;
  • It is better to take photos of the dish from different angles, choosing the most successful shots at the end;
  • It is possible to diversify the composition with accessories;
  • Use available props;
  • Effects will make a dull photo brighter and add color.


Shooting food is an incredibly exciting and “delicious” process. Appetizing photography can even become a tool for making money and promoting. In this case, it is better for you not to limit yourself to the use of a smartphone, but to buy professional equipment. If you don’t know which camera is better to choose and the advantages of using a 35mm vs 50mm lens, read Skylum’s blog, you’ll find answers to all your questions here. We wish you lots of great shots!