Food Photography And Styling


Food photography and styling is a serious passion of mine. The love is real! It took me years to really get the hang of it and perfect my own style. Here are my top tips I’ve learned over the years that have really helped improve my food styling and photography. I hope you enjoy them!

1. Gather Styling Items

This doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor. I always look for unique tableware at none big box thrift shops where you can usually pick up pieces for around $0.50 each. They usually have some unique and vintage cutlery for a great price. Antique silverware photographs so nicely. If you are shopping new, check out the sale section of places like West Elm and Anthropologie. You will be surprised at the deals you can find. Antique linens from thrift shops also look great in styled images. Although Ikea is usually mostly basics, I’ve found great styling pieces there as well for an affordable price. I like to put all my styling props on display, so I can see what resources I have available.

2. Abundance Is your friend

Even if your bowl isn’t full to the top with fruit, fake it by putting paper towel under the fruit. The fuller a table spread looks, the more appetizing and impressive it looks in photos. If you have less food available for the shot, use a smaller plate, bowl or tray to make it appear like more.

3. Dress Up your food

Right before taking your shots, drizzle your food with something. If it’s a salad, add the dressing right at the last minute. If it’s a waffle, pour a bunch of syrup on top. If I’m photographing a beverage, I sometimes put water on the outside of the glass so it looks like condensation. You can also put the glasses in the fridge for a few minutes before shooting to achieve a similar effect.

4. Use depth of field to provide variety in your images

If you don’t have a fancy camera, you can do this on most newer smart phones. Take some images as flat lays, some as close ups and some as angled shots. I focus my camera on one object and use the manual settings to blur the background. On some phones, if you focus on an object it will do this automatically for you. Variety in your images will add visual interest and prevent your images from looking repetitive. If you have the time or budget, go take a beginner photography workshop at your local camera store. I learned more at a local workshop then I did in my university photography course!

5. Use natural light

This is tricky because you may not always have natural light available. It’s really a must though! Plan your shoots around when the sun is still out. Set up your shooting area under a window. If the light seems too harsh, close your drapes/blinds to defuse the light. This will make the light less harsh and give you soft, pretty lighting.

6.Have options for your backdrops

This trick is a little out of the box, but honestly, it’s what everyone does. You need options for your backdrops. My recommendation is to go to the hardware store and buy a few single tiles with various looks to them. I prefer the look of marble. You can also get a few samples of wood flooring to use as a backdrop. Use large sheets of craft paper from the dollar store to create simple colored backdrops. This seems silly but it’s a lot cheaper than a new kitchen with granite counter-tops and perfect lighting.

I hope that you found these tips helpful! Feel free to tag me in any of your food styling posts, I love seeing what you all come up with!

Food Graciously Prepared By: The Sweet & Simple Kitchen