Food Photography Ideas

Food Photography Ideas

Look though these 30 creative food photography ideas that you can follow taking photos both with your iPhone and DSLR.

jfood photography ideas

Keep in mind the basic food photography tips and you’ll get awesome photos. Fresh ingredients, unusual composition, creative food styling, clean props/working space, and professional light are all you need to receive mouthwatering food pictures.

30 Food Photography Ideas

Why is this photography style so popular? Actually, the number of blogs and websites dedicated to this topic is being rapidly growing, so shooters feel the necessity of inventing creative photography ideas to become recognizable. Besides, it is a simple way to become a part of the micro-stock market as you can take cool images without hiring a model.

1. Flatlay

flatlay food photoidea Buy Tripod on Amazon

If you are interested in creative food photography, why not shooting from above? Though such images don’t get enough depth, they look pop and interesting as viewers try imaging a certain story happening in the frame.

For such kind of shooting, you need a tripod. Since angles greatly affect the final result, flexible or table top tripods come to rescue. They are very durable and flexible, giving you absolute freedom at the photo session.

2. Add a Human Element

food photography tricks

Personally, I like to keep my fingers or arm visible in the frame to slightly humanize the photo. Though being a simple food photography idea, it greatly encourages viewers to taste the dish.

3. Conceptual Food Photography

shooting food photography

The best approach to use if you are interested in conceptual food images is to stick to minimalism. Don’t include elaborate dishes into the frame, but opt for simple ingredients.

4. Make Geometry

food photography composition

Cutting your vegetables and fruit, you can compose them in different ways to create beautiful figures. There are many fruit photography ideas on the net, so examine them attentively and choose something for the photo session.

5. Make It Splash

professional food photography tips

When it comes to capturing splashes, a proper food photography lens and lighting play a big role. You need to use a fast shutter speed to get a “juicy” photo.

Besides, mind the safety of your equipment, so keep a towel at hand to dry/clean it if needed.

6. Make Little Mess

food photography basics

The point is to make your dish look naturally, but a little bit messy in the photo. For example, you may cut a muffin and some crumbs will fall on a plate or even a tabletop.

Don’t touch them but photograph the dish this way.

7. Colors in Motion

photographing comfort food

If you want to bring some action and colors to your food photography portfolio, you will need smarties. They are small, multi-colored and very easy to arrange. You can place them to form certain patterns or simple scatter around to decorate the background.

8. Make It Funny

food photography props

Strictly following set rules, you will never create something catchy. People are interested in a new presenting of common things, so check funny food photos on the net to get inspired.

Visit several kitchen stores, look around and try to find something interesting or even weird to give your shots a “WOW” effect. It works especially great with baby food and products.

9. Slice It Up

food photography ideas pinterest

One of the most frequent food photography Pinterest ideas is to show a product, not as a whole but being divided into slices. You have probably seen a destructured hamburger with all the ingredients lying separately.

If you want to try this method, remember to prepare a special support that can be easily removed while editing pictures.

10. Show the Cooking Process

food photo creative idea

Dynamic food pictures are more eye-catching. If you do not have a tripod, place your hand on a stable surface to maximize the clarity of the photo.

11. Food on the Tray

shooting food on a tray Buy Food Photography Background on Amazon

Various props will help you tell a story about your dish, how it has been cooked and where it originated from. Place a couple of objects in the foreground and background to give your photos depth and visual appeal.

12. Make It Fresh

food photography process

If you show the cooked dish in your photos, not the cooking process with all the steps, then I recommend adding certain details to let viewers grasp your idea.

For instance, you can capture a coffee grinder with the rest of coffee beans, orange peel or anything else related to your concept.

13. Optical Illusion

creative food photo

This is the simplest idea on this food photography list, but it is very effective. You need to create some products from other ones.

Still, you must be good at image editing in Photoshop to achieve impressive results.

14. Pile It Up

what is food styling

This is a perfect food photography hack if you photograph sweets. You can pile them up in different ways and a chocolate tower is the most common one.

15. Sketch It Down

food photography ideas at home

Among dozens of creative food photography ideas, this one rightfully deserves your attention. Why not use food to write or draw something? It looks really awesome when the background is purely white or in one color theme.

16. Rotten Beauty

food photography tutorial

It may sound like nonsense, but some food photographers manage to produce really beautiful images of rotten food.

Mind my recommendation concerning freshness of your ingredients given at the beginning of this article, but if you see that rotten food isn’t absolutely spoilt and still has nice colors and texture – photograph it.

The best sample is rotten and dried up fruits.

17. Landscapes, Portraits, Still-Lives from Food

creative food photography idea

You can use macro shooting for individual objects or layers of the future “picture” that will be further edited in Photoshop.

18. Use Cutlery

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A food photo looks almost unnatural if there is no table cutlery around it, such as a fork that is used to grab some food. A spoon or a knife to cut a cake also look good in the frame.

19. Place a Napkin in the Frame

food photography for beginners Buy Napkins on Amazon

If you have ever attended any food photography course, you definitely know that placing a napkin behind the dish, you add some depth to the image, while placing it at an angle, you will get a more appealing shot.

Never leave it at a parallel to your food.

20. Use Paper

food photo tricks

This is one of the easiest, still effective food photography hacks. Paper will add textures to your frame.

Parchment or baking paper will add visual interest and soften the lines of the plates.

21. Add Side Dish

food photography tips and tricks

The food of monochrome color, such as a bowl of pasta, may look completely uninviting.

Add sauces and side dishes to the composition to make a photo more vivid and vibrant (in case of drinks, for example, you can enliven a shot of ice tea by adding a slice of lemon).

22. Follow Commercial Style

beautiful food photography pinterest

If there is a candy or chocolate shop nearby, you can address an owner and offer a photo session to advertise the products.

Such subjects are easy to arrange, they don’t cost too much and great to eat after the shooting.

23. Symmetrical and Graphic Photo

food photography techniques

Your task as a food photographer is to present dishes in the most appealing way. You can use round doughnuts, vegetables of a similar shape to take symmetrical and graphic images.

24. Composing Only Two Items

fruit photography ideas

Have a look at the image above to see how I moved the back grapefruit until I got the arrangement I really liked. Remember that you can change the position of objects, play with shapes and patterns as long as you need.

25. Composition Using Three Items

composition technique

If there are three elements of the composition that you have to locate, I advise placing 2 objects near each other, while keeping the third one at some distance.

It resembles a triangle, which looks natural in food images. You can put one item in the background and place the rest 2 in the foreground, or vice versa.

26. Composition Using Negative Space

negative space for food photos

Using negative space is one of the basic food photography tips for beginners that work in most cases. Use this space to make a focus on a specific part of the image and frame the objects to show how important they are and how they complement each other.

27. Composition by Framing Your Image

how to plate food for photography

A great way to frame a shot is to place your food in the middle and focus on it, while fore- and background are blurred. Use vignetting.

28. Different Height

shooting food idea

Such food images never look boring as they have some dynamics. A viewer unconsciously “reads” information from the picture from left to right and from top to bottom.

Therefore, for a more comfortable perception, it is better to make the top and left side of the photo not so busy, i.e. leave more space and light.

29. Create a Rhythm

food photo repetitions

This is a multiple repetition of the same or similar objects in the frame. Rhythm always makes the photo lively and more interesting.

It works equally great for color and black and white food photography.

30. Odd Numbers

odd number technique

One of the food photography secrets is to include an odd number of objects in the frame, as it looks more interesting and eye-catching. Odd numbers make pictures more balanced and harmonized.

Basic Food Photography Tips

Those, who dream of taking really “tasty” food images, should understand that every photo-session is more than simply photographing something on a plate.

Similar to other genres, you need to follow certain rules to show all the variety of colors, shapes and textures.

Capture Your Overall Vision on Paper

food photo tips

Prepare food photography ideas in advance and sketch everything on paper. Mainly, decide on the story you will tell, mind the props, select the color palette, make notes about suitable food photography lighting and other elements of the composition.

Shoot in Natural Light

food photography lighting tips Buy Candle Food Photo Light on Amazon

The best lighting for food photoshoot is the natural one. When you use artificial light sources, there may appear ugly orange or yellow tints in the pictures.

Use a Neutral Background

food photo background

A hectic background will draw viewers’ attention, which is a bad thing for food photography. Put the main emphasis on the dish by placing it on a neutral background.

Shoot from the Best Angle

food photo from the above

Play with angles to find a perfect one for each dish. The top angle works great in most cases.

Decorate the Scene

decorating food photography

Having your food and the background in harmony, you can achieve even a better result, including several interesting decorations into the frame.

This must be something small and related to this dish, like spices or dry ingredients.

Make Basic Photo Editing

food photo editing food photo editing
 
Order Photo Editing

After you’ve realized all your creative food photography ideas, it’s high time to improve the pictures in any image editor. My favorite softwares are Lightroom and Photoshop.

FREEBIES for Editing Food Photography

No matter how hard you work at the photo session, each image requires further post processing. This stage will be fast and enjoyable if you use professional plug-ins for Lightroom and Photoshop.

Free Food Photoshop Action "Cold Effect"


This is a win-win action for food shots taken in natural lighting. It makes them brighter, alters saturation and contrast.

Use it to keep the meal’s shape and highlight the best features.

Free Photoshop Instagram Action "Vignette"


If you need to hide distracting elements in the background, while keeping the dish in focus – use this universal PS action.

Product Photo Photoshop Action "Whitening"


This is a really helpful tool if you need to brighten a food photo. It alters the lighting while preserving textures and shapes.

Product Photo Lightroom Preset "HDR"


Make the colors deep and clear with the help of this LR preset. It also adds some volume to the food, accentuating even tiny details.

Adobe Lightroom Preset "Magic"


Increase the shadows, add volume to objects and lighten the photo by dint of “Magic” Lightroom preset. The image you get will look truly inviting.


Ann Young

Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a professional blogger, read more