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How to Take Pictures of Food: The Top Tips to Know

The era of food photography is upon us thanks to social media. Most people cannot scroll through their Facebook or Instagram without seeing at least one food photo posted by a friend.

That doesn’t even include all the food blogs that you can find online. A good portion of those more than 500 million blogs that exist happen to focus on food.

So what makes certain food photos stand out versus others? Learn how to take pictures of food that will impress your social media followers with the 5 tips below.

1. Plate Your Food

Take the time to plate your food interestingly or elegantly. A study conducted by Montclair State University’s Department of Psychology found that well-plated food made participants rate the taste and care in preparation higher than dishes with no plating.

Pick the right surface on which to display your food like a classic white dinner plate or a wooden cutting board. Start in the middle and move to the outside to create a sense of symmetry.

Don’t be afraid to play around with different platings so you figure out what looks best.

2. Choose Soft, Natural Light Over Artificial

Always choose natural life over artificial light when photographing food. Artificial light gives both the plate and the dish an unappetizing yellow or orange hue.

Aim for soft, diffused light to prevent harsh shadows that mess with the look of your food.

3. Consider the Angle

Think about what part of the dish you want to emphasize or draw attention to.

For example, if you’re photographing a burger, consider cutting it into two pieces and taking a photo that shows the cross-section. It reveals the tenderness and juiciness of the beef as well as the lovely layers.

This will not work with a salad or cheese board, however. Those shots work best when taken from overhead.

4. Try Selective Focus and Changing the Depth of Field

You can also emphasize different parts of a dish by using selective focus and changing the depth of field. Depth of field refers to the distance between the object and the camera and how your lens focuses on the food.

Try focusing on the dish while blurring the background or focusing on one aspect of the dish while keeping the rest blurred. You can also use close-up shots to emphasize the texture of a dish, like when photographing a saucy pasta.

5. Make It Warmer with White Balance

Finally, adjust the white parts of your photo by changing the white balance. This makes your image appear more “cool” or “warm”.

Always adjust the white balance so your food photos appear “warm” rather than cool. It increases the attractiveness of the food to make it more appetizing.

Use these tips to create a photo collage to exhibit your cooking skills or the dishes in your restaurant. Check out these photo collage templates for some great ideas on what you can do. 

How to Take Pictures of Food at Culinary Festivals Around California

Although there are many more tips on how to take pictures of food, these 5 important ones will get you started. Great food photography makes the viewer feel as if they’re there with you experiencing the location and the dish.

Do you dream of traveling to different food festivals, photographing your culinary adventures?

Check out the rest of our blog! You’ll find lists of the best food festivals in and around California along with tips on culinary travel and cooking.