how to photograph food

AAA Photo Session: Food

Here in the Northeast, we have some of the best food in the country. From New York and New Haven-style pizza and Long Island bagels to New England classics like clam chowder and lobster rolls, our culinary landscape is one worth bragging about. Of course, the home-cooked meals and family recipes coming out of our own kitchens are also photo-worthy sources of pride.

Food can be so much fun to take pictures of. It doesn’t move, you can pose it however you like and afterwards you can eat your creation.

Spice up your food photos with these five simple tips on how to photograph food.

Scroll down to see all of the delicious-looking food photos we received from this Photo Session. 

Use Natural Light

Artificial light can create unnatural colors in your food images, so using natural light is best. If it’s warm enough outside, I recommend heading outdoors to set up your shot. Look for a shaded area – filtered or overcast light is best. You want to avoid direct sunlight, it can create harsh shadows. If you’re stuck inside for the shot, arrange your food display by a window that gets a lot of natural light.

how to photograph food - depth
(Photo: Beth Mancuso)

Vary Your Depth Of Field

If you want to focus on just one food item – or one part of a dish – use a shallow depth of field to draw the viewer’s eye in. Choose a large aperture anywhere between f/1.8 – f/2.8. If you’re using your phone to take the image, use portrait mode to achieve this look. Alternately, if you want to show a whole plate of food, use a smaller aperture anywhere between f/5.6-f/11. For my shot of the cookies my aperture was set to f/2.2. Learn more about camera settings with our cheat sheet Certificates

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Bring It to Life With Color!

Color can add wow factor to your photos. Try pairing your foods with complimentary colors. In this image I paired the red of the berries with a teal background to really make the red pop. You can add color to your photos by either introducing another colorful food into the image or by using a colored background. You can find a colored wall in your surroundings or use colored paper.

how to photograph food - process
(Photo: Beth Mancuso)

Show the Process

Food preparation often has many steps involved. Take a few shots of the different steps, and create a collage with the images. I shot this triptych with my phone and made sure to use the same angle, background and lighting for all the shots so they would match.

how to photograph food - human
(Photo: Beth Mancuso)

Tell a Story

Add a human element to your image to show the relationship between food and people. Food has many traditions and emotions tied to it. I love how excited my son was to eat this ice cream cone. I think it shows how we all feel when we get to eat such a treat!

Thank You for Participating!

These member photos look good enough to eat! Take a look at all of the food photo submissions we received from this Your AAA Photo Session in the slideshow and don’t forget to check our social media channels, where we will be featuring some of our favorites. Some photos may also be featured in an upcoming issue of Your AAA magazine.

Check out past AAA Photo Sessions and stay tuned for the next one, coming soon.

Beth Mancuso is a professional landscape and travel photographer.

3 Thoughts on “AAA Photo Session: Food

  1. Brownie, cream cheese, and fresh blueberries make for a perfect summer dessert, garnished with a spearmint leaf from my garden.

  2. The runny yoke from the egg really adds comfort to this Avocado Toast sprinkled with Salt, Black pepper, and Cayenne pepper.

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