What I’ve Learned About Food Photography

I’m the first person to admit that I am not an expert in food photography, but I’d like to think that over the past year I’ve learned a few tips and tricks which have made my food photos a lot better than they used to be.

LiterEATure Series: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe Rose and Pistachio Turkish Delight
When the fantastic team at Joe Blogs, along with Currys invited me along to a photography workshop at the Nikon School I was really excited. I own a Nikon DS3300, and wanted to learn a couple of tips from the experts!

Pulled Pork Nachos, Barrelhouse BBQ, Jack Daniels Tour, Lynchburg, Tennessee As all their events are, the evening was a great way to catch up with friends, discover a few tricks and, of course, take hundreds of photos of food.

Jack Daniels Ice Cream, Jack Daniels Tour, Lynchburg, TennesseeCurry's Food Photography
I won’t go in depth about how to use a DSLR, or about aperture/ISO, but I do want to share five things I’ve learned about food photography so far – and one that I learned from the workshop! So without further ado….

Curry's Food PhotographyCurry's Food Photography: Erin from Islandbell
1) Keep it natural

In my experience, nothing beats natural lighting – or at least, nothing affordable. If you can, take your food photos during the day.

Curry's Food Photography: Figs
2) Invest in the best

For the best photos, you need the right tools. There’s very little point in spending time setting up, and dishing up something beautifully if you are going to take it on your camera phone. While there are some amazing phone cameras out there, for amazing and high quality photos you just have to invest in a good camera, and some lenses. When I’m not using my Nikon, I usually carry around my Sony RX1oo II in my handbag, and I swear by it – it’s amazing in low lighting and takes beautiful shots. The quality of the shots has dramatically changed. At the Nikon workshop I was struggling to get the look I wanted until I borrowed one of their 60mm macro lenses – and I fell in love. I’ve added it to my Amazon wishlist – fingers crossed for Christmas!

Curry's Food Photography: Fruit CakeCurry's Food Photography: Fruit CakeCurry's Food Photography: Kiwi
3) Know when to close the deal – and when to back away

For certain dishes, you should go in for the closeup. I’ve generally found anything with cheese on it (like nachos) you should go in close. This rule doesn’t apply to things like meat, or fish – anything with bone in it, really. Something about seeing those things in detail are quite unappealing, generally.

Curry's Food Photography: Fruit Cake
4) Post-production

I used to whack my photos up, completely untouched by editing software. Talk about amateur hour. A few seconds spent adjusting colours, brightness, exposure and contrast makes a world of difference – taking a photo from a 5 to a solid 10.

5) Take as many shots as you can

Almost every single time I take photos, I always end up using the ones I take as an afterthought. I find I take a few, think I’ve nailed it, but the difference from taking a look on your camera screen to your laptop is huge! Take another version of a photo than you think is necessary – it might just be the best. Of course, people might slowly stop inviting you to dinner as a result, but who needs people like that in their lives anyway. I’ve definitely done you a favour.

My favourite tip from the Nikon workshop was about adjusting the white balance on the camera. HOW did I not know about this before? By manually adjusting the white balance on your camera when you’re in a dark place, the camera will then readjust all the colours around it based on your latest reading.

Like this photo below – the first, being very blue, to the second shot. All I did was adjust the white balance – and it’s made such a difference!

Curry's Food Photography: PeppersCurry's Food Photography: Peppers
My photos of these berries went from looking odd, and distinctly yellow, to this. Amazing!

Curry's Food PhotographyCurry's Food Photography: Berries
A massive thank you to the Joe Blogs team for having me – it was such an informative evening! I was invited to attend the event, but all opinions are my own.

What are some of your favourite food photography tips? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook or Instagram!

  • It is so true photos look so different on your camera than they do on the big screen. Your photography is gorgeous and this guide is very helpful as I am looking to get into restaurant reviews.

  • Absolutely amazing post! Love the photos!I need to do course like that myself!

    • Thank you! It was so useful – the white balance tip has totally changed how I approach photos now – its amazing! xxxx