Tips for Great Food Photos

There are three basic angles when shooting food: Top Down, Three Quarter, and Table/Plate level, at least this is what I call them. Of course regardless of which angle you choose, lighting is key, and don't forget about the background. Cluttered or noisy backgrounds can ruin an otherwise great photo. Below are a few things to remember next time you're photographing food. The images below were shot with a variety of cameras to include my Fuji x100, x100s, X-Pro1, and my iPhone 6 Plus.

1. Lighting - Always try to sit next to a window. Indirect, soft, natural light will make your food photos look better. I also keep a small pocket reflector in my bag to bounce a little fill light back into the shadow side of the photo. If you can't get a window seat, remember to change the white balance setting in your camera app to adjust for nasty color shifts you will sometimes get from indoor lighting. Note: Many newer cameras have gotten much better at automatically fixing white balance issues for you, so you may not need to change the settings. Just remember that food generally doesn't look very tasty in cold lighting (blue/green color cast). You can also adjust for white balance/color cast afterwards when editing.

2. Background - Choose a complimentary background that's not too busy so it doesn't compete with the food. Wood tables, complimentary colors or background scenes look good with most food.

3. Angles - Choose from one of the three basic angles: Top Down, Three Quarter, or Table/Plate level.  Sometimes it's a good idea to try all three and choose the one you like most. Some foods look best at one angle moreso than another.  Food that is stacked, such as hamburgers or pancakes, look great shot at eye level (assuming you have a good background at that angle). If not, use three quarter with the table background.

Top Down

Arashi Ramen shot for a feature on ramen in Okinawa Living Magazine. iPhone 6 Plus, ISO 32, f/2.2, 1/80 sec.

Shot for Okinawa Living Magazine. Fuji x100s, ISO 5000, f/5.6, 1/60 sec. Edited in Lightroom. 

Tamie's Vegan in Chatan shot for Okinawa Living Magazine. Fuji x100s, TCL-x100, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/110 sec. Edited in Lightroom.

Three Quarter

iPhone 6 Plus, ISO 100, f/2.2, 1/15 sec. Edited with Filterstorm and Lightroom Mobile.

iPhone 6 Plus, ISO 100, f/2.2, 1/15 sec. Edited with Filterstorm and Lightroom Mobile.

iPhone 6 Plus, Edited in Filterstorm on my iPad. 

Table/Plate Level

Cheeseburger from Hard Rock Cafe in Tokyo. iPhone 6 Plus, ISO 40, f/2.2, 1/30 sec.

Fuji x100, ISO 800, f/4, 1/160 sec. Edited in Lightroom.

Fuji X-Pro1, 60mm f/2.4, ISO 400, f/5, 1/140 sec. Edited in Lightroom.

Fuji X-Pro1, 60mm f/2.4, ISO 800, f/2.8, 1/1100 sec. Edited in Lightroom.

Jack Hollingsworth, a commercial photographer from Austin, Texas, uses these techniques and more in this short video on how to take better food photos using your iPhone. Enjoy.

Thanks for visiting today. Be sure to like, comment and share if you enjoyed this post. TA:)