Food Photography Tips from an Instagram-oholic

By Jenna Benty


I’m that person. The one who makes everyone at the table wait to eat until after I can take a picture of their food. The one who endlessly gawks at other food photographers’ Instagram accounts. I’m a food photoholic.

As Crier’s newest hire, I’m happy to report I’ve found a group that is as obsessed with food as I am. Not only do they welcome food photography, they hand me the camera. It’s a match made in foodie heaven!

As I embark on a food adventure with Crier, I’ll share with you some of the best tips and tricks I’ve found for spicing up your foodie photos.

1. Natural Lighting is the way to go. Don’t worry about buying that fancy light your favorite food blogger uses – your best source of light is also the cheapest. Find that beautifully lit spot hidden in your home, and set up shop there (it’s not necessarily in the kitchen!).


2. Beautiful ingredients not only make delicious food, but stunning photos. Have you found that perfectly red tomato, or blemish-free peach that is almost too beautiful to eat? Take a picture first! I’ve always found that organic is the way to go, as the colors are so bright and natural.


3. Use props that make sense. Just because they look pretty doesn’t mean they belong together! That beautiful stainless steel pasta machine doesn’t make sense next to a big bowl of strawberry ice cream. Keep your props simple – use the raw ingredients of whatever you are cooking. Making lentil soup? Pose lentils around your main dish.


4. Try many different angles. The good thing about food? It doesn’t have a bad side. Feel free to give your photos the 360 degree treatment. If you have access to a camera that allows shallow depth of field, try some angled shots. One of my favorite shots is a birds-eye view from above the completed meal.


5. Get Wet. Keep your foods looking fresh with by spritzing with water. Food can lose its sheen when sitting out too long, and a small spritz of water from a spray bottle.

6. Give your food a theme. And I’m not talking about a costume party (unless that’s what you’re into). Food has an amazing ability to create feeling within the photo. A colorful salad that is brightly lit with vibrant utensils evokes a sense of cheerfulness and springtime.  A large bowl of mashed potatoes and gravy warmly lit on a dark wood table evokes a feeling of comfort and coziness.


7. Find fun plates/bowls/napkins. One of my favorite hobbies is scouring antique shops for fun dinnerware to use in my shots. You can often find beautiful old pewter plates and old school acrylic flatware in vintage stores that look fantastic in photos!


8. Bring friends into the situation. Meals with friends and family are often intimate occasions and brief moments of solitude in our ever busy lives – a comfort that can be translated into pictures very well. Ask your friends to join you on your photo adventure as dinner party guests. Tip: It might be easier to take pictures of friends after serving them a delicious meal.


Have fun shooting your next culinary adventure – and don’t forget to eat!

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