Quick Tips to Take Your Food Photos from Dull to Drool-Worthy

As the Nutrition and Hormone Health Coach and Real-Food Recipe Blogger of So Fresh N So Green, a big part of my career revolves around creating nutrient-dense dishes that taste good and make you feel good too.

Through my years in the field, I’ve found empowering others to try recipes that get them excited about optimal eating is an important part of building a sustainable healthy lifestyle, and while taste is a key component, it’s also critical for the recipes to be presented in a visually appealing way—just reference the saying “you eat with your eyes first” and you get the idea.

I learned this the hard way when I started my blog seven ago by posting recipes alongside overly filtered iPhone photos of sloppy dishes plated on dark counters late at night. Fortunately, the recipes were tasty enough that I began to elicit some sort of following, but my content didn’t really catch on until I invested in learning a few food styling and photography best practices, as well as a Nikon Camera, Adobe Photoshop and a 50-millimeter lens.

Since then my influence in the food photography world has flourished, and I’ve had the opportunity to create content for a variety of brands and businesses such as Nutpods and Jujubeet; style commercial shoots for brands like Black Earth Grills; and have recipes featured on variety of TV segments and publications including King 5 News, Mind Body Green and of course Bellevue Lifestyle!

But the most exciting part about all of this is that honing my food styling and photography skills has helped me further my reach and thus the positive impact I hope to have on others lives. So if you’re looking to inspire through your culinary creations, focusing on these easy and efficient tips is a great place to start.

Natural Light is Key – Take photos during the day in a spot that gets the most natural light exposure (typically close to a window). Using a deflector can also help soften sharp shadows.

 

  • Use a good backdrop – Food tends to pop with a bright or white background. Try purchasing a laminate countertop (mine is from Home Depot) or linens to lay dishes on.
  • Pop for props – Investing in some ceramic dishware, funky utensils, rustic cutting boards or interesting glassware adds texture and contrast to shots.
  • The devil is in the details – Something as simple as sprinkling fresh herbs and microgreens, spices or drizzling a sauce on your dish can take it from basic to next-level.
  • Add a human touch – Incorporating your hand into the photos adds a sense of action and realistic feel to your images.
  • Experiment with different poses/angles – I love the flat lay (straight shot from above) but try experimenting with vertical shots to get a variety.
  • Source inspiration from Instagram – I often look at food photos on Instagram and save those with interesting details or techniques to a folder. When preparing for photo shoots, I’ll look through the shots to find other eye-catching elements I can incorporate.