Food photography tips

Small tricks for better food photos

In food photography we use lots of tricks to make our life easier and also amazing photos. As a food blogger you need to show your food as good as you can. Sometimes all falls apart: the dressing doesn’t stay long on the salad, pasta is sticking together, the dessert looks like you just throw it on the plate, etc.

Our traditional Romanian “Ciorba de perisoare” (Sour soup with meatballs) was difficult for me to shoot until I found a trick to keep my meatballs on top. I used the lids from cough syrup. They are made from plastic and you can find them in different shapes. So keep them for your future projects.

sour soup with meatballs

As you can see in the final shots you can’t even tell I have them in the soup.

Another trick is to pick the fresh vegetables you can find. They look better on the camera.

Take the photos of the meats and vegetables before being fully cooked. They will look plump and juice. Remove them from the stove a bit early, take your photos and then finish cooking them.

To make the vegetables look fresh in a salad brush them with olive oil or mist with water.

To keep everything together you can use a toothpick. You can hide it in the back of the food.

For looping noodles or rearranging small crumbs you can use tweezers. Keep one in the kitchen just for this.

With a little patience and experience you will develop skills to make your food photography look good.

There are also tricks for food photography, but you can’t eat the food after. At the big shootings there is a golden rule. Don’t eat the food you shoot, because you don’t know what it is.

They use motor oil for syrup, glycerin to look fresh, cotton balls for illusion of steaming-hot foods, spray deodorant for frosty look, white glue instead of milk, shaving cream for cream, mashed potatoes with powdered sugar for ice cream and fake champagne made of water, soy sauce and Alka Seltzer for the bubbles.

163 thoughts on “Small tricks for better food photos”

  1. Great ideas! Some dishes are really difficult to shoot, such as stews, some soups or lasagne. I always appreciate advise how to make those dishes as pretty as possible 🙂 also, the amount of fake tricks really is shocking, will look at foodie magazines from a different angle now 😉

  2. Some really helpful tips here. Personally I can’t bear to waste good food so I like to eat what I’ve cooked for a photo. Sometimes I even take Glyn’s meal off him to photograph it before he can eat it (he is very patient) and will have to re-heat it but I feel better doing that then throwing it in the bin. Happy cooking!

  3. I tried to post something and it did not appear. Here is a second attempt. These links lead to information about people that I have encountered that usually make food very appealing.,, (google+ #bread) (How I EDIT and FILM my videos | Mon Amie)

    I took pictures for an online store. I had problems with lighting. The key words from my experience for taking pictures of food are: display, prop styling, modern art. If you are interested in the publishing industry search for: media bistro at YouTube and at a search engine.

  4. Your photos ARE always AMAZING!!!! Thanks for the tips. The one I might actually employ is the “Take the photos of the meats and vegetables before being fully cooked. . . Remove them from the stove a bit early, take your photos and then finish cooking them.” Because I am NOT a food blogger I don’t always think that I am going to post about what I am cooking so half the time I don’t even think to take a picture until I am done. And when I am cooking I am cooking because I am hungry so I don’t want to futz around with my food taking pictures. I want to eat it! 🙂 If I remember . . . I will use the “before fully cooked” trick because I like hot food and taking pictures of it just allows it to get cold. Thank you!

  5. Thanks for the tips, I’m really trying to learn how to take good photos of food. It would be awesome if you had a look at some recipes on my site and sent some feedback on how I could improve them. It’s so difficult and I’m brand new to it haha 😊
    It was also really interesting about the reality of progressional food photography

  6. Thanks for the tips. Your earlier tip of shooting in natural light helped me a lot. Now I try to cook during the day as far as possible so that I can take pics in natural light.
    Was shocked to know the tricks used by glossy magazines for those wonderful pictures. And I used to drool over the food they were showing, which actually may not even be edible 😠

  7. Where has this been for all the time?! Great tips for starting, especially the one with the cough syrup lid! Thank you for sharing!

  8. Thank you. Some of the photos I took last night made the pot roast I was writing about look so bad that I refused to post them on my blog. The next time I photograph food, I’ll know what to do.

  9. Great tips Gabi, thank you so much. I figured those fancy magazine did some gyrations to make the food look better but I had no idea these use all that non edible stuff, yuck! – Kat

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