23 tips for beautiful food photography

Now. You might have noticed (and politely not commented): I’m am THE crappiest food photographer going around.

Cooking? I’m in my element. Dreaming up flavour combinations? Few can rival my boundless creativity (hyperbole alert). But I just seem to descend into an impatient numbskullness when it comes to capturing it in a pretty pic.

EDOC4006 23 tips for beautiful food photography
photo by Aran Goyoaga, Cannelle et Vanille


I’ve been meaning to ask a few friends of this site for a while to share their tricks. They most gracefully agreed to share theirs here with us all. And all of them are indeed graceful…their pictures speak more than my words can…

Aran Goyoaga, food stylist, writer + photographer

Her blog: Cannelle et Vanille, a basque-inspired mix of food, life, and photography.

Her story: a gorgeous Basque ex-pat living in the US since 1998. We connected online and share auto-immune love (Aran also has thyroid issues)…there’s a little community of us who’ve connected in this way and we plan to unite on a project one day, don’t we Aran!? Aran runs food styling workshops around the country and her first cookbook will be published later this year.

1. Lighting is everything. Shoot in natural light when possible. Find a bright space, but try to avoid direct sunlight as it casts harsh shadows on subject. If sun is right on top, diffuse the light with a diffuser, a sheer curtain or even a sheet of parchment paper taped to the window. Manipulate light using white or black foam board. White will reflect even more light into the subject and black will take away. Play with these elements until you find the bright/darkness balance that speaks to you and the mood you want to evoke.

EDOC9207 23 tips for beautiful food photography
photo by Aran Goyoaga, Cannelle et Vanille

2. Determine what the focus of your image will be. Then think about what depth of field suits this image that you want to create. You will have to think about the lens you want to use. Once I have determined the lens I will use, I examine the light available. I set my aperture and ISO according to the light. The aperture I select will also affect the depth of field so I take that into account. I always shoot in manual mode so I control all the settings and I shoot RAW.

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