Food Photography 101: The Basics


Thinking back to when I launched this site, I knew pretty much nothing about taking pictures of food. I made something, put it on a plate or in a bowl, put it on the counter or table, snapped a picture and ate it. It wasn’t until months later, when I was still blogging and photographing food on a very regular basis that I realized I had quite a bit to learn about how to make the food that I knew tasted fantastic look just as good. Let’s be clear – I am in no way an expert when it comes to food photography and still have countless things to learn, but I have received a number of emails asking about how I go about taking my pictures so I thought I would share that information with all of you.

So, how did I go from pictures like this (posted in March 2007, a month after launching the site):


To this (posted four months ago in July 2009)?


After the jump I will outline the tools and methods I use for taking my pictures, and how they go from food sitting on a table to the pictures you see on the site.

I will reiterate – I am not an expert and there are many resources available both on the web and in book form to give you even more information on specific photography techniques and food styling, which I encourage you to take a look at. I try to read as much as I can and pick up tips from a variety of sources. Now, let’s get started!

Part I: Lights, Camera, Action!

Two of the biggest factors in how pictures turn out is lighting and being familiar with the settings on your camera. I’ll talk about each of them separately.


By far, the absolute best results will come from using natural light, i.e. no camera flash. In order to do this, you’ll need to photograph during daylight hours, which becomes very difficult after the time changes in the fall. It’s virtually impossible to get pictures of dinner before the sun goes down when it gets dark around 5pm. I will touch on a couple of alternatives in a moment. In addition to using natural light, you’ll want to become acquainted with how light enters your house. I always find it best to photograph near a window, but one that does not generate direct sunlight, as that will typically wash out the photos. So typically a north or south facing window will allow generous light through a window without direct glaring sunlight. The color and intensity of the light will also change throughout the day, so on a free day when you have time to play around, try taking pictures of the same object in the same place at different times and see how the light changes affect the pictures.

Now, as to those alternatives for the nights when it’s pitch dark by the time you sit down to dinner. There are really two ways you can work around this. The first is to set aside enough leftovers in order to re-plate the dinner the next day and do your photo shoot then when it is light out. The second option (which I currently do not do) is to purchase some external lighting. I have heard rave reviews about Lowel EGO lights from other food bloggers, and plan on looking into them in the near future.

I will also note that if at all possible, refrain from taking pictures under fluorescent lights, as they almost always cast a yellow hue to pictures that is very difficult to remove, even when using photo editing software. If there is no way around you shooting your food at night and you don’t have any external lights to use, I would suggest replacing fluorescent bulbs with those that mimic natural daylight, if possible.

Your Camera

The more you understand about how your camera works and the different functions it has the more successful you will be with your food photography. Since different cameras can be vastly different I am going to go through some of the basics. First of all, you do not need a super expensive camera. Digital SLRs are all the rage and they sure are nice, but certainly not necessary. I do all of my photography with a great point and shoot camera, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5 (thank you to my Chief Culinary Consultant for a wonderful gift!), which allows for a great number of manual settings. Some of the settings that you will want to familiarize yourself with on your camera:

♦  No Flash. Turn off the automatic flash on your camera, as it tends to either completely wash out a photo or cast a yellow hue to it. By turning the automatic flash off and adjusting the settings I will describe below, you will stand a much better chance at a great looking picture.

♦  White Balance. This setting can turn your pictures many shades of blue or yellow or a perfect white. Most cameras have several preset settings that you can cycle through to see what comes closest to the actual color based on your current lighting situation. My camera has an option to manually set the balance, where you take a sample shot of a pure white object so the camera has a frame of reference. This single feature is pure gold, so familiarize yourself with what your camera has in terms of white balance settings.

♦  Macro Setting. This is identified on most cameras with a flower. You will want to enable this setting when taking close-up pictures of food. It enables the resulting photograph to display much greater detail since it changes the focus on an object that is very close.

♦  Exposure. On my camera you can change this quickly right on the back of the camera, but you should check where yours is located. Basically, the exposure defaults to zero. If you move it down, the camera will allow in less light (I have done this a couple of times when the light coming in the window was exceptionally bright) and if you bump up the exposure it will allow in more light, which is quite helpful on days when it’s raining or overcast and there isn’t a lot of light to be had.

While there are some other settings that can be manually adjusted (such as ISO speed) I typically keep everything else on automatic and spend my time adjusting the white balance and exposure, and of course use my macro setting. More than anything, just become very familiar with your camera. Bust out the manual and play around with all of the settings so you know what they all do and how they affect the outcome of photographs.

Part II: Set the Scene

Now that we’ve covered the basics of lighting and camera settings, it’s time to whip up the dish and get it ready for its close up. Below are a number of variables that you’ll want to think about as you get ready for your photo shoot:

♦  Plates. You will typically want to stay away from very dark or very busy dinnerware, as it tends to take the focus away from the food. I am a big fan of using white plates, bowls, etc. or ones that have a very minimal design so that the beauty of the food really has an opportunity to shine through. I have, of course, used other pieces of dinnerware and as you start taking more pictures you will start to envision what you want the final photo to look like and will mix and match pieces to build that vision.

♦  More Props & Food Styling. This is an area I am still trying to improve upon and am continually looking for new ideas. Styling the food on the plate to maximize the drool factor will take some practice, as will setting the actual scene that you will photograph. Will you include silverware, a glass, a placemat, etc.? One thing that I have found helpful is to browse through the images on sites such as TasteSpotting and foodgawker to see how some of the better pictures have been set up and photographed and try to incorporate some of those ideas into my staging. If you are looking to pick up some different accessories, check out dollar stores and discount retail stores for some steals that you can use to build your prop inventory.

♦  Backgrounds. What you choose to have in the background of your photo may be greatly determined by how neat or messy your table or counter is. If I can get a clean background on my wood table, I will just shoot on that, which provides a nice contrast to white plates. However, if there is a lot of stuff in the background or I’m shooting at an angle that will get random furniture in the background, I will often times use a backdrop. The tool I use most often is a white foam core board (you can purchase these for a couple of bucks at craft stores) that I will prop up behind my plate. This is also a useful tool for reflecting incoming light from a window. You can also browse a craft store for material of different colors, patterns and textures that you can mix and match based on plates you use and the color of the food.

Part III: The After Party

No matter how great of a job you do at setting your white balance, exposure, judging the light and setting up the perfect picture, it won’t be perfect. It won’t look how you dreamed it would look. Don’t fret – that’s what post-processing software is for, and no, it doesn’t need to cost you an arm and a leg. While Adobe Photoshop is the defacto for those with design backgrounds, it’s expensive and you can do great work using free software such as Gimp, Picnik or Picassa.

Edited to add: Reader Amanda of Amanda’s Cookin’ shared in the comments section that she uses Adobe Elements for her photo editing software and that it is less than $100 and has just about everything that Photoshop has. I wanted to pull this up into the post to be sure everyone saw it – if you are pining for Photoshop but it’s out of your budget, you may want to look into this more affordable alternative. Thank you for the suggestion Amanda!

You want to find a balance between bringing out the best in your picture and over processing. In general, I will use a light touch to adjust the color balance, brightness and contrast, and then will add some sharpness to the photo. That’s usually all I do but it can make a big difference. Don’t be afraid to do some cropping as well – done correctly it can really transform a picture. Here are two recent example of before and after:



Part IV: Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse

Basically, take as many pictures as you can using as many different camera settings as you can from as many different angles as possible. The more you shoot and begin to get comfortable with your camera and understand how your lighting is affecting the photos, the better your photos will become. It certainly takes a lot of practice, and even then sometimes the stars just don’t seem to align. For any typical recipe you see on this site, I take anywhere from 15-60 pictures depending on what it is and how I want to display it. Sometimes there will be a couple dozen photos that I like of that bunch, and sometimes I struggle to find two that I can use. It’s a constant learning experience and I have enjoyed learning more about photography along the way.

I have really enjoyed putting together this tutorial and hope that it has been helpful and perhaps taken the mystique away from food photography. If you have any specific questions I would be more than happy to answer them for you to the best of my ability. Happy Baking, Cooking, and Shooting!


125 Responses to “Food Photography 101: The Basics”

  1. Christi on November 11, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    Great advice – your photos are gorgeous!


  2. Pennies On a Platter on November 11, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    Thanks for the tips! Looks like we started blogging around the same time, but you’ve improved your photos much more quickly! 🙂


  3. Alicia on November 12, 2009 at 12:24 am

    Great post full of fantastic ideas – thanks for posting 🙂


  4. Jess on November 12, 2009 at 12:41 am

    Great advice! Thanks for sharing. I love reading tips like this.


  5. Sana on November 12, 2009 at 12:50 am

    Great stuff.. I am sooo bad at capturing food and these tips are really good.. will surely try them..


  6. Elizabeth on November 12, 2009 at 1:26 am

    Wow this was really helpful! I’ve also realized that taking pictures after 5-6pm is really hard… there’s always a shadow! Thanks!


  7. Jenny on November 12, 2009 at 1:28 am

    Michelle, this is an excellent post! I’m saving it to delicious so I can refer to it the next time I go camera shopping!


  8. Little Gray Pixel on November 12, 2009 at 1:51 am

    Great tutorial, lots of solid advice. I think the most important is to take advantage of the best thing about digital photography: if you fail, try and try again. It doesn’t cost a thing!


  9. marina mott on November 12, 2009 at 3:12 am

    Your photos are really great! Thanks for the good advices!


  10. Liz Brooks on November 12, 2009 at 7:24 am

    This is a great resource, thanks so much! My food photography has definitely changed since I started food writing. I still have a lot to learn!


  11. Christy on November 12, 2009 at 7:33 am

    Fantastic post filled with many great tips! Thank you for taking the time to walk us through your process.


  12. Amanda on November 12, 2009 at 7:59 am

    That’s a great post, going to look for a foam core board next time I’m at Michaels. Something I do for props is hit the thrift store about once every two weeks. It’s perfect because many of the dishes, cups and bowls are there because they are stragglers that people no longer want. I also get cloth napkins and placemats there. That has improved my photos quite a bit, just having the different colors to choose from to place under the plate. I also do what you do for dinnertime shots. I plate a portion as I serve dinner, then put it in the fridge. Then I take it out the next day, heat it in the micro a little bit to take off that cold look, heat of any gravy or sauce, add it and shoot. 🙂 The only other thing I wanted to mention is that Photoshop Elements is available for less than $100 and does just about everything that Photoshop does, I love it and it’s a much more affordable alternative!

    Thanks for the great post, I have passed it on to the Food Bloggers Discussion List 🙂


  13. Pame on November 12, 2009 at 8:24 am

    Thank u so much for taking your time doing this tutorial.


  14. bridget {bake at 350} on November 12, 2009 at 8:31 am

    Very, very helpful! I use PhotoScape for my editing and like it. Someday, I’d love photoshop! 🙂 I need to see if I can adjust the white balance on my camera…it’s just a point & shoot.

    Love how you included one of your old pictures. I cringe when I look at my old posts! 🙂 2 years from now, maybe I’ll cringe at my current ones!


  15. shelly (cookies and cups) on November 12, 2009 at 8:33 am

    really great post! It’s amazing the things you can learn when you just get out your camera and start playing around. Thanks for the tips on white balance, that’s one thing that I have not yet mastered!


  16. Christine on November 12, 2009 at 8:35 am

    Great tips and ideas! Thank you! I was feeling totally clueless, this post was really helpful =)


  17. Jenny on November 12, 2009 at 8:40 am

    Thanks for the tips! I just started blogging about a month ago and all my pics are yellowish – I’ll start playing around with my camera now.


  18. Michelle on November 12, 2009 at 8:40 am

    Hi Bridget – Your camera should be able to adjust white balance; mine is a point and shoot as well. I would suggest taking a look at the manual and see what it says.


  19. Stan Hansen - Brown Egg Marketing on November 12, 2009 at 8:48 am

    Great post on some of the basics of food photography. Thanks for pointing me in the direction of Lowel EGO lights. They look amazing.


  20. Christine on November 12, 2009 at 8:52 am

    Thank you so much for this! I also have the panasonic lumix – and I’ve been playing around with the settings to try to learn how to use it better. I want to start my own food blog – but I want to be able to take decent photos first. So I’m going to do exactly what you say! 🙂 Thank you again! Keep up the great work. p.s. I hope I can email you if I have any questions


  21. Divina on November 12, 2009 at 9:28 am

    I always do what you did before on your first paragraph. Although it’s still the same today, I do make a little effort to do take a decent photograph. Thanks for the tips. It is much needed.


  22. Michele on November 12, 2009 at 9:39 am

    Great job! Your pictures are always beautiful. Sometimes by the time dinner is ready I’m rushing to take pictures so we can eat while the food is still hot. I’m not sure if i can adjust the light balance on my camera. I’ll have to look. I posted a link to this in the food bloggers section in the bakespace forums.


  23. Krystle on November 12, 2009 at 9:40 am

    Great advice! Your pictures always turn out beautiful! I am definitely taking your advice on this! Cant wait to test out your suggestions!


  24. Margaret on November 12, 2009 at 9:48 am

    Thanks so much for the tips. After two years of blogging my pics have improved but nowhere near what I want. These will help. You have great pics.


  25. Stephanie on November 12, 2009 at 9:50 am

    All great tips and advice! Thanks for posting!


  26. Cookin' Canuck on November 12, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Excellent information in this post. I have the same point & shoot camera and, while I am still learning to improve my pictures, I have been really happy with it.


  27. katie on November 12, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Great tips! I am slowly learning how to take half decent photos (or what I think are half decent photos!) I’m crossing my fingers that Santa brings me a new camera this year!


  28. TidyMom on November 12, 2009 at 10:17 am

    Great post!! …..glad to see I’m not the only one who shops for random dishes and puts food away to shoot later! LOL My family still rolls their eyes everytime I say “wait! you can’t eat that until I shoot it!” LOL

    I have a Nikon D40, when I try to use the macro setting it always makes the flash pop up!- so I don’t use it.

    I’m hoping to get a prime lens for christmas, hoping that will make for better foodie pics


  29. TidyMom on November 12, 2009 at 10:22 am

    ooooh, I know what I forgot to ask….something I always need help with is garnishing my food – I never know what to garnish with to make my foodie pics look better – any ideas on that? what to have on hand for garnishing?


  30. N on November 12, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Thanks for your tips! I’m glad I’m not the only one trying to take lovely food photos with a point and shoot camera instead of digital SLR and I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who takes 20-30 photos of one meal, playing with settings, and hoping just one photo turns out!


  31. Doreen on November 12, 2009 at 10:46 am

    GREAT tips! I need to pay more attention to these sorts of details when photographing my cakes.


  32. Baking is my Zen on November 12, 2009 at 10:47 am

    This is your best post yet. Thank you for sharing such valuable information!


  33. Jeanne on November 12, 2009 at 10:51 am

    Thank you for all the advice! This gives me hope that I’m not a completely lost cause when it comes to food photography. I have a simple point and shoot camera, so I will definitely try out your tips.


  34. Johanna Inman on November 12, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Hi! This was inspiring. Thank you for sharing! I feel like maybe I’m at the stage you were at in the beginning. Always fretting over my food photos. You have done a wonderful job. Maybe I can make it work like you have. 🙂


  35. Dolce on November 12, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Thank you for all your ideas. I also use a point & shoot and twick the white balance on my pics. For beginners (like me, ahem) in food photography I would consider as a photo editor – it’s free and very user friendly.


  36. Kare on November 12, 2009 at 11:53 am

    This is a great article, thank you! I’m new at food blogging, and that mac and cheese pic up top looks awfully familiar…


  37. Veronika Rojas on November 12, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing how you take your pictures. I am always trying to improve but lighting was always my biggest challenge. Its always dark out by the time I am ready to take a picture. Now I know that I need to save some food and rework it in the morning.

    Thanks again as your tutorial was very helpful!


  38. Stephanie on November 12, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    THANK YOU! I am really trying to improve my photography and I plan to study this tutorial (any my camera) in an effort to really make it better.


  39. Ally on November 12, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    Thank you very much – I just started a food blog and I have been trying to improve my photographs – I really appreciate you taking the time to share your knowledge.


  40. Stephanie on November 12, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    Great tips!!! Thanks for sharing them! Very helpful!


  41. Iris on November 12, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Thanks for the tips! Like you, I’ve improved a lot from my first (pretty bad) shots, but I still have far to go. Hope I’m as good as you someday!


  42. Maria on November 12, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Clearly…I need this. Thanks!!!


  43. Rachel J on November 12, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    Love this post because it confirmed what I am doing right and what I am doing wrong! LOL the tips are so handy too. Thank yoU!!!


  44. Joy on November 12, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing these tips with us, they really are helpful. I use to take horrible pictures before I started reading more food magazines and studying their photographs — when my fiance got me a light box for my photos it really made all the difference in the world. Now I dont have to worry about rushing to shoot during the day. This is such an informative post, Ive saved it on my comp 🙂 Thanks for your help!


  45. Mathea on November 12, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    Great post! I’ve also dealt with lots of these issues… like Amanda, I’ve started picking up props at the thrift store, or using unexpected items for scenes. I’m pretty sure I’m going to build my own lightbox soon based on what I found in this post
    , too, so I don’t have to shoot in daylight anymore!


  46. Lori @ RecipeGirl on November 12, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    Great tips! I shoot w/ a Canon 40D and use Picnik for all of my editing. Have been happy so far, but I have a lot to learn. I know nothing about my Canon 40D and just got a tutorial DVD that Kalyn (kalynskitchen) recommended.


  47. Laura on November 12, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    Never knew about white balance, just found it, made amazing difference (I have a very well lit kitchen)-THANK YOU!!!!


  48. Linda on November 12, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    Thank you! This is so helpful!


  49. Otto Haring on November 12, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    thanks for sharing! 🙂


  50. Otto Haring on November 12, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    Thanks!!!! 🙂 I am already hungry!


  51. Maedi on November 12, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    Very helpful – thanks!


  52. Michelle on November 12, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    TidyMom – As far as garnishes, I tend to try to garnish (to the extent possible) to give an idea of what is in the dish or what will provide great contrast.

    For example, if I make cupcakes that are lemon flavored, you may not know that just from the cake and icing, so I will put a lemon wedge on top. And then regarding contrast – to add some punch of color to something like chocolate cake, I will add raspberries or strawberries. Or if you have vanilla ice cream, berries or a sprig of mint will give a nice color contrast.

    Hope that helps!


  53. Martica on November 12, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    Great info! Thankyou!


  54. Ann on November 12, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    wow so its just a point and shoot camera! i used to own the older version of the panasonic lumix and it’s pretty good! love your photos! i hopped from your oldest site…to your second site and stumbled onto your official site here lols


  55. bakingmomma on November 12, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    I have to say that I have photo envy. I always look at some things I make and then look at their photo and am so disappointed. But you have pointed out some things that I can now check into. My exposure says multi-pattern, center weight, center spot. Which makes no sense to me. lol Of course I am so bad I never read the manual for my camera and it has so many settings that I have no idea what they are for. But I guess if you are saying that I too can have beautiful photos if I read the manual. I guess that is enough motivation for me.

    Thanks for all you do!


  56. Bibiana Bailey on November 12, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    That’s a great post. I have been struggling with my pictures pretty much everyday. I can’t wait to use some tips tomorrow.

    I don’t think I will be near what you are at, but anything would be an improvement from what it is now.


  57. Nastassia Johnson on November 12, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    Great post! Reading through this was so helpful thanks for all the tips!!!


  58. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction on November 12, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    Wow – fantastic post! Thanks for all of the advice and sharing your photography journey with the rest of us!


  59. Jenn on November 12, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    This is a great post — lots of great tips for an amateur wanting to learn more about taking great food photos. Thanks!


  60. The Klutzy Cook on November 12, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    Thanks for some wonderful tips here, especially the white board backdrop. I often have trouble with my background – stuff everywhere, not to mention the mess:) I’ve been really trying to improve my photos and this has been a great help. Thanks again.


  61. Brad on November 12, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    Thanks for all of the great info. I am a novice food photographer and found your article to very helpful.


  62. Diane {} on November 13, 2009 at 12:49 am

    Great advice, thanks


  63. Ann Marie @ Household6Diva on November 13, 2009 at 1:20 am

    I’ve included this in my Friday Favorites post!


  64. Miranda on November 13, 2009 at 7:11 am

    Thank you so much for the tips.


  65. Carrie @ Deliciously Organic on November 13, 2009 at 7:40 am

    Thank you so much for this post! My husband just got me a new camera and I am trying to learn as much as I can about taking good food pics. I’ll definitely be using your advice! 🙂


  66. Belinda @zomppa on November 13, 2009 at 7:44 am

    To add to the list of thank yous, THANK YOU! This is really helpful as I’m still learning my SLRs. I finally now have the option of taking some shots during the day…it was really hard to get any real good ones at night. I LOVE your photos.


  67. TammyJo Eckhart, PhD on November 13, 2009 at 8:16 am

    Thanks for the advice. I know my photos aren’t the greatest but I take several and pick the best one of the group. I’ll have to see if I can turn off the flash for this digital camera, when I’m sure I have, it sometimes still flashes. Sigh.


  68. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite on November 13, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Thanks for this post – lots of great tips and it’s good to know that at least one other person out there does not have a DSLR! I use a Lumix TZ3 and love it. For sure it’s not professional but as I learn more about it, I am slowly improving…


  69. Chris on November 13, 2009 at 10:51 am

    These photos look great.


  70. Nurit - 1 family. friendly. food. on November 13, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Great to have found this post. I have a compile of links to posts with useful food photography links. I’ll add this one to it. Thanks for sharing!


  71. Julia on November 13, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    I’m so excited you posted this b/c on Nov 12 was my b-day, and my husband surprised me an got me my first DSLR. And after reading all of your tips, I feel so much more prepared to use it to it’s full potential. Thank you for the tips!


  72. Lauryn on November 13, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    This is such helpful information!!! Thanks for sharing these tips!


  73. TeenieCakes on November 14, 2009 at 2:18 am

    Excellent post! Thanks for sharing these tips.


  74. cheah on November 14, 2009 at 4:34 am

    Congrats on being Top 9. Great post, very informative, good tips, but need to digest each and every step. Thanks for sharing.


  75. Lauren on November 14, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Mucho commiseration from me on the woes of November! Taking food photos in the winter requires a great deal more planning than in the summer, particularly if you have to (gasp!) work during the day. There’s almost no chance something made mid-week will survive until a weekend photo shoot given our appetites around here!


  76. Laura on November 14, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    From one brown eyed baker to another, you are a photo genius! I had no clue what I was doing when I started a few months ago, and still struggle with how to compose a photo in my teeny tiny kitchen with minimal counterspace and poor lighting. Thank you so much for putting your process down on paper, or online for all of us to learn from 🙂


  77. Sheskis on November 14, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    I’m very novice to food photography and have a pretty crappy old camera as well. Thanks a bunch for the tips!


  78. Joanne on November 14, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    Thanks so much for the terrific information. I hope to be able to put your tips to good use and get a few decent photos. Great post!


  79. Marillyn @ just-making-noise on November 14, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    Excellent post! I’m glad to know that I am right along the same boat with you. I just love seeing how my pictures have improved over the short period of time since I first started my blog. There’s always something more you can learn and improve on. I love photography and never thought I would actually enjoy doing food photography!


  80. Liz Marr, MS, RD on November 14, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    Very practical, step-by-step advice. Thanks for sharing with your fellow bloggers!


  81. Ben on November 15, 2009 at 9:36 am

    Your pictures are fantastic. I have created a lighting rig for my pictures because I only have one window in my apartment and it only gets light in the morning.


  82. Chaya on November 15, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    I have just printed this so I can read it, when I can really concentrate. Thank you for doing this.


  83. Julie @savvyeats on November 16, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    Thank you for this post! I thought I would have to get a fancy camera in order to post such beautiful pictures; glad to hear that I don’t!


  84. Taryn on November 17, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    OH my gosh thank you for this. Just the fact that you pointed out what the H that flower setting was for has changed my life. I have been taking close-up photos of things all day and it has been fantastic…my food photos look EXACTLY like the first one you showed. In fact, they’re so bad, I don’t even take them anymore…


  85. Dhale on November 19, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Thanks SO much for sharing these tips! I just started with food photography two months ago and this is such a useful post. I love it!


  86. Jeannie on November 20, 2009 at 9:39 am

    Great article. I read every single word! Thanks!


  87. Courtney on November 22, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    Thanks, great post! 🙂


  88. potato ricer madness on November 23, 2009 at 10:22 am

    These do look absolutely amazing. Back to the kitchen for me.


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  90. jamie on March 1, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    Thanks so much for taking the time to do this….I just got a new camera for Christmas and have been overwhelmed with it. I noticed the quality of your pictures as soon as I first found your website and wondered instantly what kind of camera you use/how you get the pictures to look so great. I’m definitely going to play with those settings on my camera, even though I may not be shooting food all of the time – the tips were very useful, and hey – maybe food can be a start for me & my camera!


  91. Pallavi on April 27, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    Thanks so much for the tips. I’m focusing on videos, but was getting a bit stressed about the stills. I’m going to give my existing cameras a try based on your advice, rather than spending $$$ on a DSLR (although, I still want one)!


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    Those are some wonderful images, wish mine were that good quality!


  93. berkshire wedding photographer on May 13, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    Brilliant! I’m very envious of those photographs, I wish I could do as well.Those images took a lot of aptitude to produce, well done. I’ve bookmarked this site.


  94. Julie @SavvyEats on July 7, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Thank you for the advice on cheaper photo editing programs. I would LOVE to get Photoshop, but that is not in my budget right now.

    Also, my husband (that still feels weird to say!) teases me because we chose the dishes on our registry based on what would photograph best. 😉


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  96. Terri T on July 22, 2010 at 10:55 am

    Great tips! I have Microsoft’s PictureIt! Platinum (2001), and it is just outstanding as photo editing goes. I had purchased Adobe Photoshop Limited Edition some years back, and discovered that PictureIt! would do all I wanted & needed, and is so much easier to use! Anyone who may have PictureIt! installed, that has never tried to work with it, may find themselves surprised at the capabilities. Mind you, I bought my software – it did NOT come pre-installed on the computer.


  97. Magic of Spice on July 22, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    Great post…I need this:)


  98. foodlvr on August 13, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Some great tips. Thanks. I will play more with my manual setting. I have already started to do that. I also turn off the flash when completely necessary. Most shots came out terrible with it on.


  99. Sarah Commerford on October 3, 2010 at 8:58 am

    Thank you for all this information! I love your blog and was admiring your pictures while drooling over the pumpkin scone recipe. I followed the link to this page and presto! I have a Canon Powershot X10 which has been great, but I really want to up-grade to something with more close up possibilities – until I can afford that, I’ll use all the great ideas you listed. Beautiful site!


  100. Rhonda on November 2, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Thanks for sharing, I really appreciate the tips.


  101. Mija on November 13, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Thank You Ma’am for sharing these tips. I took notes. One of my goals for 2011 is to learn to take better food photos. Right now I’m using busy plates and everything’s yellow because of my fluorescent lights. Again Thank You for this tutorial.


    • Michelle on November 14th, 2010 at 8:58 pm

      You are welcome!


  102. Sandra on December 15, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    This was so helpful and what I’ve been looking for. I will use your tips to improve my pics. The washed out yellow tones are driving me up the wall!!!!!


  103. Jello Diva on February 7, 2011 at 2:31 am

    This tutorial is so helpful, especially the before and after pictures – everyone’s got to start somewhere! I attended a seminar on this topic and something the speaker mentioned was using cloth napkins as an inexpensive and easily changeable background to place underneath plates and dishes. Thanks for all of your tips!


  104. Amy White on February 7, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Love this! GREAT advice on getting the most from your point-and-shoot. I started a year ago knowing absolutely nothing about photography, and I think I’m improving. One other great thing that my little Canon PowerShot A590 does that has made a big difference for me – it has an aperture-priority setting. Low aperture (aka f-stop) settings give you that cool effect where one part of the photo is in focus, and the background is out of focus. The camera will then adjust the shutter speed automatically, which can cause you a little trouble because if it’s too slow the shake from your hands will ruin the photo. I just use a small tripod, and then any shutter speed is fine.


  105. Addicted Baker on March 17, 2011 at 12:10 am

    Thanks for the help! Will definitely implemete these into my blog


  106. Marelize on June 28, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Great post! As a newer blogger, I must admit that this is the part that I hate/dread/ dislike/feel overwhelmbed by the most since I know sooo little. I’ll bookmark this post for sure.


  107. Michelle Felt on July 1, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Thank you for this post! I will be referencing this… a lot. For inspiration on props and food styling go to She is amazing! Cheers!


  108. Abby on July 8, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    I have been reading about food photography on various blogs, in hopes of helping out my own pictures. This is really one of the better articles I’ve read. Thank you for the advice and for not acting as if food can’t be photographed without a grand worth of camera equipment.


  109. Brenda on July 24, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Very helpful! Thank you! 🙂


  110. Elizabeth @ A Dancer In The Kitchen on September 19, 2011 at 10:10 am

    I loved this post! I bookmarked it and plan to try some the tips you mentioned. I just started blogging and I think alot of your tips will help me! I love you blog!


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  113. Casey on December 5, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Soooo helpful! Thank you!!


  114. Cindy on December 8, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    Extremely helpful! Thank you! We just created our blog in September and I am currently using a point and shoot camera. It takes fairly good pictures, but I have been hinting at my “Star” for the Canon Rebel T3i for Christmas. 🙂 Love your suggestion about shooting at night, as now that it is dark by 5pm, and saving a plate for the morning. If Santa is good to me and I get this camera, I will be back on your blog to refresh my memory about exposure, white balance, etc. as I know nothing of this language! Thanks again!


  115. Sumaiyyah on December 17, 2011 at 5:33 am

    Thank you so much, Michelle for this very useful tutorial. I use a cheap, Olympus digital camera and have been struggling with taking acceptable, if not good photos. I don’t think I could ever afford an SLR, or at least not in the near future, so I love this tutorial. I’ve still a lot to learn, but I love your tips especially on using the macro setting and turning off the flash. So thank you! Do make more tutorials, you have a good way of explaining things which I find easy to understand 🙂


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  117. CripyBits&BurntEnds on May 3, 2012 at 12:22 pm


    Thank you very much for sharing this information. I have emailed many food bloggers asking them to share their photographing techniques only to be dismissed. First thing I’m going to do is get a white foam core board, then I am going to set up my table by the window.


  118. Emily on August 16, 2013 at 2:37 am

    Thanks for your tips. I’m a blogger who desperately needs to improve her pics so I’m keen to try out some of your tricks. Thanks


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  122. Dalton Clements on September 16, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    Gorgeous pics. Thanks for sharing everyone!


  123. Dalton Clements on September 16, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    My two favorite things. Food and Photography!


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