10 Top Tips for Food Photography

Food photography is a great way of documenting your pupil’s work. Improve your skills using some top tips listed below. Recording your hard work in a more professional way provides you with evidence too. We think you will be surprised at how an alternative approach can make a big difference. Taking great food photography starts before you prepare your dish. By thinking about texture, colour and shape as part of your final presentation makes recording the results easier. Making food that looks good enough to eat is an important element of the cooking process too. Helping to raise the standards of presentation of young cooks is great for self esteem and provides a legacy of their hard work. This can be used to build a portfolio of skills and you have a record of work for display boards and external moderators.

10 Top Tips for Food Photography

  1. Work out how your dish will look when you plan it. Use magazines for inspiration and let the food do the talking.
  2. If you don’t have much time always shoot close up so you don’t have to style a place setting.
  3. Make sure you have a clean uncluttered space to photograph your food from.
  4. Use natural daylight whenever possible and turn off the flash this refers to all devices whether it’s a phone or a camera.
  5. Try and frame the shot so any editing is limited as this all takes time.
  6. Take several shots from different angles it’s easy to delete any you don’t use.
  7. Always take a selection of shots using landscape and portrait so you have a choice for later. Magazines use a mixture of portrait and landscape shots.
  8. Keep everything in the shot as low as possible particularly any accessories such as vases of flowers.
  9. Round plates usually work far better than square or oblong and use white if possible.
  10. Set up your photography space in good time – don’t leave hot dishes to cool or congeal.

I worked on a competition for schools a few years ago and had to write up recipes from entries and photograph them for the judges. It was important that pupils could recognise their work at the prizegiving events where their recipes were cooked for judging. Here is some examples of how we tweaked the presentation. The difference was easy to achieve! To find out more come the workshop Julie Messenger and I are putting on at the February face to face!

Below are some examples of how dishes can be drastically improved!

chorizo puds

By combining the 3 elements of the dish using the garnishes described and good lighting a much more vibrant finish was achieved



beetroot cakes

This dish was pretty good already but lacked composition on the plate and too many beans! Putting the sauce in the dish gave some shape and added a splash of colour

lamb collage

This was a complex dish from a year 10 pupil with many elements – I shot across the dish to allow these to be visible and made sure there was plenty of light – I have edited the image increasing the hue and saturation







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