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Food Photography Tips for Beginners

Posted by Terra's Kitchen on Sat, Sep 9, '17

So you’ve done all the cooking, plated your meal, and added the final garnishes… before you dig in, take a minute to immortalize your culinary creation with a picture! Translating a plate that looks beautiful in person to an instagram-worthy picture is the hard part though. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a professional food photographer to take impressive pictures of your meals! We asked some of our favorite food bloggers and instagrammers for their top food photography tips.  (All achievable with your regular cell phone camera)!

 Tips From The Pros


tuna POKE BOWLS for dinna tonight🥑🐠🙌🏻was craving something savory and filling but not too warm since it is hot af out there😏 we have some basmati rice, edamame, carrots and seared tuna a la @terraskitchen 👌🏻i added some extra greens and avocado i had on hand and had this meal ready in less than 20 minutes (winning💯) plus buying a poke bowl can be like $20 for a meal so making them at home sounds good to me🙋🏻for anyone looking to try out @terraskitchen you can get $35 off your first order with the code RACHL! you can also order a la cart items which is my fav because i stock up on meats, veggies, etc.! now time for some🍫🍪after savory.. always✌🏻🕺🏻#rachleats #cleaneating #glutenfree #healthyrecipes #feedfeed #food #organicfood #realfood

A post shared by rachel (@rachlmansfield) on


“My biggest tip for food photography is to stay simple. Don't go too crazy with props and decor, keep things minimal and it helps highlight the food better :-)” - Rachel Mansfield (@rachlmansfield)


“I think my biggest suggestion, and it's pretty common but often not used is to use natural sunlight when possible. I ALWAYS get my best pictures with a bright sun providing the light!” - Jason Hisley (@jasonhisley)



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A post shared by Brittany | Health Coach+PT 🥗💪🏼 (@eatingbirdfood) on

My best food photography tip is to use natural light. Flash and food just don't get along! Shoot your food photos during the day by a window in your house that has nice lighting or outside in a semi-shaded area. You don't want direct sunlight because then your food will look overexposed. Play around with the light coming from different angles. I tend to like side or back-lit photos. If needed you can also buy a piece of white foam board to help bounce light from one side of the shoot area and prevent harsh shadows!”  - Brittany Mullins (@eatingbirdfood)


One of the best tips I have is to put the food on a surface near a window on a cloudy day (because direct sunlight is way too harsh). From there, you can use a bounce (aka a large white surface - poster board, white fabric, even a white piece of paper works well) on the shadow side of the food to reflect light and control the darkness of the shadows. The closer the bounce, the lighter the shadows. The further the bounce, the darker the shadows.” - Amanda Maguire (@picklesnhoney)


Our Top Tips

Play around with shooting from different angles, depending on what type of food you are photographing. For example, burgers like our Ball Hawk Sliders tend to look better from a side angle to show all of the different layers. An overhead shot works well with bowl meals, like our Vietnamese Turkey Bahn Mi Bowl because it cleanly shows all of the ingredients.

Photo editing apps can also help enhance the color and lighting in your photos. It’s not always possible to have nice, natural light when photographing (especially at a restaurant), so we like to use apps to help edit our photos. Some of our favorites are Foodie, VSCO, and Snapseed.

Don’t forget to use white space! Give your food a little room to breathe and don’t over-style or clutter your image with too many things. The color white is energizing, especially when paired with fresh, colorful ingredients, so let your dish be the star of the photo.

Now that you have the photography tips, you need some food to photograph! Click below to view our whole food menu or follow us on instagram for food styling inspiration.


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