Have your cake and eat it too: how to capture your food in photography.

We all do it. When our food arrives at our favorite restaurants, we immediately reach for our phones to snap a photo. Most of the time, the photo goes up on the ‘gram immediately with a #foodporn right below it. Usually the photo is dimly lit and serves its purpose as a photo of your dinner. But what if you want to really capture your food in a photograph that really shows the food in all of its delicious glory? There are some major dos and don’ts for taking photos of food. Here we go!

Processed with VSCO with q2 preset
Processed with VSCO with q2 preset (one of my favorite VSCO presets guys!)

Do: Take the photo from above the food.

Taking a photo of your food with your camera or your phone parallel to your food is a really good way to display your food in a way that shows a perspective that is aesthetically pleasing. The bird’s eye view is a flattering view and you’ll be thankful later for the perspective.

Don’t: Take the photo from an angle where there’s a lot going on in the background.

Having a salt shaker and straw wrapper in your photo isn’t very mouth-watering.  You don’t have to take the photo from above, necessarily, but doing so decreases the risk of having clutter in the background that distracts from your yummy plate of food.

Do: Spill a little.

This sounds weird, but if there are different elements to your food that can be moved around, do it. For the photo above, the sugar is scattered across the plate, which gives the photo an organic look. If it’s a photo of a bowl of berries, take some of them out and place them on the table like you casually eat berries right off the table (I know, it sounds SO weird, but it really does improve the aesthetics of the photo, trust me.)

Don’t: Spill…at a restaurant.

Spilling your food at a restaurant on purpose is just rude, dude. So, if you’re following the above rule of spilling your food a little, do it at home when it’s appropriate.

Do: Try different perspectives.

Taking a photo from above is ideal for food photos, but it’s good to try different angles and different depths as well. Variety is everything when taking photos. Zoom in on the frosting of a cupcake to show the grooves and sprinkles on it. Zoom out and show your hand in the photo next to your food with fork in hand. Snap a shot from the side to show the steam of your coffee against the background.

Don’t: Take photos in poor lighting.

Lighting is huge with every photo you take. If at all possible, try to take the photo of your food in soft lighting (open a window to help achieve this). Avoid flash and move your food into lighting that will give your photo the light it needs to be less-grainy and dark, without the harshness of a flash.

Do: Clear the clutter.

My boyfriend knows the drill when I’m about to take a photo of my food or wine glass and he starts to help me clear the clutter from around my food or beverage. Get the dirty napkins out of the photo, the straw wrappers, and anything else that might be distracting in the photo.  Doing so will give the photo a clean, editorial feel that you’ll love.


So, whether you’re a take-a-photo-of-your-coffee person or a take-a-photo-of-my-pizza-rolls kind of person, you can take a good photo of your food that is completely Instagram-worthy. Food is fun, and it’s hard not to want to have your cake and eat it too, am I right?

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