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Cheap & Easy Food Photography Tips

Updated on March 4, 2015

Need To Take A Great Food Picture?

It`s true, a picture is worth a thousand words, but how do you take a good one? Food photography is in a world of it own. There are many tricks professional photographers use to get that special shot. Using motor oil for gravy's, shoe polish to make uncooked meat look succulent, or using wet cotton balls heated in the microwave for steam.

I'm a beginner photographer I know nothing of F-stops, shutter speeds or Apertures. I point and shoot and hope for the best. In this article I have put together some ticks and tips on how to take some great food pictures.

All photos by: English-lion unless stated otherwise

Photo's Taken With My Sony CX330

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Maple CookiesDream BarsS'mores BarsDouble Stuffed Chocolate Chip CookiesNasher's NachosEaster Cupcakes
Maple Cookies
Maple Cookies
Dream Bars
Dream Bars
S'mores Bars
S'mores Bars
Double Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
Double Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
Nasher's Nachos
Nasher's Nachos
Easter Cupcakes
Easter Cupcakes
My Studio
My Studio

Lighting

What Worked & What Did Not Work Me

My Studio consists of an open window a kitchen table, and an overhead chandelier. Natural light is simply the best for taking food pictures. The overhead chandelier adds a little extra light, not much, but it adds to the quality of the image. A few weeks back I needed a picture for an article I had written that was due the next day. Nasher's Nachos

It was five o'clock at night, there was no natural light left, What was I to do? I had only taken pictures during the day. Below you will see my experiments with the different light sources.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Flash: As you can see eek!Computer Manipulation : O.k, but not being a computer geek it took me a lot of time to get it right  I still didn't like the outcome. To me still too much lightRange hood light:  Took without flash this technique never worksDesk Light: I used two bedside table lights and one desk lamp spotlighting the nachos This is the picture I used for the article.
Flash: As you can see eek!
Flash: As you can see eek!
Computer Manipulation : O.k, but not being a computer geek it took me a lot of time to get it right  I still didn't like the outcome. To me still too much light
Computer Manipulation : O.k, but not being a computer geek it took me a lot of time to get it right I still didn't like the outcome. To me still too much light
Range hood light:  Took without flash this technique never works
Range hood light: Took without flash this technique never works
Desk Light: I used two bedside table lights and one desk lamp spotlighting the nachos This is the picture I used for the article.
Desk Light: I used two bedside table lights and one desk lamp spotlighting the nachos This is the picture I used for the article.

Plate Colour

I Love My Red Plate

Most of my pictures are taken on my old red Melamine plate, it has been taken on many a camping trip. It's personal preference on what colour to use. In these two pictures of recipe "Coronashion Chicken" given to me by a well known guitar player of Frankie Goes to Hollywood fame. He plans on giving it to a charity cookbook. I used my trusted red plate but I didn't like the look of it and went onto the black plate. I think it looks better on the black

*Experiment with different coloured plates. I have found that the flatter the plate the better. Ones with raised edges and more then one colour takes the focus away from the food*

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Which Plate Colour Do Like?

See results

Check Your Background

Nothing ruins a good shot more then having pieces of paper, window cleaner's, ovens mitts, and other things. To this day I am still guilty of this. Just the other day, I was taking pictures of my daycare children having a grand ole time licking the bowl, that I missed the ketchup bottle that was dead center in the middle of picture.

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Angle and Close Up - Think outside of the box, get in close and choose a different angle that will showcase the food

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Tripod

It's nice to have but you can get by with books stacked on top of each other but I have never used them when taking food pictures. I rest the side of my hands on the edge of the table or my elbows on my lap or table itself. I keep my finger on the shutter button a couple of seconds after I hear the click just to make sure I don't move.

Camera's - They don't have to be expensvie

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BackberryGE A735 Pocket CameraSamsung smart phone
Backberry
Backberry
GE A735 Pocket Camera
GE A735 Pocket Camera
Samsung smart phone
Samsung smart phone

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    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Great tips! I like to use glass plates and pretty placemats, though lately my granite countertop is usually the surface of choice. I'm definitely with you on natural light - the chandelier over my kitchen island helps provide light for me, too.

    • English-lion profile imageAUTHOR

      English-lion 

      5 years ago

      @ThreeQuarters2Day: I do that too, with my cooking lenses. I hope you do make that cookbook :-)

    • ThreeQuarters2Day profile image

      Dawn Romine 

      5 years ago from Nebraska

      I take photos of food all the time, in various stages of preparation, sometimes the props for preparation are nice, the wooden spoon, the handy chopper next to chopped nuts, but it has to be planned, I'm always moving things out of the shot. One of these days I'll create the cookbook my kids want me to make.

    • Erin Mellor profile image

      Erin Mellor 

      5 years ago from Europe

      @English-lion: I too am clutter-guilty, I just don't see it when I'm taking the picture.

    • English-lion profile imageAUTHOR

      English-lion 

      5 years ago

      @HomeStuff: Thanks :-) Yes that shooting from above does help with the clutter ... but I love taking pictures of the food from the side ... just a personal preference for me :-)

    • HomeStuff profile image

      HomeStuff 

      5 years ago from Canada

      Helpful tips for taking photos of recipes! I am guilty of the clutter one... It helps if you can hold the camera overhead, then you don't show so much counter space!

    • Whatsittoyou profile image

      Whatsittoyou 

      5 years ago from Canada

      I love the flavor of maple so I hope one day you will share the recipe for the Maple cookies.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      Nice pictures, looks tasty!

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 

      5 years ago

      I see great pictures here and thanks for the helpful tips :)

    • profile image

      TommysPal 

      5 years ago

      Great tips. I'm am starting to create recipe lenses and your tips will be very helpful. Thanks!

    • RebaC profile image

      RebaC 

      5 years ago

      Thanks for the tips. I'm going to try using different color plates.

    • English-lion profile imageAUTHOR

      English-lion 

      5 years ago

      @sockii: Thanks :-)

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 

      5 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      Nice tutorial for taking pics of food, many thanks! :D

    • sockii profile image

      Nicole Pellegrini 

      5 years ago from New Jersey

      Great tutorial with lots of useful tips! I really liked how you showed the effects of different lighting environments on the same plate of food.

    • sockii profile image

      Nicole Pellegrini 

      5 years ago from New Jersey

      Great tutorial with lots of useful tips! I really liked how you showed the effects of different lighting environments on the same plate of food.

    • tokfakirmiskin profile image

      tokfakirmiskin 

      5 years ago

      nice picture! great!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      nice tips on the photos. i would always make it look yummy :)

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