How to Take Better Photos of Your Food

I love photographing my food. Why? A lot of my favorite memories are associated with food, and it’s not about the food; it’s about the memories I had with loved ones!

First of all, I love food, but ultimately I see food as fuel. I’m not that fussy about my food, if I have meat or eggs I’m happy (I follow a strict ketogenic diet).

Like Socrates said,

Others live to eat, but I eat to live!

In today’s world, it’s looked down upon to photograph your food. But I say, shoot on!

But this is what I would say:

Try to take really good photos of your food, and look at your food photos a week or two, or months after your shot them!

Because it’s not the food you want to remember, it’s the memories associated with the food you want to remember!

1. Keep it simple

Simple background. Clear the table, and emphasize shapes and forms, like simple circles!

2. Get close and use a flash

My favorite food camera is the RICOH GR II. I shot everything in program mode, flash, and macro mode in JPEG positive film preset.

By using a flash, you better bring out the details in the food!

3. Shoot the colors

Look for nice colors to fill the frame with! Like the nice orange here:

4. Make it look gross

To be frank, closeup photos of meat looks a bit gross. But that’s what makes it an interesting photo to me!

Thus, don’t feel like all your food photos must look appetizing. Martin Parr did a great book called “Common sense”, in which he makes food look disgusting (critique on food and modern society). But they’re interesting to look at!

5. Color Theory

Simple color theory:

  • Red and green
  • Orange and blue
  • Yellow and purple

Try to contrast these colors whenever you see them!

6. Show context

Don’t just shoot one dish; show the accompanying sides too!

7. Photograph the edges of your food

Like the edge of a delicious pork chop:

8. The people serving you the food

Photograph not just the people, but the people who work hard to feed you.

This is my favorite place in Prague, “Kantina” (a meat cantina concept, Cindy and I went here at least 5 times in two weeks):

9. Action food photos

Photograph a closeup macro photo of your food in your hand; the eager anticipation before you take a bite!

10. Experiment with your angles

I shot all these with 28mm on the RICOH GR II. Experiment with angles; shoot 5-10 photos of your food from different perspectives. Then choose what angles you prefer!

11. Have fun, and make it surreal!

This piece of pork belly looked like a face:

12. Clean white background

Keep it simple with a simple white background.

13. Say a little prayer before you eat

I’m grateful to have food. Before shooting your food, first do a little prayer to practice gratitude for the food. Consider all the folks in the world who are dying from hunger.