Taking Better Food Photos

It’s hot in Georgia during August.  Too hot to be slaving over a hot stove and that’s for sure.  That’s one of the reasons why we’ve been firing up the grill so much over the last few weeks.  My hubby is a real “Grill Meister” and loves to cook out.  Suits me too as all I have to worry about are the veggies which lately have been mostly salad straight from the garden – I know, I know, I’m turning granola.

Anyways, as usual I have to incorporate photography into everyday actives and last night’s dinner provided me with a great opportunity to shoot for my new upcoming course Better Blog Photos.  So while Sam was slaving away over a hot grill I was setting up some great food shots.

We also seized the opportunity to try out some awesome chicken from Zaycon foods.  You can see from the pics this really was some of the freshest and tastiest chicken I’ve ever eaten.  And Yes… of course Sam’s grilling technique played a part of it too 🙂


Like I’ve said many times before photography is all about good lighting and food photography is no different. One of the biggest mistakes for shooting food photography I see most people make is shooting with the flash on.  This results in flat images such as this:

Food Photography 1

Food is a still object and therefore it’s easier to capture without the use of flash so I suggest turning your flash off and just using whatever light you have available to you.  Remember that in order to be successful doing this you also need to hold your camera super steady or ideally use a tripod.

 Food Photography 2

Already the picture is looking more appetizing and it’s only veggies 🙂


White Balance

Now we see that the next issue that we have is that the color isn’t exactly right.

Food Photography 3

The lights that most people have in their kitchen, although bright  may give your photo an artificial color cast.  This can be corrected in your camera by adjusting the White Balance setting.

White Balance

Look for the WB icon in your camera menu and consult your manual to see what the different icons mean.  Change it until you get a more natural light effect.



Now that the settings are a little better I can think about composition a little more.

Rather than hovering above the food, lower your camera and take a closer shot from a lower angle.

Food Photography 5

Now I’m getting hungry!

Just by doing those 3 simple things –

1. turning off my flash

2. adjusting the White Balance setting

3. lowering my angle of view

I’ve improved my shot dramatically.  Give it a try for your next foodie pics.

If you’d like to try out  Zaycon food’s convenient food service,  save some bucks as well as experience great food like the chicken above, you can check out their site here to find out more information.  They have a pretty unique concept going on and it’s a great money saver.

If you’d like more detailed information on how to take better photos like this then watch out for my new course “Better Blog Photos” coming soon!


Happy Snapping

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Karen Hartzell - August 22, 2011

I’ll definitely have to play around some more with my camera and the white balance. Thanks for sharing the tips! They are simple but great!

Ingrid - August 22, 2011

Thanks Karen – My philosophy for life and photography – Keep It Simple!

Loretta - August 25, 2011

My husband just started a food blog so you have perfect timing for me with this. I’ve been having a hard time getting good pictures for him to use on his posts – these tips are great! Thank you so much.

Ingrid - August 25, 2011

Your welcome Loretta! These are very basic ways to improve – but a start 🙂

Loretta - August 25, 2011

I had been taking pictures for his blog from above, straight down like in your first example, so this is going to make a big difference in his blog 🙂

Polina - September 17, 2011

This is really helpful. I do have a question though about photographing food in restaurants where the lighting isn’t as bright would it be ok to use the flash?

Ingrid - September 18, 2011

Direct on flash is always going to be a hard light on your subject and hence can cause strong shadows and give your image a certain “flatness” Try upping your ISO to around 800 to help with low lighting situations without using your flash and check to see if you have the ability to reduce the flash intensity on your camera. If you’ve no control over the lighting then flash may be your only light source. Hope that helps!


Model photographer Ashley - May 16, 2012

I’m an assistant and was given a task to step out and shoot something we normally don’t. I chose food! This post was really helpful. I have a feeling I’m going to score big on this project. – Thanks!

Ingrid - June 25, 2012

Glad to help 🙂

tim - May 17, 2013

Excellent pointers, Ingrid. A couple of things I like to use is a secondary light source, like a lamp or a trouble light. You just move the light around until it looks right and avoids any glare. The other is a white board or other reflective surface. This is useful if you’re mainly using light from a window, but there’s too much shadow in the foreground. In either case a tripod is fairly essential.

Josh Melbourne - January 5, 2014

I have been exploring much into food and product photography nowadays and you rightly said to “avoid the flash”. that rightly said though, what would your recommend as additional lighting, LED lights or diffused lights from the top, what are your thoughts?

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