How To: Photograph Food


Gargi Ketkar

Making food look as good as it tastes isn’t always as easy as it seems. Here are a few things to watch for when taking pictures of your meals.

Yasmin Gulec, Dining Editor

In an era where everyone loves sharing pictures of their food, and even want to become famous food bloggers, you must learn a few tricks to set your photographs apart from others’. Here are some tips and tricks to take photos that will make you look like a professional food photographer.

Lighting & Flash

Using flash when you take a photo is a definite no when it comes to food photography because the direct artificial light can flatten your dish and remove the natural shadows that add a lot to the photo. If you are desperate, you can use another phone’s flashlight to reflect the light indirectly to brighten the area but not the subject. Your photos will turn out best if you place them near a window or a well lit area.


The background of a food photo is very important because if it is too eye-catching, it will steal attention from the food. Instead, it should add to the food and make the viewer’s eyes focus on it. Using a fairly neutral background with solid colors or minimal designs will achieve this effect.


Photography is the art of storytelling, and just because you are taking photos of food does not mean that you cannot tell a story. Adding a simple prop like flowers, a book or glasses will give the viewer context of what is happening in the scene and where you are. If, for example, you want to take a photo of the salad you are eating while on vacation, place your sunglasses and a travel-guide within the frame to have a simple yet effective composition for a photo.


Don’t take photos of a half-eaten meal. Doing this makes the picture look messy and incomplete. Only take a bite after you’ve snapped a photo. Also, remember to never include an empty dirty plate or a plate with splatters, and sit your food on a clean surface.


Always take photos from different angles. Since everyone can take a photo from eye level, you can make your photo different by shooting from a higher, lower or side angle. Some foods — like pizza and pasta — look better from above because they are flatter, while foods like burgers and ice cream look better from the side because of their dimension and height.

New York City offers an abundance of aesthetically pleasing meals waiting to be photographed. Grab your phone, go to a restaurant and take photos!

Email Yasmin Gulec at [email protected]