Home / Blog / 4 Things to Focus on when Photographing Food


Hey Photographers, Shannon here! I know many of you use social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. As you scroll through your handles, you’ll notice a very common photo trend: food! People love to share what’s on their brunch plate, the latest sweet tooth crazes, and especially the delicious small-bites at foodie markets such a Smorgasburg in NYC. Some accounts are entirely dedicated to food photography, enticing you to eat your way through whichever city is featured. However, a lot of us out there just want to take the occasional awesome-looking food photo that really captures just how decadent and irresistible the treat is. So, how do we do this? Below are some tips to help you get there:

Choose your focus– First, determine exactly what you want to capture in your photograph. What essence do you want to create? Is your photo of rich, chocolate cake in a romantic, candlelit restaurant? Perhaps you want to achieve a warm and cozy feel. Or maybe you’re shooting a glorious, rainbow-colored fruit platter and you want a punchy, summery vibe. Chances are, you want to make the dish look so appetizing, the viewer can practically taste it. So, do you really focus in on the colors? Textures? Get as specific as you want! This will help you determine how to manipulate your camera’s settings.

Set up the shot– Take distracting objects out of frame, and consider the angle you want to shoot at. If there are too many items that can’t be moved easily, then you’ll have to get creative with where you position yourself. Sometimes, an aerial view looks awesome, or you can shoot at the table’s level…the options are endless! If good, natural light is available, you’ll also want to position your food in that light.

Play with aperture– Food photography is perfect for playing around with depth of field, so you can blur the background and really make the object(s) in focus pop. You’ll want to let more light into your camera so you can accurately depict the colors of the food, and a crisp, sharp focus will really highlight the textures. Try a low aperture (this can be achieved best with a prime or “fixed” lens…check out my post from a few weeks back to learn more about these types of lenses!) to make your plate look incredible.

Play with ISO– Sometimes, we don’t have access to good lighting in restaurants, or maybe your ice cream runs typically take place late at night. Bump up your ISO in these situations to increase your camera’s sensitivity to light. At a higher ISO, you don’t need as much light to expose an image accurately. Depending on how dim or dark the setting is, you might have to go up to 1600, or even 3200.

Happy shooting!


Share this page