5 tips to help you take food photos like a pro


The struggle to snap the perfect food photo is real. You may not have a top-of-the-range camera but there are a few clever tricks of the trade that will help you get the perfect picture – chop, chop!

It’s all about the aesthetics these days, and whether you’re trying to curate the most picturesque Instagram feed – or you’re ready to make your dreams a reality and enter the DRUM Food ambassador search – these few tips will help boost your skills.

1 Planning makes perfect

It can be intimidating, but all you really need these days is a smartphone with a camera. Think about where you’d like to take the photo and what you’ll include in your shot.

See how vlogger and foodie Caitlin Shoemaker plans her shoot and transforms simple items of food on her YouTube tutorial.

Food bloggers love using surfaces like wood, concrete and plain tablecloths with a few pretty additions – more on this below. Try not to go overboard but most of all, have fun!

2 Think like a pro

Consider the colours of your dish, the surroundings and how you can make your food pop. Tell a story with your food using props like wooden trays, marble tiles and interesting-looking utensils – even consider scattering some ingredients in your shot to really look like a pro.

Tumi Nqoko @tumis_wellness on Instagram adds, "My favourite ways of getting photos to pop is through using edible flowers, cutlery/crockery that’s unique or has character and often times incorporating pastel – or soft-coloured table cloths or towels to add depth and colour to an image."

"Don’t be afraid to take your time, both with styling your food and taking pictures of it as sometimes it takes a few shots before you figure out exactly what look you want to go for," Tumi adds.


Via @tumis_wellness on Instagram.

3 Perfect your lighting

Apart from preparing a stunning dish and plating it well, lighting is a very important aspect of food photography. Taking a top-view shot right above the dish is a popular technique, but be aware of the surrounding light above that may cast shadows and affect how your dish looks.

Using natural lighting could be tricky, but vlogger Caitlin Shoemaker suggests "back-lit" photos, as it adds to the drama and helps you play around with contrasts and shadows.

Self-taught chef and food-blogger Luyanda Mafanya @cookingwithluyanda also prefers using natural light to create her beautiful food photography.

"Make use of natural lighting, position your food in the direction of the light and capture the image. If it's too bright make use of the exposure slider to give your image the perfect amount of light," she says.

4 Frame your food

Keep a steady hand and focus on your dish. Try your best to fill the frame/photo with food and whatever you want in your shot. The "composition" and placement of all the elements will all help make it a feast for the eyes.

Award-winning foodie and author Ishay Govender-Ypma @IshayGovender on Instagram suggests, "With tablescape scenes, items need to be closer than you would think, as small gaps loom large in a photo. Try to keep to a portrait (vertical) style for Instagram. Keep an eye out for interesting surfaces and backgrounds to frame your shots."


Via @IshayGovenderon on Instagram

5 Finishing touches

When it comes down to it, editing is the name of the game for professional photographers. There are many ways you can give your photo an extra edge – just be sure not to over-edit which could make your food look fake.

"Download a photo-editing app or use your phone’s editing software to enhance the image," creator of Simply Delicious Alida Ryder @alidaryder on Instagram suggests. "Play with the contrast, saturation and lighting to make the most of your image."

She adds, "Capture the 'yum-factor' in food. This takes a little planning and timing but catching that egg-yolk drip or the cheese pull of pizza will make people drool!"


Via @alidaryder on Instagram.

For more food tips and information about the DRUM Food Ambassador search and the awesome prizes up for grabs, click here! https://www.drumfoodambassador.co.za.