How to Take Great Commercial Food Photography

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Food photography is an ever-evolving industry and many are passionate about its subject. However, taking great photos isn’t easy!

Creative composition is key for outstanding food photography. Learn to utilize angles, lighting and props that make your shots truly stand out.


Lighting is one of the cornerstones of great food photography. Aside from helping your subjects stand out, good lighting makes photos far more appetizing – not to mention there are numerous simple lighting setups that allow for taking beautiful shots!

Natural lighting is generally the ideal source for food photography since it is available throughout the day and is easy to work with.

Natural lighting is ideal for taking photographs of food because its soft glow diffuses evenly and creates an appealing image for viewers. Furthermore, this diffused illumination lets you capture all of its subtle textures and details that make up the subject dish or dessert.

Selecting natural lighting is essential to creating photographs with balanced exposure, which results in photographs with an elegant aesthetic. This is particularly important when editing images in Photoshop; otherwise, you risk ending up with overexposed or underexposed images that look unnatural and out of place.

For an appealing image, use a wide aperture (f/2.8 or f/1.8). This will enable you to use a smaller shutter speed while still producing quality shots with ample lighting.

One great way to add depth and dimension to food photography is by using reflectors and fill lights. A reflector will help bring attention to the front of your subject while fill lights soften harsh shadows.

Photographers often prefer studio strobes over flashes for lighting applications. These versatile devices come in all shapes and sizes to meet the lighting needs of various scenes; furthermore, their output tends to be greater.

If you plan on using studio strobes, be sure to place them on stands instead of placing them directly into your camera’s hot shoe. This will prevent unnecessary hot spots that could potentially underexpose subjects.

Food photographers typically opt for pulsed light sources – including studio flashes and on-camera flashes – rather than continuous light sources, such as strobes. Pulsed light sources offer greater versatility with regard to color temperature than their constant counterparts; hence their widespread adoption by content creators.


Food photography involves many considerations when taking good photos, with composition being one of the key ones. You must spend some time considering your desired layout for photos as well as lighting them properly.

Food photographers tend to focus on backgrounds and props when taking pictures, but composition is the true key to great food photography. Without proper composition in place, photos can quickly look unappetizing or even outright bad.

Composition involves creating images where the main subject stands out and remains in focus, whether that is accomplished through shallow depth of field (smaller f-stop number) or placing the camera at an angle to isolate the said subject from its environment.

An easy way to create an impactful photograph is to frame it naturally using an object such as a tree, archway, or hole as a border for your composition.

Food photographs should always be tightly cropped around their subject to minimize background “noise”. This ensures that your subject gets all of the attention it deserves while giving the image depth and balance.

As part of your post-processing workflow, crop guides can be useful tools in correcting any mistakes you made when taking photographs. They’re typically found within Lightroom, Photoshop, or Capture One software packages and will enable you to gauge whether your photographs look their best.

Make sure that your food images are properly sized for the target audience you are targeting, this way potential clients can view and determine whether you are the appropriate solution to meet their needs.

Overall, an outstanding commercial food photographer should possess an eye for composition and adhere to design principles in their work, which ensures it looks its best and can quickly identify their style – essential elements in landing them food photography gigs!


Props can add authenticity and life to your photos, helping create an eye-catching composition and creating an unforgettable memory. They can also help tell your brand’s story more effectively.

Props for food photography are an integral element of commercial food photography. Professional food photographers frequently employ the services of a prop stylist, who helps the photographer and their assistant select appropriate props and surfaces for every photoshoot.

Food photography requires the essential pieces of gear: camera, lens, tripod and lighting equipment. However, there are additional pieces of equipment that can help take your images to the next level.

Marble slab backdrops will give your images an elegant, chic aesthetic; for something more rustic try wooden surfaces instead.

Light sources are an indispensable piece of equipment, helping illuminate subjects and add shape and depth. A small torch or the Lume Cube 2.0 with no wires allows you to quickly move around your subject for various effects.

As portable light sources make it easy to get creative with food photography compositions, adding dimension and interest without using expensive studio lighting. Set up a simple strobe light for foreground bokeh or to reflect light from your phone camera lens.

Keep the focus of your food photo in mind when selecting props, and avoid adding too many props that distract viewers and overshadow its main subject – your food itself!

One way to address this is by matching the scale of props with food – for instance, if your dish of food is small then adding larger plates or cups may help balance things out.

This will help bring the entire scene together and display the scale of an item more clearly, which can play an integral part in drawing customers in.


Food photography editing is an integral component of food photography. No matter if you are an established or emerging food photographer, understanding how to edit pictures for professional-looking results is vitally important.

One of the key tools in your toolbox should be Adobe Photoshop, an efficient image-editing program that provides access to any type of image file for editing purposes. It offers various functionalities and can even be used for 3D modeling!

Utilizing Photoshop for food photography editing can be an invaluable way to ensure the highest-quality work is delivered while increasing clientele by showing them gorgeous photographs that you have taken. It may even help expand your clientele!

To create natural-looking photos when editing photos, reflectors or white cards can help. By redirecting light back onto their subjects using reflectors or white cards, reflectors or white cards provide an inexpensive and beginner-friendly solution to ensure that food photography is well-lit with no distracting shadows or harsh angles.

Once your photos have been lit appropriately, Photoshop allows you to further improve them by altering exposure, contrast and color values – providing images with greater vividness and realism.

Histograms can also be an invaluable aid when editing photos, as they allow you to monitor how much white and dark are present within an image. By using this tool, it allows you to eliminate overexposed whites while lifting any underexposed darks to add vibrancy and make photos look more dynamic.

Histograms can also help determine whether or not the colors in an image are accurate. If there are too many yellow hues in an image, for instance, then you should adjust its color balance accordingly to correct this.

If an image appears too red or blue, you can adjust its saturation levels by clicking on’saturation’ icon and making changes as required.


Ash has been into cameras and photography for over 40 years, with 10 of those years as a professional photographer. His passion is to constantly strive to create better images and to pass on his knowledge to other budding photographers.

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