Taking the perfect food photos: 5 expert tips

We’re back for the second week in a row with more tips from the photographers that know food shots like no one else. These experts are giving out their top tips for creating mouth-watering Instagram food shots guaranteed to swell your following and impress your friends.


Milana Chigridow

She may only be 19, but Milana has already bagged herself an impressive Instagram following of 23,698! The Stockholm teen is a self-confessed pastry enthusiast and collector of quotes and wild flowers.

Milana says:

Just wait for that perfect light; it's that last hour before sunset or one hour after the dawn. The light flows through soft clouds and casts wondrous little shadows. This light isn't white or yellow; it goes from peach coloured to baby pink. Just wait and you'll see it.

Besides the perfect lighting, choose matching colours in your motifs. Create a colour scheme that makes you smile. Lavender and peach go well together, or pink, cobalt and light grey. Don't be afraid to see the beauty in every colour.


Charlotte Hu

Charlotte is as fanatical about food as the best of them. She cites her main hobbies as picture-taking and eating her way through London town.

Charlotte says:

My top tip: Play around with the background that the food is presented on. Colours, patterns and textures—and the use of negative space in the composition—all influence the impact of the shot.



The family-run New York City café are pros with a camera, taking shots not only of food from their own menu, but of things that inspire them most.

They say:

Take personal pics of anything you love truthfully—can't go wrong there :) and great composition of course.



When they aren’t busy creating a meeting place for cooks across the globe, Food52 spend a lot of time taking pictures. They give you their top tips for getting it right every time.


Food52 says:

I'm the Community Manager of Food52, and I manage our Instagram account. I've learned so, so much since coming on to manage the account in January (I'd never used Instagram before!), and here are a few of my top tips:

Simplicity. Instagram photos of food work best if they're clean and simple. I try to avoid a lot of clutter, always use a very clean surface, brush any crumbs off the plate, and steer clear of using too many props.

Light. Photos always look better in natural light, and Instagram is no exception! Harsh fluorescent light never translates as well—I like using early morning and evening light, when possible.


Paul Winch-Furness

Paul is a London-based food and restaurant photographer by trade, so it makes sense that he spends his recreational time making a name for himself on Instagram. His following currently sits at a whopping 2,652.

Paul says:

General Workflow: You can take photos straight into an App or load a photo afterwards – if you want to share photos later, remember to take a menu/list away with you (or take a photo of it).

Focus/Exposure: Most devices allow you to tap an area to focus and expose.  Some give two points – one for focus, one for exposure.  Try tapping the brighter areas, as overly bright highlights can be distracting.

Keeping steady: To avoid blurred photos, try to hold the device as firmly as possible.  You can rest it on the table, a chair, a wine glass.  Keeping your elbows tucked in can also help.  Many Apps don’t take the photo until the button is released – so avoid prodding the screen – hold your finger on button, and release gently.  This should produce a much sharper image.

Angle/Point of View/Composition: One of the benefits of a smartphone is that you can easily try different angles.  Try holding it above or to the side of your subject.  Move wine glasses/cutlery/candles to add points of interest.

Avoid cropping right into the main subject – you will tell a much more interesting/engaging story if you include elements from a table/cutlery/menu header/wine bottle/candle.

Flash/Lighting: Try to turn off the device’s flash – the light is much less flattering when it comes from the device – you will also lose the atmosphere and sense of location. Try shooting towards the light source, or with the light to one side.

Filters: With any of the APPs, try different filters – some add warmth, some add or remove contrast, some decrease saturation for example.


That concludes our master class in Instagram food photography, if you have any tips you’d like to add, pop a comment in the box below and share it.



David Brookes
01 Oct 2014 22:43
Good tips for photographing products
07 Oct 2014 11:38
Some good tips! I end up taking a lot of food pictures for my instagram so maybe next time I'll try and take a better photo if I am patient enough not to dive right in!
07 Oct 2014 15:34
Food looks so much better when a little attention is taken with the photography, great tips - the natural lighting makes all the difference.
Ian Clennett
09 Oct 2014 09:12
Very helpful, got a couple of foody projects in the pipeline - bookmarked for future reference
Alex Wilkie
21 Oct 2014 11:27
going to try some of these tips
08 Dec 2014 16:17
you should check the blogger whatshouldieatforbreakfasttoday
I think she's a master in food photography.
Stuart Glegg
16 Jan 2015 08:21
Great tips, have been looking at a close up of brownies all day for a brochure. It's hard work.
28 Apr 2016 08:10
this is really good, great advice

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