Tips on Taking Pictures of Food

I thought share my tips on taking pictures of food. And by no means am I an expert on taking pictures of food. These are just some pointers that I came up with, and also from my friends.

Lighting and Flash
Lighting is the number one factor in producing great pictures. Without lighting or decent lighting, you can't get the right shot. Without enough lighting, your shots won't come out either. Too much lighting or flash will whiten the image and make it unusable as well. In fact, flash shouldn't be used at all.

Restaurants and food
Back to flash photography. I suggest that you don't take pictures with flash in restaurants. Flash can draw unwanted attention and can ruin the ambiance. Though I am not a restaurant owner, but I would venture to say that restaurants like people who take pictures of food. They understand that power of pictures and the online word of mouth.

Arrangement and Close-ups
It has also been suggested to me to take lots of pictures in different arrangements and close-ups. You never know which particular one will come out better than the rest. Be creative and find different angles for images. Perhaps, focus on a part of the subject. Learn to frame your pictures in nontraditional aspects. If you are at a restaurant, hopefully your party will be patient and understanding with your fanatical food picture taking.

Raw and Photoshop
Raw image format is minimally processed data from the image sensor. Learn to take pictures in Raw format and then use Photoshop to modify them. This is something more advance than I know what to do.

And lastly and probably the most important, is steadiness. Make sure you have a steady hand in taking pictures. Hold your breath just before you click on the shutter button. Heck, something you might find me resting my camera on glass of water just before I take the picture.

I currently use a Nikon Coolpix L18. It's not a great camera. It's a point and shoot that I use for most of my picture on the site. If I am lazy and I don't bring my camera out, I will just use my iPhone 3G camera, 2.0 megapixel.

Suggested Camera
Canon S90 has been recommend by a couple of friends as a great point and shoot. I won't go into details. But you can look up reviews about it. It retails for about USD 400.00. I think I might try to get one myself.

Thanks for those who helped me in putting this short list together - Emiko, Tony, and Joann.

Here are some links to more food photography resources


  1. For what it's worth, I used a Canon point and shoot for many years for food photos, but I switched to a Sony Cybershot in April. The flash and the macro are much better for me. I think my Canon is more user-friendly and I like its outdoor photos more, but for food photography I almost always use the Sony now.

  2. "I would venture to say that restaurants like people who take pictures of food."

    Not if it's a David Chang restaurant. ;)

  3. Pulledporker. . which canon and sony cybershot do you have?

  4. The Canon is a Powershot SD630, the Sony is a Cybershot W55. The former was about $400 (bought in '06) and the latter about $250 (bought in 07.) I'm not a serious photographer at all - for the first half of the decade I used disposable cameras and a cheap 35mm camera - so do not take my opinions as any kind of expert advice.

    Even if the cameras cost the same amount, I would prefer the Sony for my needs. The low-light photos on the Canon are weak, and the flash is not very good. Given that the Sony was $150 cheaper, it's a no-brainer for me.

  5. Hey Kevin,

    Don't forget to add Jose Andres to that list. *wink wink*

  6. @Mike: He was, but I think that Jose has learned the error of his ways. ;)

  7. Really?. . .David Chang and Jose Andres both didn't like people to take pictures at their restaurants?


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