General tips:

  • Take advantage of natural light. Avoid your built-in flash at all costs. It creates unnatural reflections and glare.
Julie Andrews, The Gourmet RD
Apple Fritter Mascarpone Shortcake, Julie Andrews, The Gourmet RD
  • Avoid camera slanting. Keep the lines in your photo as straight as possible.
  • Play with angles. For example, pizza generally looks better photographed from straight above and a loaded, layered sandwich is best at eye-level.
Maple Baked Cashews, Dani Bruflodt, Thyme is Honey


  • Follow the rule of thirds. Imagine your photo frame is divided into two vertical and two horizontal lines, forming a nine square grid. Place your main subjects along these lines or at these intersections.
Rhubarb Hazelnut Scones, Vicky Cassidy, Things I Made Today
  • Props: Scout out thrift stores for vintage handkerchiefs or utensils to add dimension to your photos.
Orange Cranberry Cake, Philia Kelnhofer, Sweet Phi
  • Trust the color wheel. Practice using complimentary colors in your photos.
Color Wheel
  • Add some garnish. Use condiments and toppings to spice up your photo (and your dish!)
Erin Clarke, Well Plated
White Chicken Chili, Erin Clarke, Well Plated
  • Only use clean accessories.
Abby Bayatpour, Heart of a Baker
Vegan Peanut Butter Pie, Abby Bayatpour, Heart of a Baker

Useful tools:

  • Reflectors/bounce cards: Buy foam boards from craft stores to bounce light back onto your plate or subject, lightening any dark spots. Play around with different board colors to brighten photos.
  • Tripod: Helps minimize photo blurring and captures crisp, clean photos.
  • DSLR camera: Smartphone photography continues to improve, but you can still take more control over your photos with a DSLR by using a variety of lenses and adjusting settings. Not sure which camera is right for your budget? Check out this guide from the Minimalist Baker.
  • Our member, Dani, from also has more equipment suggestions on her blog Thyme is Honey.

Let’s get technical

  • Shutter speed is the amount of time the shutter’s camera is open. Ideally, aim for a shutter speed of 1/80th. Definitly don’t stoop lower than 1/20th.
  • Aperture (f-stop) regulates the amount of light that enters the camera. Think of aperture like your pupils. The wider the aperture, the more light enters the frame (meaning a smaller f-stop). The narrower the aperture, the less light enters the frame (larger f-stop).
  • ISO measures your camera’s sensitivity to light. With a lower ISO, your camera is less sensitive to light, which generally helps you snap more crisp, detailed photos. With a higher ISO, your photos will be lighter, but also more grainy.
  • For more on manual camera settings, check out Andrew Scrivani’s New York Times blog.

Tips adapted from Cookie and Kate and Serious Eats.

Food Photography Tips

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