Food Photography – What Is It and Why Do You Need It?

Food Photography

Table of Contents

5 Min Read

Picture this: You’ve just started a new restaurant (or a cafe, cloud kitchen, etc.), and you want to list your business online. You whip out your smartphone and click pictures of your food items, but they don’t look as good as you’d hoped. Even after spending hours on a photo shoot, your food doesn’t look as good as your competitors. That’s when you realize that clicking pictures may sound easy, but it’s really not!

There’s nothing to worry though! This blog tells you everything you need to know about food photography, how to do it, and some essential tips for success. We’ll also tell you about a smart solution that makes clicking professional-grade pictures a cakewalk.


What is Food Photography?

Food photography is a type of photography that focuses on capturing visually appealing images of food. It typically involves capturing images of food dishes, ingredients, and beverages to make them look appetizing and appealing to the viewer.  The main purpose of food photography is to make the food look beautiful and attractive to the viewers. It is done mainly by restaurants and other food businesses to appeal more to the market using ads, displaying their menu, cookbooks, etc.

Food photographers use various techniques to create visually appealing images, such as lighting, composition, and color coordination. They often work with chefs and food stylists to ensure the food looks its best for the camera. Food photography is used in various contexts, including advertisements, cookbooks, magazines, and social media.


Why is Food Photography Important?

Food photography is important for promoting food, branding, social media, and creating a strong visual identity for businesses, leading to increased sales and customer engagement.

Most people remember only 10-15% of what they read or hear, and this remembrance increases to 70% when they see a relevant image with the information presented. Food photography is way more important in a restaurant’s website and menu pages to make a visual appeal, which is tough to deny as “Eyes eat before the mouth”. Hence, a good appearance is more important to make a first impression.


Why is Food Photography Important?


In the online space, images are even more critical. If you list your business online with poor-quality food pictures, people will be less inclined to order from you. Instead, people will flock to your competitors with appealing food images, which are more likely to make their mouths water.

As everyone says, “The first impression is the last impression.” The same goes for establishing or growing restaurant businesses by making a first impression. High-quality restaurant photography creates trust in the customer’s mind like they are getting what they ordered, which increases the chances of them reordering from you. It also lets you give the audience an idea about the quality of the product you are offering.

In a world where fast food and processed foods are increasingly widespread, a food photographer can play a crucial role by presenting captivating images of wholesome, sustainably-sourced meals. By doing so, they can motivate individuals to opt for healthier alternatives and contribute to the growth of local farmers and producers.


Reality of Food Photography

We all know that what we see online is not fully real. Cuisine photography is not only clicking and editing by a single person. In reality, there is a team of people, each assigned a different role, from chef to stylist, only to put together one single dish.


Reality of Food Photography


Food photographers have many methods to make food look more appealing in pictures.

Many food photographers post photos by adding non-edible items to edible items, to make the images look more appealing and attractive. The most common examples are:

  1. Adding shaving foam as a substitute for cream
  2. Using hairspray or deodorant to give a shiny and juicy finish
  3. Increasing the volume inside the burger using toothpicks


What many food photography setups end up doing is just influencing and putting fake scenarios in the mind of a customer, making the process seem more straightforward than it is. There’s a lot more work involved than just pointing and shooting.


Getting Started with Food Photography

Professional food photography is not as easy as it seems, as it is a time-consuming and costly process. Food photography is an art you need to learn and practice with the following basic tips:


Getting Started With Food Photography


To capture the essence of a dish and its mouthwatering appeal, a good food photograph should showcase its vibrant colors and textures while avoiding unappetizing angles, blurry shots, and unwanted yellow hues. If your photographs don’t make you crave the food you’re shooting, it’s time to improve your technique. Here’s what you can do to take your food photography to the next level.


How to get started with food photography?

Following are some food photography ideas for getting started:

  • Camera
  • Lenses
  • Tripods
  • Good lighting
  • Props & Surfaces
  • Photography tutorials
  • Workshops


Best Food Photography Tips

Food photography is a captivating art form that beautifully captures the essence of culinary creations. From the careful composition of dishes to the artful play of light and shadows, food photography can evoke emotions and ignite taste buds. However, most of you still don’t know how to take perfect pictures of your food. Well, worry not! we’ll explore some of the best food photography tips and secrets to help you create stunning images that make mouths water and eyes feast. Get ready to dive into a world where flavors come to life through the lens, and every photograph tells a delicious story.


Food Photography Tips


13 Pro Tips and Tricks for Taking Good Food Photos

Food photography is a popular genre that can make your mouth water and entice viewers to try the food. Here are some tips for good food photography:

  1. Light it right. Make the food shine bright.
  2. Styling is key. Make the food look like a feast for the eye.
  3. Angles matter. Find the perfect perspective to capture the flavor.
  4. Focus on the details. Let the textures tantalize.
  5. Tell a story; let the food evoke emotions and memories.
  6. Less is more. Keep the composition clean and pure.
  7. Fresh is best. Capture the food at its peak of freshness.
  8. Create depth, and play with layers and dimensions.
  9. Keep it natural, avoid over-editing, and let the food speak for itself.
  10. Props with purpose, choose elements that enhance the food’s narrative.
  11. Balance is key. Find harmony between the food and its surroundings.
  12. Frame the feast, and showcase food as an edible masterpiece.
  13. Zoom in and capture the intricate details that make food extraordinary.


iPhone Food Photography – 9 Tips for Best Restaurant Photos 

Since the iPhone has been known for its camera quality. It provides the best food photo editor features in the camera. 


iPhone Food Photography


Following are some tips for better iPhone food photography, which will help you to get more attractive photos.

  1. Using natural lights rather than flash or artificial lighting
  2. Play with the shadow feature to make it look more exciting
  3. Should use HDR or Portrait mode, which will blur the background and get great photo exposure.
  4. Use basic colors in the food photography background, like a white towel.
  5. Try to capture from different angles and keep the best one.
  6. Choose the frame for the photo, as some look good in wider angles, whereas others in zoomed angles.
  7. Use good props to make it more interesting
  8. Can use the burst mode or long exposure to add action to the image
  9. Editing, in the end, is the most important and basic step for finalizing and enhancing the image


Styling Your Food Photograph

Many things are required in professional food photography, like gadgets, editing software, photography skills, and many more. Styling can make and break your photoshoot.


Styling Your Food Photograph


Food photography styling can make mouth-watering images and help make an impression on your restaurant. One should always ensure to capture and style in a way that will make the customer’s decision to order.

Here are the best tips for styling your food photograph before clicking and uploading,

  1. Cut the food into different shapes
  2. Use fresh food ingredients
  3. Add backdrops according to the photograph
  4. Can use napkins as props
  5. Can get creative with cutlery
  6. Vegetable oil to provide a shiny look
  7. Add textures to plates and bowls
  8. Try to keep the food fresh and alive in the photograph
  9. Illuminating the subject from a lateral angle instead of directly from the front.


Food Photography Portfolios to Inspire You

Nowadays, everything is online, and no one visits different restaurants physically to decide on and order food. People search for them online and judge them based on their portfolios, or the menu posted online, as the food industry is mainly influenced by visual culture.


Food Photography


Many restaurants or food photographers include food photography blogs in their portfolios to tell their side of the story to the customers of that food product. These blogs help customers connect with the culinary experience and correlate their memories with the featured food by showcasing captivating visuals and engaging narratives. This ultimately contributes to a deeper and more meaningful connection between the customers and the delectable dishes on offer. Therefore, having the best food photography blog becomes crucial in creating a lasting impression on potential customers.

Therefore, a food product photography portfolio is very important to stand out and influence the customer to order food from your restaurant. When someone hears about your restaurant, the first thing they would do is google it. A professional portfolio will help customers judge restaurants and form an opinion. So, a good, attractive, and mouth-watering portfolio is essential for your restaurant marketing.

Sharing appetizing pictures is a great way to encourage people to order something from your restaurant. Adding some content in the form of food photography blogs with photos can help customers generate their interest.

Lenka is the best food photographer today. Her stunning styling skills in her portfolio are the only reason for her rise in this industry.


10 Common Food Photography Mistakes & How to Resolve Them?

Need more clarification on how the food photographs are turning out?


Common Food Photography Mistakes


Here are some common problems and their solutions to them!

  1. Poor lighting: Use natural light whenever possible. Avoid harsh overhead lighting or direct flash. Position your subject near a window or use diffused artificial lighting.
  2. Cluttered backgrounds: Keep the background simple and clean to draw attention to the food. Use neutral or complementary colors, and remove any distracting elements from the frame.
  3. Unappetizing presentation: Pay attention to the arrangement and composition of the food. Use props strategically to enhance the mood and make the dish more appealing.
  4. Lack of focus: Ensure your main subject. Use a tripod or stabilize your camera to avoid blur, and adjust the aperture settings to achieve the desired depth of field.
  5. Inconsistent white balance: Set the correct white balance on your camera or adjust it during post-processing. This will prevent the food from looking unnatural or tinted.
  6. Overediting: Avoid excessive editing or filters that make the food appear unnatural. Enhance the photo subtly by adjusting exposure, contrast, and color balance to maintain a realistic and appetizing look.
  7. Using a cluttered or inappropriate prop: Choose props that complement the dish and add visual interest without overpowering it. Use plates, utensils, napkins, or ingredients related to the food to enhance the composition.
  8. Not considering the food’s temperature: Certain foods look their best at specific temperatures. For example, ice cream should be cold and show no signs of melting.
  9. Lack of styling: Pay attention to details such as garnishes, sauces, and textures. Use tweezers or small utensils to position and style the food, ensuring it looks fresh, enticing, and ready to eat.
  10. Ignoring post-processing: Post-processing can elevate the final result. Use editing software to adjust exposure, color balance, sharpness, and minor imperfections to enhance the overall image.


Cameras for Food Photography

The most important necessity in photography is the camera, and the question which is asked frequently is what camera is used for food product photography? Or what is the best camera for a food blogger? There are multiple camera options in the market, varying from expensive DSLRs to regular smartphone cameras.


Cameras for Food Photography


You don’t need a specific camera to start. It all depends on your photography and editing skills. Following are some Camera options for professional food photography with some advantages and disadvantages:

  • iPhone
  • DSLRs
  • Mirrorless



To start your professional photography career, an iPhone is the best option as it takes absolutely high-quality photographs using natural light. Please refer to the prior tips for shooting mouth-watering pictures from your iPhone.


  • iPhone has the best camera quality than other smartphones
  • No need to buy an extra asset
  • Inbuilt editing features


  • No adjustment in aperture, shutter speed, or iso.
  • Blur photo due to less stability



There are plenty of DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex) cameras in the market, but if you are just a beginner, start with the less expensive beginner models, like:

  • NOKIA D3500
  • CANON EOS 3000d
  • NOKIA D3100
  • CANON EOS Rebel T100



  • High-resolution output
  • Wide options in the market
  • Great for video making.
  • Ability to change lens



  • High cost
  • Heavier & tough to carry around



Also known as compact system cameras, these kinds of cameras don’t use mirrors in their cameras. Some of the best mirrorless cameras are:

  • Fujifilm XT4
  • Sony A7R IV



  • Easy to carry around
  • Touchscreen
  • Good for still and video
  • Built-in body stabilization



  • Less battery life
  • Limitations in lens selection


We recommend renting the camera first if you are unsure and can’t afford all of these. Explore all options until you understand what works best for your business.


Lenses for Food Photography

You must focus on every minute detail to get perfect, high-resolution, attractive photos. This can only be achieved with the help of high-quality lenses.


Lenses for Food Photography


Following are some best entry-level lenses for food photography mentioned below for your reference:

  • Canon RF 50mm f/1.8 STM
  • Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM
  • Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G
  • Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro USM


Many people do not know which lens to use for cuisine photography. So you must have a minimum of two lenses in your bag:

  1. 35mm for wide-angle pictures
  2. 50-60mm for shallow depth of field


Other Food Photography Equipment

Apart from all the expensive equipment listed above, you need much more for professional cuisine photography.


Photography Equipment


Here’s everything else you need to add to your shopping list:

  • Tripod
  • Tripod arm extender
  • Lighting kit
  • Color Correction card
  • Light diffuser
  • Photo editing software
  • Props
  • Second-hand DSLR Camera.
  • 18-55mm kit lens.
  • 50mm 1.8 lens (Full frame cameras)
  • 35mm 1.8 lenses (cropped sensor cameras)
  • Lightroom CC with storage.
  • 4′ x 6′ Diffuser.
  • White & Black foam boards (2 of each)
  • Photo Clamps.
  • Hard drives


The mix of all makes professional food photography an expensive setup to start with.


Recommended Food Photography Software

Plenty of food product services and websites are available in the market for editing pictures. Some provide paid services, whereas others give the free option also.


Food Photography Software


Paid software

  1. Adobe Premiere Pro
  2. PowerDirector 365 Business
  3. PicsArt
  4. Fotor Pro


Free software

  1. Spyne
  2. Canva
  3. YouCam Perfect
  4. GIMPFoodie

The options listed above require manual editing, i.e., you’d need to learn how to edit images or hire a professional to do so. This would require a lot of effort, time, and money. If only there were an alternative!

Learn more about food photography pricing.


AI-Powered Food Photography with Spyne

In this emerging era of Artificial Intelligence (AI), no one wants to book an appointment and go to a food photography studio to get expensive professional food photography. They all are finding the easiest solution to this problem with the help of AI. 


AI-Powered Food Photography with Spyne


Here comes one of the best, most affordable, and less time-consuming solutions to all your problems,

Spyne is the leading AI food photography app. It uses food photography algorithms and reduces the human effort of editing by altering the background, adding realistic shadows, and providing the best colors to the image to make it look lively and authentic. Our systems also increase the quality and resolution of your picture.

This software never adds fake scenarios in the customer’s mind as other professional food photography companies do by adding shaving foam as cream or hair spray to add shininess. It keeps the product genuine, which helps customers to trust the product, and its trust and credibility, which increases the chances of reorders for your restaurant.

The best part – the editing is entirely automated! Not just that, Spyne’s food photo editor has a guided photoshoot feature, which instructs users on how to shoot food pictures. It tells you what angles to pick, and if the images don’t match the quality standards, the app will prompt you to reshoot.

Spyne’s food photography services help you shoot and edit pictures quickly, easily, and affordably. This makes scaling up your operations easy as well. Adding new items to your menu? Click top-quality images and list them in minutes!

Interested? Book a demo to get your restaurant portfolio ready in seconds.


  • What are the characteristics of food photography?

    A key aspect of a great food photograph is its ability to capture and showcase the dish’s best qualities, highlighting its inherent deliciousness through the celebration of its colors and textures. It is essential to avoid taking blurry snapshots, using unflattering angles or allowing a yellow cast to detract from the visual appeal of the photo.

  • How to Become a Food Photographer?

    If you want to start a career as a professional food photographer, follow these steps below: 

    • Start practicing at home
    • Invest in basic equipment:
    • Learn the basics of photography, such as exposure and composition.
    • Study food styling for making compelling photos
    • Portfolio Building
    • Learn How to Edit Your Photos

  • Why is food photography so hard?

    Food photography in general, is a complex but rewarding task. The biggest challenges are as follows:

    • Food doesn’t stay fresh for long
    • Lighting can be tricky
    • Food styling takes practice
    • Captures texture and depth
    • The competition is fierce.


    That said, you have a lot of competition, and you need to take high-quality photos to stand out.

  • What ISO is best for food photography?

    The optimal ISO for food photography depends on the lighting conditions and the camera you use. It’s generally best to use a lower ISO setting, like 100 or 200, when shooting in good lighting conditions. This reduces noise and improves image quality.

    However, if you are shooting in low light, you may need to increase the ISO value to get a brighter exposure. 

    Higher ISO settings like 800 or 1600 may not be suitable for food photography as they can add more noise or grain to the picture.

    It’s important to note that ISO is only one of many camera settings that can affect the final image. Other vital settings to consider when photographing food are aperture, shutter speed, and white balance.

  • Is there money in food photography?

    Food photography can be profitable. As food becomes an increasingly popular subject on social media and in the advertising industry, the demand for high-quality food photography has grown. Food photographers can work with restaurants, food brands, magazines, and other clients to create images that showcase their products in an appealing way.

    Food photographers can make money through a variety of channels, including selling their images to stock photography websites, licensing their photos to clients, or working on a project-by-project basis. They may also earn income from teaching food photography classes, selling prints or books of their work, or through sponsored posts on social media.

  • What shot is the best to use for food photography?

    A close-up shot to capture the details of the food, a top-down shot to showcase the arrangement of the dish, or a 45-degree angle shot to provide depth and dimension to the food.

  • Is food photography in demand?

    Although social media is flooded with numerous low-quality cell phone photos, there are still many markets for good-quality food photography, indicating that the demand for it remains relatively stable.

  • Is food photography part of product photography?

    Yes, food photography is a type of product photography as it involves capturing images of food products with the intention of promoting or selling them. Food photography is specifically focused on showcasing the food in an appealing way, highlighting its texture, color, and other visual aspects that make it look appetizing and desirable.

Written by

Team Spyne

Young, enthusiastic, and curious are the three words that describe Spyne’s content team perfectly. We take pride in our work - doing extensive research, engaging with industry experts, burning the midnight oil, etc. Every word we write is aimed at solving our readers’ problems.

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