5 Mistakes You Should Avoid While Doing Food Photography

Food Photography is a professional field in which people master the technique of taking pictures of food so that it will look delicious and enticing. If you want to become a food photographer then your goal should not be just taking a good photo, but also making sure that your viewers can feel the taste of the food on their tongue by just looking at the photos. For some people, especially food bloggers, it is one of their great hobbies. Not only does the food need to look great but so does the supporting presentation items such as table setting, kitchen setting, etc.  

So, if you are one of those people who pick up camera occasionally only to disappoint themselves or a beginner in the field of food photography, here we have picked up 5 common mistakes that you should avoid while doing food photography. These tips can help you build a strong reputation for your food blog or magazine’s editorial work.  Have a detailed look at them.

1. Low or Harsh Lighting:

Light is considered an important factor in your image in every field of photography. It can give life to your images. While comparing your food photos with the pro’s food photos, you will notice that your food looks kind of dull as compared to theirs. This happens because of low lighting while you take photos. If you don’t have enough light to light your subject, your food photos might look dull and simply boring. A beginner food photographer should understand how much light is necessary to take a good photo and how the photo would look like from different angles. Basic food photography courses can help you learn that.

Now some people prefer natural light and they adjust their camera settings according to that so the food dish could look fine even in the natural light, but it would require them to do plenty of editing work. On the other hand, some people prefer to use an artificial light because it gives them the flexibility to manage the diffusion of light around the food. The artificial light gives you enough white light and lighting balance to get clear photos of food. Even the smallest details can also be enhanced by correct lighting and angle. If you are one of those people who prefer artificial light, then avoid using a direct flashlight or tungsten-overhead lighting. Instead of using these, one should buy a quality flashlight along with reflector and a bounce card. Using a direct flashlight will make your food flat and unappealing while a quality flashlight, bounce cards, and reflectors might help you get the perfect details out of the food correctly.

Use different angles to show the whole details of your food while capturing. The basic angles of food photography involve 4 different angles; 45 degrees angle, slightly low–30 degrees angle, straight-on angle and overhead angle. All of these are used according to different foods.

For example, if you want to capture a shot of a few brownies then it might be a good idea to take a straight-on shot which will reveal the topping and the base of the brownies. As for the spaghetti, one should take the side shot to show the ingredients and their cutting details in a better way. As for a dish of rice or pudding, one should take a front or a back shot. Now the back shot is considerably difficult among all these three types. It requires experience and a manual setting. You need to dim the light in the background to keep the focus on the main food item. Try practicing this angle to get the perfect grip over your camera. On a lighter note, the cameras these days have many features and settings by which you can switch in between some options to take excellent pictures.

2. Not Using the Fresh Ingredients:

One of the main reasons for dull food photos is that the ingredients are not fresh. One might blame his gear or his photography skills for vague photographs, but it might not be the actual reason. For all those people out there who love to take photos of food should know that their photos would turn out to be the best if the chef is using fresh ingredients. The main purpose of food photography is to show the tempting food, but when its appearance is dull then it would have an adverse effect. So, when you decide to take photographs of your food make sure it is freshly made and the ingredients are also fresh. If your food has bruised vegetables, then the photos won’t be able to help your meal look eye-catching. Even if you try to work through different angles, it will appear as a flaw so it is better to eat and snap a fresh and good quality food.  

3. Not Paying Attention to the Styling of Food:

You may like your food as it is but in photos it will look different. For example, if you have cooked a delicious soup and take a picture of it as it is, it may look plain, simple and boring but if you try out some garnishing and do some styling by arranging the spoon and bowl with sausages then it will look much more attractive in the photos. Hence, just like in any other type of photography, the styling also plays an important role in enhancing the overall look of your food photography. Try to create a neat base where you are going to take close-ups of your food because the camera will capture even the slightest dirt. Be creative when it comes to styling, use the cutlery, crockery, or table as a base and try to take photos from different angles.

4. Taking Photos From Only One Angle:

Another biggest mistake beginner food photographers make is taking every food photos from the same angle over and over again. The beginners need to understand that not every food is to be shot from the same angle. The photo angles should depend on the looks and texture of every dish and every food has its own unique look. So, the food photographer should take photos of different foods from different angles and directions to increase their overall look.  You don’t have to copy someone else’s style though. Be unique and don’t hesitate to try different angles.

5. Too Much Editing of the Food:

Editing is a modern day necessity when it comes to photos. While capturing an image one should not only focus on the food but also focus on the negative space that can be used to add logos or for writing something. If you have taken a perfect photo of food but there is no negative space, then maybe you will ruin the details of the photo by writing on it. Another thing is the saturation of colors. Colors seem good but try not to add too much saturation because it would make your food look unreal.

However, there are also many editing mobile apps available for the phone-photographers that can be used to make the food look more tasty and appetizing. If you think you are good with using professional editing software such as Adobe Photoshop then you can really work your magic on the photos.

6. Presenting Food the Wrong Way:

While photographing food, people usually forget that the presentation of the food is much more important than the food itself. For instance, if you are photographing the dish while it is still in the cooking pan, then it won’t give that good impression as it would if you present it on a plain white plate with a nice set of cutlery around it. What you present the food on matters the most in food photography and sometimes is neglected as people are only concerned about the food and photography gear. Using the right set of cutlery and crockery can increase the overall appearance of the food.

The viewers can not taste your food from the captured photos but they sure will be looking at the presentation and styling of the food and judging how the food might taste. Make sure you avoid such mistakes and use the best presentation technique according to the food type. You can use a nice round or square table with a clean white sheet on it and a plain white plate to present the food on.


Everyone loves good-looking food and being a food photographer, it is your core duty to make the food look more appealing in the photos so the viewers can feel hungry just by looking at those photos. For people who think that only professional cameras, such as DSLRs can take good food photos then it is not quite the case. You can actually take super amazing food photographs right from your smartphones too. Just make sure you avoid the above-mentioned mistakes, to capture some really cool food photos!