5 tips for better food & beverage photography

We hope you’ve been enjoying reading our photography and styling blogs as much as we’ve enjoyed writing them! 

Today, our top tips are for food and beverage photography. We have a few restaurants and food truck clients, including Waves Coffee House and Disco Cheetah Korean Grill, that we create content for, so we’ll share some tips as well as demonstrate how we’ve applied it to our work. 

Equipment 

Use a tripod (preferably with an extension arm)! Tripods are great for so many reasons – a few benefits are: 

  • They steady your camera and eliminate blurry images
  • They save you from back pain (holding your camera and bending over for 8+ hours will result in some unfortunate aches and pains)
  • Extension arms allow you to capture awesome flat lays from above
  • They allow you to move more freely between your camera and subject (for when you have to make those tiny styling adjustments)

Another piece of equipment our photographer Kat always has on hand is her reflector – it’s compact and lightweight so she never leaves for a shoot without it. A reflector is a great tool to redirect light, fix shadows or even block out unwanted light. 

Backdrops

The backdrops you choose for your food photography are so important! They set the tone of the overall image. We recommend using textured backgrounds to add depth and interest. 

For one of our favourite clients, Disco Cheetah, their branding is very fun and colourful, so our backdrops always reflect this.

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Composition

Don’t be afraid of negative space! It makes for a more interesting composition and draws the viewer into the main focus of the image. In the context of marketing, negative space allows room for graphics. Very important for commercial purposes!

Experiment with different height levels within your image. For example, if you’re shooting sweet treats, then consider using cake stands. Creating layers with height will add depth and interest to your images.

Incorporate actions into your food and beverage photography. For example, cutting a cake or pouring milk into a coffee will bring the image to life. To make a shot look less staged, feature people or hands.

Consider how the final image will be used. If it’s for Instagram, then it’s likely going to be cropped into a square. So make sure you leave room for cropping and avoid zooming in on the subject too tight. 

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Props

The food is the hero! So keep it simple with props when it comes to food photography – there’s no need to go overboard with added elements and pull focus away from the food. The props should also compliment the food or drink within the image and make sense to the context of the image. 

For example, below is an image we shot for Disco Cheetah. Note that the props used in this image are the small dishes for extra garnishes, dips and sauces, as well as the cloth napkins and the menu. 

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Of course, cloth napkins are not available to use at Disco Cheetah’s restaurant or food truck, but cloth napkins are an easy way to elevate this style of food photography!

Depth of Field 

By using a lower aperture setting, you can focus on one specific item. This is a great way of drawing the viewer’s attention to the main subject while making the background appear softer. If you’re photographing a table setting, then you’ll need a higher aperture to ensure more of the frame is sharp and in focus. 

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Conclusion

Photography is an art form, so there are no hard and fast rules. We encourage you to experiment and see what works. These are just some of the tips and tricks we have collected along the way. 

Want to know more about what we create at Legendary Social Media? Check out our creative services

Erin is the owner and founder of Legendary Social Media. She's trying, and failing, to be vegan. Directionally challenged. Cripplingly addicted to coffee and chocolate. Swears she'll travel the world (again) ... someday. Mommy to Zylo.