Food Photography Tips for Beginners

Hey, PHOTOGRAPHY [DAC] community, photography lovers and foodies in general! Today I will share with you some photography tips. If you want some great food photography tips for beginners, without boring technicals, you've come to the right place. Enjoy and prepare some sandwiches for later, you might get hungry or depressed, or both…

chocolate bags
Food photography tips for all

How To Start Food Photography

I know, right now is not the best time to start thinking about how you will take photos of food in restaurants. COVID19 closed mostly business down, but hey you can still practice. Remember that sandwich I told you about? Take a photo of it and that's it. You've just become a food photographer, congratulations. But what if your photo is making Gordon Ramsey sick and the salami company is preparing charges toward you? Then step up your game. Don't worry, I will share easy food photography tips with you, without forcing you to buy anything, and without complicated words. Just stick with me. So, how to start?

Somewhere you should start. Why not with some popcorn?

Camera and Lenses for Food Photography

What if I tell you there is no need to break your piggy bank to achieve mouthwatering food photography. Trust me; photography is 70% skills, 25% gear, and 5% luck. Nowadays, you can find some cheap cameras on the market, which can produce PRO grade photos with ease. Nikon D5600 DSLR, Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / 250D DSLR or Sony Alpha A6300 mirrorless are excellent choices, to name a few. These pieces are perfect for your food photography beginnings and are safe to buy them second hand. Why? Because professionals are not using these models. If yes, it is used as the second camera, so your camera might be in mint condition. On the other hand, the professional camera might be used by PRO and that horse might be beaten. Might!

Le Normandie Bangkok
You can have fancy food, but do you need a fancy camera as well?

What To Consider When Buying New Camera For Food Photography

I think the most important factors of food photography are lens options. That is why I believe checking which lenses are available for your model before the purchase is a must. Sony, for example, has some limits (financial limits) when comparing it to the competitors. But when you buy the right lens, you might never ditch it. I must admit that Sony has fabulous lenses, but with high quality comes the high price. So consider the whole package's pros and cons before your photography equipment purchase.

Four Seasons KL high tea
Think before you buy your first camera.

The last thing you want is to spend a triple budget on your lens at the end. The next thing to look for when buying a new camera is a screen. I am taking 99% of my photos with an LCD camera screen or rather through tethering on a bigger monitor. The viewfinder is great for darker photos and fine-tuning, but in a lot of cases the shooting position is just awkward, so LCD works like a charm.

Megapixels, Tracking Points, Torque...

Should you be concerned about megapixels, autofocus points, and stabilization features? Well, megapixels are not your concern if you are a beginner. That is not the case if you have a billboard order! But even if you do, I made 12m X 6m billboard with my 24MP camera easily. Autofocus tracking points are your last concerns. Food photography is on the manual every time. Your plate won't go anywhere, just make sure your cat is not around. What about stabilization? When making food photography, your camera should be on a tripod, so stabilization is sorted. Food photography tips
24 Megapixels are enough.


Ahhh yes, now this is a sweet spot for a food photography tips. Most of the food photos are taken on some prime lens, like 90mm or 100mm. I warmly recommend a macro lens, for that extra sharpness and playing with some close shots. A lens like this will be your to-go lens of about 90% of the time. For other shoots, like the whole table or bigger scene is great to have one 35mm. Here let me comfort you with that your phone camera might be useful. Lately, cameras on phones are outstanding. Now, remember, if you have a 3/4 ( APS-C ) camera this appears bigger. So 50mm macro is your way to go. 100mm on APS-C will be equivalent 150mm on full-frame, and that's too much. It works if you want to take incognito shots at the restaurant from someone else's table.

Vila Podvin plate
Macro Lens is your goal!

What about some zoom lenses? Well, the zoom lens can be a great option but there is one catch. To get a good zoom lens, which can take a super sharp photo is expensive. Wanna keep it cheap?

Whole table photo
This photo was taken with a phone camera. Apple? No, that's not an apple, that's lemon you moron.

Say no more fam. Your choice should be 50mm 'nifty-fifty' lens, which are the cheapest lenses on the market. Start with this one and save some bangs for your first macro lens. maybe your joy to food photography will die before that, and you can spend money on drugs or something. Cool, right.

kad kokoa bangkok
It is easier to start with close shots than stepping back and take whole scenes. This shot was taken with 50mm on 3/4 camera for our unforgettable

Why Start Food Photography?

Are you introvert? If yes, this is a great hobby for you. Mom will make your sandwiches as your "art subjects" and you will take photos of them. Joke aside, this can be a great hobby. And who knows, one day it might be your career. If you love eating good food, have a good eye for compositions, travel a lot, have rich parents or you're simply bored, just go with it. Start your blog like we did and take photos.

Antidote Singapore
Food Photography is a nice hobby which can grow to a more expensive hobby :).

Ask your neighbor chef if you can take photos of him while he will make falafels. If he is acting creepy and taking down his pants go home. Ask your mom to make some comfort food and take photos. If you are unlucky and your modern mom can make only the microwave shit, start by yourself. Find some recipes and prepare that dish. Take a photo and after all, you can make your own version of the recipe, just change warm water with luke water and voila.
Nobu afternoon tea Kuala Lumpur review
If you have a friend chef just ask him to take a few photos with him.

Can You Make Money as a Food Photographer?

The biggest question - how much can one earn with food photography? The answer is from zero to hero, my friends. This depends on you and your skills. Not just photography skills here comes business skills as well. Anyway, food photography is a kinda future-proofed business, for sure. Restaurants are competing lately on the internet and not in the kitchen. Every good restaurant needs a PR-media guy-photographer all in one. Usually, they are paying for photos, but there are many dishes to be photographed. Don't be afraid, competition might be harsh but there are a lot of bad photographers already making money. So, why not take a share?

rustic dish bangkok
Can you make money with food photography? If you will be good there is a future. Restaurants are spending a lot on their social media...

My Sandwich Still Looks Like Shit

So you know how to make a great photo and your skills are "damn", but your sandwich is still like the Kim Kardashians apartment. Here comes the biggest catch - food styling. This business opened another position and you should master some of these as well. Any food photography tip here? Yes, get inspired! Check Instagram, Pinterest, books, good restaurant sites. "I see what you did with your salad", Ramsey. Get a feeling for beauty. Food should look tasty and inviting in all aspects.

It doesn't need to be only expensive food for food photography...

Look around. Maybe your mom is freaking Dali of food styling just her iPhone is making her some serious problems. Team-up and make it happen!

... it can be free, waiting for you in the forest.

What's Next?

That's it for today. I must edit some photos and my dog's bladder must be on the bridge of bursting. Next time we will go deeper, compositions, angles, editing, tricks and voodoo magic in food photography. If you are looking for a food photographer, contact us. "Hire a food photographer and give him food" is our moto. But seriously, maybe we are wandering near you and we can make your food talk "eat me, daddy".

Metropole Hanoi High Tea
Compositions, angles and magic tricks for the next Food Photography Tips article. >

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