Home and Living

5 Tips on Setting the Scene for Your Food Photo

We share some top food styling tips to make sure each dish you plate looks picture perfect.

Maeve Sheridan (who has worked with the likes of Eataly, Refinery 29, Nylon and more) to share some of her top food styling tips to make sure each dish you plate looks picture perfect.

Unless you zoom in, chances are your image is going to feature more than the food itself. We’ve already showed you some photography tips—now learn how to make what you’ve cooked stand out against a background.

A peek into a dedicated prop warehouse.

1. Keep it simple
Your culinary masterpiece should always be the star. It’s good to show personality, but you don’t want your scene to be too busy. If you haven’t, invest in nice ceramics without a glaze. The plates and dishes will absorb light well, so the attention won’t be taken away from your food.

2. Know your colors
If you want your food to really pop on camera, stick to neutral and cooler tones in the surfaces you shoot on. Also, make sure that you avoid harsh patterns that would draw attention from the dish. Any linen you choose should act as an accent that helps balance the composition of the photograph. Homespun, knobby or gauzy linens help to add interesting visual texture.

3. It’s okay to be shallow
You want to be able to properly see the dish you’ve prepared. If you’re using a bowl, pick a shallow vessel that has some flair, but has enough width that you can see what’s inside.

4. Size matters
Tall, intricate wine glasses are lovely, but thin, short glasses are favorable for photos. Including something like a juice glass will highlight your food better, as everything will be on the same plane as opposed to creating a weird optical illusion that makes your food seem smaller.

Maeve at work.

5. Skip the shine
To create a serene and beautiful setting, avoid ornate flatware that has a lot of shine. If you can, find vintage silverware, as it’s likely going to look a thousand times nicer and have more character than a freshly bought spoon.

Feeling confident and ready to start showcasing your best food photography? Don’t forget to enter our Illustrate My Plate contest, where you can submit your food photos for a chance to have them illustrated by our creative director Paulina Reyes.


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