12 Food styling tips tricks and hacks from the experts
Photography

12 Food Styling Tips, Tricks and Hacks: food photography experts show you how

Food styling and photography is an art we love at Women Creating. Show us an artist who makes our mouths water with drool worthy cakes, rustic homemade cookies or a gourmet meal and we’re absolutely going to hit them up for a feature on our Instagram hub. Have you ever wondered how they do it? After a series of our own so-so food images snapped at restaurants and cafes we decided to hit up four of our favourite food styling experts for the low down on how to get the perfect shot every time. Check out their twelve top tips, hacks and tricks for levelling up your food photography below.

Find your Food Styling Flair with Amy Minichiello

The rustic food styling of Amy Minichiello is guaranteed to take you back to your childhood. Memories of cookies wafting their delicious scent through homes, grandmother’s hands working dough in the morning light. Her Instagram gallery is a collection of recipes and warmth wrapped in the gentle beauty of her images. Here’s Amy’s top three food styling tips

homemade chocolate cookies on vintage plates - Rustic food styling photography
1. Technical tip: If you use your phone camera make sure you have the grid turned on. In settings it gives you the option of the grid on or off. Have it on to line up what you want the eye to be drawn to first. Slightly offset to the left or right so the main element (be that a piece of cake, fruit, a spoon or a book) is sitting in the middle of one of the points where the lines intersect. This creates more interest too. Natural light, either morning or afternoon, is best and learning how to use an editing tool like Lightroom can really make your finished creation extra special.

Image credit: @amy_minichiello

Homemade brownies food styling photography with vintage server
2. Find your style: Look through cookbooks, magazines, Instagram and Pinterest. They are all wonderful forms of inspiration. Take notice of what catches your eye and what is it about those images that makes you want to look at them over and over again. Is it the colours? The mood? The angles? I love flat lays as they allow me to tell my story in a way that is like painting a picture on a blank canvas. They also allow for some sneaky hand shots too, which creates interest and warmth. Once you have found a style that you love then practice, practice, practice. You never stop learning and that’s what keeps it so exciting.

Image credit: @amy_minichiello

 

rustic food styling vintage cutlery
3. Rustic Style: Op-shops are a treasure trove for vintage wares. China plates, bowls, platters and cutlery that have that beautiful patina. Knowing that they have quite possibly had one or two homes before adds a story. Which for me, makes them even more special.

Image credit: @amy_minichiello

Food Styling Sensory Explosions with Lauren Sadler

Lauren has a knack for bringing the full sensory experience to her food styling and photography. Her website & Instagram images draw you into the meal right along with her. Her work at the Hungry Lens is about as close to a scratch and sniff full body experience as you’ll get when it comes to the art of photographing food. Here’s Lauren’s top three tips for bringing your viewer along for the ride:

runny eggs on toast food styling photography
1. Joy in Motion: My first tip is something I call getting “progressively messy”. If your ultimate aim is to get a photo of a dish that requires some form of destruction (think burst egg yolks, or the filling gushing out of a chocolate fondant), be sure to photograph the dish from several angles while it’s still whole. Sure, that ooze might be the money shot, but should the fondant be overcooked (gasp!), at least you have images of the complete dish (and nobody needs know about the overcooking!). So be sure to shoot that dish whole, get an action shot of the spoon poised for destruction, and finally of the magic moment of delicious mess (fingers crossed).

Image credit: The Hungry Lens

food styling preparation in stainless steel kitchen
2. Behind the Scenes Authenticity: Don’t be afraid to go behind the scenes and photograph a dish during production – the fresh ingredients being chopped, dollops of deliciousness being piped on the plate, sauces being poured, that crème brulee being blow torched, cheese being sprinkled on top.

Image credit: The Hungry Lens

Seafood food styling crustaceans in shell with garnish
3. Technical Tip: Get down level with your food. Flat lays are very popular at the moment but I think the full glory of many dishes (except really flat ones) can only be captured by shooting straight through at table height. Experiment with filling the rest of the table with little details (e.g drinks and cutlery) and shoot through (or past) to focus on the main event.

Image credit: The Hungry Lens

Nail the Aesthetic with Bella Karragiannidis

From a a small Greek island in the Aegean sea Bella has perfected simple and beautiful food styling. Her blog takes you on mouth watering stroll through the homemade delights of her recipes. You’re sure to get lost on her Instagram feed for hours. She has a wonderful way of presenting fresh ingredients all in Greek Island style. We adore the way she weaves the story of her home into the story of her food. Here’s Bella’s top three food styling tips for a stunning aesthetic:

diagonal food styling tips
1. Use diagonals & triangles to build compelling compositions: when you use diagonals & triangles in your food photography, your compositions will have more interest and intrigue

Image credit: @ful.filled

Yogurt and quince compote food styling white dishes on marble bench
2. Think about colour: Whether you are shooting a light image or a dark image, colour is the foundation. Take time to study colour theory, learning what colours compliment and contrast with each other. This knowledge will help guide you as you make decisions about which backdrops & props to use.

Image credit: @ful.filled

Food photography collection of ingredients
3. Embrace shadows: shadows are just as important as the subject of your image – they enhance the texture and add dimension. The angle and direction of shadows can greatly effect the final look of your image.

Image credit: @ful.filled

Getting Technical – Food Photography with Naomi Sherman

Dark moody deliciousness is how we describe the food photography of Naomi. The woman is a power house of food styling talent and does bright whites and healthy glow equally well. One of the many things we love about her work is the way it invites us to take a seat at her table. Her website is full of food styling inspo and recipes to try. And if technical isn’t your strength never fear, Naomi has put together a set of Lightroom presets to help you on your way. Naomi shares her top three tips for nailing the technicalities:

Homemade donuts on wire cooler - rustic food styling with wide aperture
1. Shoot wide open: 90% of my work is shot at f4.5 or wider. Just be sure that you’re not so wide that your image becomes confused. Try a few different shots until you get the perfect number.

Image credit: Naomi Sherman

Foodstyling overhead shot of cake in diffused light
2. Avoid harsh shadows: Use a diffuser to avoid harsh shadows. I most frequently shoot directly beneath the window of my studio, with a large diffuser over the window

Image credit: Naomi Sherman

food styling image of stew with napkin and garnish
3. Create interest: Use layers, textures, colour and height to create interest. In nearly all of my work I use multiple props to create a framework for the star of the shot. Napkins, trays, racks, cutlery and garnishes all play an important role.

Image credit: Naomi Sherman

That’s a wrap (pun intended). So get out there and start levelling up your food styling photography. Tag us on Instagram @womencreating if you use any of our experts tips so we can check out your results. Got tips of your own? Share them below in the comments.

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