Learn How to Photograph Food With These Easy Tips
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Learn How to Photograph Food With These Easy Tips

Learn How to Photograph Food With These Easy Tips

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of California Restaurant Month. All opinions are 100% mine.

One of my favorite things to do is to eat.

I’m totally being serious and I’m totally not embarrassed to admit it (well maybe just a little embarrassed). Living in California I have so many different choices of foods and restaurants to eat at and I feel totally lucky to have all these options. When I find something amazing I always want to share it with others and I’ve learned a few really easy tips over the years to help me photograph food so that others can see how awesome it is. I’m so excited to share these tips with you all!


The number on tip I’ve learned is that it is all about the lighting, so always start there.

This photo was taken at home about an hour before the sun sets. I can almost always get a good shot in this spot, at this time of day. So if you are taking a picture at home find your go-to spot and your best time of day to take the picture. I used my “big camera” aka a DSLR for this photo, so that helps too!

how to photograph food

The same is true when taking photos at restaurants.

When I’m hired to attend an event and share pictures of the food I always arrive a bit early and I look for the best lighting and then I ask to sit there. I also plan ahead and research when the sun is setting to make sure that I will have plenty of light. I’m not a professional photographer by any means and that is actually one of the reasons why I’m hired. My photos look real… like someone is just about to eat the food. Remember that it’s not always about taking perfect pictures. This shot was also taken with my DSLR.

how to take pictures of food at restaurants

This is where it gets really fun!

I love taking pictures with my phone. These are the pictures that really matter to most of us because it’s not always practical to carry around a huge camera and lens. Here are my tips to capture the best pictures on your cell phone…. starting from the upper left.

1. This picture was taken at a great little Italian restaurant in Monterey. I was just about to take a bite of the garlic bread when I decided I had to share it first. The bread is all out of alignment and the sauce is messy. I had so many messages from people asking where to get this bread because the photo looked inviting.

2. and 3. Theme park food is always a hit. These ones don’t even need captions because they are so well known… they both evoked emotional responses. I also made good use of the backgrounds to tell a story. I wonder how many trips to Disneyland were planned after seeing these?

4.  This was awesome light even though it wasn’t natural. Did you know that some restaurants are taking lighting into consideration so people can share their meals with the best possible looks? Pretty cool! If you can’t find natural light try to sit as close to the main light source as possible.

5. That pasta! I was able to get a shot of it right next to the window to block the wind and I loved the way the bread was presented. Look for “already there” features to share, like the way it’s served or a natural swirl to the meal. There are often elements that photograph really well, you just have to get creative and look for them.

6. I love food in action and people enjoying it. My daughter had always wanted to try fresh milk straight from a coconut and I was able to capture the moment.

7.I love shots taken from above. They show the whole picture. What else was on the table that set the mood? Where were you? So much can be learned with these shots.

8. If you really want to take a picture that gets a good reaction don’t worry much about anything but the subject itself. Sweets are always a hit! These last two pictures are of Ghirardelli ice cream overlooking the Pacific Ocean and vegan donuts. Both of these were super popular because they are dream eats. Something that almost everyone dreams of trying at least ones.


This is a great time to get out there and live some of your own food dreams! January is California Restaurant Month and you can enjoy month-long restaurant specials! Check out all the Participating Destinations to find some new favorite places to enjoy a meal.

Be sure to enter the Dine On Us In CA Contest on the “VisitCalifornia” Facebook page.  Visit California and California Restaurant Month are giving away five OpenTable gift cards, each valued at $100.

What is your favorite restaurant?

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