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So you want to be a food photographer, but you have no idea where to start? Don’t panic! While the art of making food look appetizing is a skill that takes time to cultivate, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure your photographs come out looking good enough to eat.

Lighting

The easiest, most efficient, number one thing you can to improve your food photography is by shooting in natural light. What does that mean? It means turning off your flash and shooting in daylight hours instead of under fluorescent lighting. Admittedly, this can be tricky! Many food bloggers also have traditional day jobs, and once the days start getting shorter, finding time to take pictures might not be the highest on your list of priorities. With that in mind, using sunlight is still bound to get you the best results with the most minimal effort, and well worth it.

Alternatively, maybe you have the time, but you’re getting too much direct sunlight with the layout of your home. (Find yourself a gauzy, white curtain or plain white sheet if that’s the case!) Direct sunlight creates too much of a glare and makes the food look two-dimensional, which is the complete opposite of what you’re trying to achieve. Get to know where you’ll be shooting, be it your home, or a restaurant, and figure out what space provides the most natural light and gentle shadow. There’s a balance, and with practice, you’ll find it!

Composition

For those new to photography in general, the composition is just the official term for how you lay out everything in the picture. Your kitchen alone is filled with props to play around with, and visually stimulating backgrounds to photograph your food against. Uncooked ingredients, garnishes, patterned plates, and cool backgrounds all add to the composition of your photograph, and you want to find a way to make them look coordinated Every picture is different, and every food item you wish to photograph needs something different, depending on what you want the audience to focus on while viewing.

Be it a plain background, starch white, with your baked good or meal popping out, or a photograph of several different dishes grouped together, you want the picture to work together to tell a story.

Practice

It takes time to get good at something! Every food photographer had to start out somewhere, so don’t feel too discouraged if your first picture doesn’t come out perfect on the first try. Like I mentioned above, finding the right lighting might not come right away. Your editing software knowledge might not be where you want it to be. Your composition might be too busy. There will be plenty of trial and error, and that’s perfectly okay. That’s how you learn! Keep playing around with your materials and see what works best for you. This is a great way to develop your own artistic style and make your photography unique. Stay excited, stay passionate, and keep working. You’ll absolutely get where you want to be.

There are plenty of established food blogs, YouTube tutorials, podcasts, you name it, already devoted to helping the food blogging and photography community because they love what they do. If there’s something specific you want to try but don’t know how to start? Someone probably knows, and already posted about it, just waiting for you to find them.