General Musing

[Guest post III] : Tips for Pastry Photography

Hi folks! To kick start 2015, we have invited Bethany Cleg to contribute an article on tips for pastry photography!

And now, with out further ado … let’s sit back and enjoy the post!


The “food picture” is as almost as infamous as the “selfie.” We see pictures of delicious edibles on instagram feeds all day. But how do people get their food to look so tasty? If you had just eaten one of the best burgers of your life, you are going to want people to pick up on its amazingness just from the picture right?

Well the truth is there are some tips and tricks to make those food pictures look much better. Whether you run a food blog, bakery, a fine restaurant or just wanna socially share your meals taking better food pictures is a skill that is surprisingly valuable. So without further delay…

Don’t use your phone. (If possible)

Dont use phone

Most of the really good pictures you see on instagram were not taken with the camera on the phone. This may be disheartening to the social food photographer but to those that run food based businesses this is a given. You don’t always have to have expensive gear to take good pictures but it does help.  At the very least a decent DLSR with a couple high end lenses will go along way.

Lighting is a big deal as well (we will touch on that in a later point) but having some lighting gear will help you get that perfect pic. If you can use something besides your phone to take the picture and then after editing use that picture as “if” you took it on your phone.

If you dont have anything better than your phone but you want quality the phone doesn’t provide try renting some gear. I personally live in australia and use this camera and lighting hire site. Try before you buy is always a good idea. If you are thinking about purchasing a DSLR for your food pictures and your not sure if its worth upgrading compared to your phone, there is a good guide here to help you make that decision.

Consider Your Angle

Akin to the above tip, don’t just whip out your phone and snap a pic real fast. If you’re at a restaurant and you are wanting to be “sluth” and don’t want the couple next to you snickering at your OCD over a food picture then learn to not care. They will forget about you but your picture will live on forever on the web. Even better, take the time to whip out your camera, arrange the table, the silverware, and your angle for the perfect shot. It doesn’t take long and if anyone looks at you weird its just because they are jealous your food pics are better than theirs.

Top Down

Top Down Food
This is by far the most popular type of food shot, because if you can get high enough and frame the pic right it always looks really classy. Yes I have stood up on my chair in a restaurant to get a picture of the table. And yes it was totally worth it.

Macro Food
If you can’t get a good angle or a birds eye view, the go to shot is the close up. Even with your phone (most have a macro mode) you can get a nice focus on some close up element. Maybe its the perfectly crusted cheese over some noodles, or the texture of spices on a slab of meat, but rest assured anything up close and detailed is going to look good.


How do you get that great lighting mentioned above? Usually, it’s totally dependent on your location. Luckily restaurants usually have good lighting by nature. If you have a picture in mind ask the hostess to sit you by a window or under a canopy light. This being said you want to avoid intense direct light because that is going to blow your photo out. Also never use a phone flash when you’re taking the picture. If there is no way you can find any light, use the flashlight app from another phone to brighten up the shot.  But do not use a camera flash, that direct light flattens just about any photo picture.


Focus Food

Along with close up shots, you are going to naturally have a heavy focus. Food looks larger than life and more delicious when other elements are blurred and out of focus while the food glistens in perfect detail salivating the taste buds.


Props Food

While your future viewer probably will only notice it on a subconscious level, the choice of your tablecloth/surface, dishes, plates, silverware and cutlery all subtly contribute to the mood and success of your shot. Also you yourself can be a prop. Swapping out your look, glasses, necklaces, clothing, and expression all can make your picture different and better. If you don’t have glasses I have been known to use this virtual glasses app to add fake glasses to my “food selfies”

There are some easy tips to try out, hopefully you capture that perfect food picture.

This post is contributed by Bethany Cleg. You may contact her @ for enquiry in regards to the above post! =)

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