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How to photograph food and drinks like a pro.

We have all been that person with our mouths wide open, dribbling at the food porn that lies before us on social. Learn the art of composition, lighting, and styling to create mouthwatering images that showcase your culinary creations in their most appetising and Instagram-worthy form.

Food photography is an art form that requires a keen eye, attention to detail, and a dash of culinary appreciation. From Instagram influencers to professional photographers hired by top magazines, capturing the perfect shot of a dish or drink has become an essential skill in today’s visual-centric world. Whether you’re an aspiring photographer or someone interested in the hospitality industry, understanding the intricacies of food photography can give you an edge. In this blog, we’ll delve into the methods and tricks employed by top food photography agencies to create stunning, mouth-watering images.

1. Lighting is Everything

Ask any professional in a food photography agency, and they’ll tell you that lighting can make or break your photograph. Natural lighting is the gold standard. Position your food near a window, but avoid direct sunlight as it can produce harsh shadows. Overhead lights, commonly found in kitchens or restaurants, can flatten the appearance of the dish. Instead, consider using reflectors to bounce light back onto the dish, highlighting its textures and colours.

Did you know? According to a study by MIT, lighting can drastically affect a viewer’s perception of food, making it appear more or less appetizing1.

2. Composition and Angles

When you browse through the portfolios of any reputable food photography agency, you’ll notice the impeccable composition. The rule of thirds is commonly employed, where the frame is divided into nine equal segments. By positioning the primary elements of the dish along these lines, photographers can create a balanced and visually pleasing image.

Angles play a significant role too. Overhead shots work best for dishes with multiple components, like pizzas or salads. For drinks or tall dishes, a side angle can capture its height and layers. Always consider the dish’s unique attributes and what you wish to emphasize before choosing your angle.

3. Styling and Props

Even the most delectable dish can look unappealing without proper styling. Professionals often work with food stylists to ensure every plate looks its best. Tiny details, like a sprinkle of herbs or a drizzle of sauce, can transform your photo.

Props are equally essential. While the dish should remain the hero, background elements such as cutlery, textiles, or complementary ingredients can elevate the image. However, remember that props should enhance, not overshadow the food.

A fascinating stat: As per a report by Visual Objects, 44% of business owners say product images (which includes food) are the most critical type of content on their website2.

4. Post-Processing

Like all forms of photography, post-processing is where the magic truly comes alive. Food photographers often tweak colour balances to make dishes pop, adjust sharpness for clearer details, and retouch any imperfections. However, it’s essential to maintain the authenticity of the dish. Overly edited photos can look fake and unappetizing.

5. Collaborate with the Experts

When in doubt, turn to the pros. Food photography agencies specialize in this niche and can provide invaluable insights, from selecting the best lens to recommending props.

For those in the hospitality sector, considering collaborating with a hospitality marketing agency can further amplify your efforts. Not only can they assist with photography, but they can also help you strategize your brand’s digital presence.

The People Agency: Your Specialist Digital Marketing Partner

Speaking of experts, The People Agency stands out as a leading figure in the digital marketing world. With a presence spanning across London and Dubai, they are a one-stop solution for restaurants, bars, hotels, and more.

In the age of digitization, having a robust online strategy is paramount. The People Agency’s proficiency extends beyond captivating food photography. They excel in social strategy, ensuring your brand makes a mark in the bustling digital landscape. Moreover, their expertise in SEO guarantees your brand remains visible amidst the sea of competitors. And if that wasn’t enough, their prowess in website design ensures your online portal is both functional and aesthetic.

In essence, The People Agency amalgamates the art of food photography with the science of digital marketing, making them an invaluable ally for any establishment in the hospitality sector.


  1. MIT News. “How lighting can influence our perception of food.”
  2. Visual Objects. “How Businesses Use Visual Content.”
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