Food Photography 101 - With Foodchic Photographer

posted on: Friday, October 31, 2008

A couple months ago I found Wendy's Foodchic shop and fell in love with her pictures. They are simple, clean, and beautiful. This week she is sponsoring the weekly giveaway and also sharing some of her talent with us. Read the interview below to understand a little more about food photography and how you can improve your skills.

How did you become interested in food photography?
I’ve always cataloged special moments by the food that was consumed during them. First date – Taco Bell (ugh.) First time in France – Paella, chocolate mousse and wine at Flunch. Honeymoon – mussels, homemade yogurt, beef consume with truffle oil. First child – giant chocolate chip cookie at 2am.
So the switch to photographing food in my life came quite naturally when I was getting my MFA in photography from SCAD. No money for props, I raided my pantry and viola – a food photographer was born.
What food item are your favorite to shoot and why?
Chocolate is my favorite to eat, but fruit is my favorite to photograph. It reflects light so well and cooperates in any lighting and temperature.

What kind of equipment do you use?
Camera: I’m totally digital now – fast results, especially important with food that melts! I’m shooting everything with either a Canon digital Elph point and shoot (on macro setting) or with my Canon Rebel.
Lighting: I love sunlight and rarely use artificial light sources.
If you live in a low-light area, I suggest checking out the article by Making It Lovely on how to shoot products with Daylight Balanced light bulbs.
Other props/tools: Smooth drawing paper in big sheets, a plastic dollar-store mirror, white ceramics, water, powdered sugar, linen, a very sharp long knife.
Bonus: An Apple computer sure makes a difference. The program iPhoto that comes with all computers is so easy to edit with, that adding photos to your blog is a breeze!
What are your photo tips for food bloggers?
Four things seem to make all the difference in food photography. And all are easy for any level of photographer.

1.Make sure the food looks delicious.
When choosing fruits and foods, make sure there are no bruises, damaged or dried out pieces. If you are photographing cookies or brownies, under cook then just slightly. And if you cut an item, do so with a sharp, smooth knife, so the cut looks clean.
Also, if you know how to use the macro (flower) setting on your camera, you will be able to blur the background and draw attention to the delicious item even more. Here’s what to do: Make sure your camera is not zoomed at all. Then press the flower button until it shows up on your screen. Then get as close in as you can with it in focus and take a shot. If the item shows up blurry, back up a tiny bit or try to get more light on the item (see below.)

2.Keep it simple.
Try to place the object off center just slightly. It will make the object look more appealing (a trick of the brain a lot of artists know called rule of thirds or the golden mean.)

Use white or solid backgrounds that enhance the food colors. I like to use a white drawing paper or a nicely ironed piece of natural colored linen. They allow the colors and textures of the food to stand out.

3. Use props sparingly.
I try to stay with natural or white dishes, so food stands out, not my serving dish. A single spoon, a napkin or more food blurred in the background can add that special touch that makes viewers crave your food!

Finally, 4. Light it right.
Here is where the ho-hum photos start to zing. Use either natural light or a set of daylight bulbs like mentioned above. You’ll end up with nice white light and a beautiful image. If you need to put a little extra highlight on your item, try using a dollar store plastic mirror. I like rectangular ones with clear edges (no colors) so they will stand up with something propping them up from behind if needed.

(Without highlight form mirror)

(With highlight from mirror)

How to set things up:
Here’s my typical set-up using window light at the brightest time of day,
a large piece of drawing paper as a backdrop and my little mirror for highlights:

More questions? Feel free to send a comment to my blog at and I’ll be happy to help you one-on-one!


  1. Great interview and what a great idea to address this topic! Thanks Damaris and thanks Foodchic!

  2. Thanks for this article and the introduction to Foodchic. For me, photography is equally important (if not more) to editorial in food blogging. It captures the reader in an instant.

  3. Wow. This is timely. For me, anyway. I take such crappy food pics. Thanks for the info!

  4. THANK YOU for this post Damaris!!

  5. Just wanted to report that based on this article, I went out and bought 'daylight' bulbs. It really makes a difference over thanks again.

  6. I need to get some daylight bulbs as well, especially since it will now probably rain and stay gray till April.

    I'm glad you all liked this article. Foodchic is great huh?!

  7. This was really cool and even gave me some ideas for non food related pics! I cannot wait to give them a try! Great interview!

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