How To Mix And Match Photography Backdrops

Curious about photography backdrops and how to mix them in your food photography work? There are a number of ways you can mix and match backdrops and I hope my ideas will give you a creative boost for your work!

Curious about photography backdrops and how to mix them in your food photography work? There are a number of ways you can mix and match backdrops and I hope my ideas will give you a creative boost for your work!

*This post is sponsored. All opinions are my own.*

Let’s face it, once you start building your backdrop collection you start facing the issue of how to pair them. The options are literally endless however not everything works in every situation.

So I gathered a list of ideas and tips to spark your creative fire, try new combinations, and be comfortable doing so.

While doing so I tested my new food photography backdrops from V-flat. It’s the first time I tried backdrops with a stand or as they call it Duo legs. I was always used to either leaning the backdrop on the wall or clipping it to a stand. However, I found the legs to be very useful, especially since I’m often playing around with my artificial light and I can very easily put the light behind the backdrop if need be. Which is something I wouldn’t be able to do if I lean the backdrop to a wall.

So before we go to the tips and creative ideas, I just wanted to mention that all the photos in this post are made with the V-flat duo boards, and you can see how easy it is to set them up and mix and match them. Not to mention that they don’t curl like vinyl. I love and appreciate my vinyl backdrops, but these boards saved me time in editing (no curly edges in the photos, no-no). 

Without further ado…

Here are my creative ideas and tips in a nutshell:

1. Mixing and matching different colors

2. Mixing and matching smooth and rough textures

3. Mixing and matching patterns vs. no patterns

4. Mixing photography backdrops to create space

5. Mixing photography backdrops to create dynamics

6. Play of light & mixing photography backdrops

7. Mixing and matching backdrops to fit the story

1. Mixing and matching different colors

This is probably the most common technique and while it’s easy to mix two backdrops with similar colors, choosing two different colors can create a lovely feel and mood in your photo.

To really know which two {or more} colors to choose, we need to understand color theory. Since this is such a broad topic, we won’t go too deep. I suggest reading some art books or simply searching for them online and you should get a basic idea.

But whatever you do, always keep the food the star!

2. Mixing and matching smooth and rough textures

By smooth I mean a texture without a lot of visible bumps whereas by rough I mean a texture that has a very pronounced bump effect or pattern.

You can absolutely mix those two together, however, you need to be careful about a couple of things:

  • carefully choose the colors based on what we discussed in the previous section
  • it’s better to choose food with the opposite texture. Meaning, that if your subject is a very textured salad it might not work on a highly textured backdrop. In this case, you need to place the salad in a way where it has minimal interaction with the textured and more interaction with the smooth backdrop.

3. Mixing and matching patterns vs. no patterns

This is very similar to the previous creative idea, however in this case the texture is much more pronounced and looks more geometric hence – the pattern.

You need to watch the same things as above {so go ahead and read it if you haven’t yet}.

In comparison to simple but textured backdrops patterns are so much heavier in visual weight. This means that pairing them with highly textured foods is usually not a good idea. Choosing simpler and more uniform subjects is a better way to approach patterned backdrops.

Pairing them with a smoother photography backdrop makes it easier for the eye to process everything happening in the photo, so I encourage you to try it out and see the effect.

4. Mixing photography backdrops to create space

You can think of your backdrops as a vessel to create space. If it’s a flat lay it’s creating a feeling of a table or any other flat surface.

If you combine the two, you can give a sense of a familiar space. We are used to seeing floor and wall interact all around or a countertop and a wall interact in a kitchen.

But you can go even beyond that. Combining more than two photography backdrops is certainly possible. If you take a look at the example photo below, you’ll see how adding that extra backdrop on the left created a mystical feel {almost like whatever is behind is a secret}!

Before you choose a backdrop for your next photoshoot thinks about the space you want to create and what backdrops you can use and how many to make the viewer feel like they are in that space.

5. Mixing photography backdrops to create dynamics

Let’s talk more about the space we are creating with backdrops. Placing backdrops at certain angles can create beautiful diagonals and adds another dimension to a photo.

It’s very easy to get stuck in placing one backdrop behind another and set up that line between them to be perfectly horizontal. It’s just very logical. However, once you start to think about the backdrops as not only how they look, but how they can add to the flow in the composition, you’ll start to see that it can have a massive effect on how your photos look.

Think creating diagonals, triangles, placing one backdrop on top of another… the options are endless!

6. Play of light & mixing photography backdrops

Playing with light is one of the most exciting things about food photography if you ask me. I often like to play with hard light and shadows to create an interesting effect in my photos.

However, there is something crucial that can make or break a photo with a shadow play, when you are mixing different backdrops at the same time. Adding strong shadows to an already busy backdrop can become distracting very easily. That’s why I prefer having a strong shadow effect on the less busy backdrop. Just like you can see in the photo below.

7. Mixing and matching backdrops to fit the story

It goes without saying (although I’m saying it right now) that anything you put inside the scene needs to match the story you are telling. 

Including photography backdrops! Imagine those white tiles in the photo below to be black. 

Do you see how that would not fit the story of early morning breakfast? The photo would lose its freshness. 

And imagine if I used a green backdrop below and a purple one in the back. While the color combination might somehow work, the story would be completely crushed.

Never stop exploring photography backdrops and their combinations

Hope you enjoyed these tips and ideas for combining different backdrops. Now let’s roll up the sleeves and go practice, because practice makes perfect, as they say.

One thing you should never stop is trusting your own feeling and explore new options.

Let me know in the comments what are some of your favorite photography backdrop combinations!

Critiquing Your Food Photos (+ My Own)

Learn how easy it is critiquing your food photos and watch me critique mine and see what improvements I could have done to improve them.

I'm back with a few of my old photos, which I'm not too happy about. In general, I like the look of them, but there's a lot that could be improved. You can watch it right here below.

Hi everyone, I’m back with a few of my old photos, which I’m not too happy about. In general, I like the look of them, but there’s a lot that could be improved. You can watch it right here below.

And if you know me, you know how I like talking about reading your images, which is also something I dive into with my Food To Frame students a lot more.

Knowing what mistakes you made in your photos is the ultimate key to success. If you never go back and review your old photos, you’re missing out on so much growth! Seriously, after reading these and watching the video, go over your photos and find a few you’re not happy about and try to pinpoint those areas where it’s lacking. Things that you could change to tell your food story much better or make your dish stand out.

The three key components of critiquing your food photos are:

1. Looking at what is the distraction in the photo

Think of distractions like procrastination. When you’re procrastinating, you’re trying to do everything else but your task, right? It’s very similar here. Distractions are everything that makes it difficult to see the main subject because you’re focusing on everything else. This could be a subject that’s too bold, it might be poor editing, or the light not being there.

If you pinpoint the distractions, you’re already halfway there!

2. Checking out the placement of your main subject and all the supporting elements

Placement is crucial in photography. When you’re reading your images, make sure to check whether the position of your elements makes sense. Both in terms of its position in relation to the frame and to the other elements in the photo.

3. Thinking of solutions

This might be the hardest one.

Okay, you know what’s wrong with your photo, but how do you know how to fix that?

It might take some trial and error, but in general, I’d start with the opposite.

Let’s say you realized your photo is too dark. The solution is obvious, right? Go with the opposite and make it lighter.

With some mistakes, it might be a bit tricky and the solution will not be so straightforward.

Let’s say your photo angle is wrong for that dish. How can you fix that? There aren’t just two possible angles to shoot from, so you actually need to think about the dish and the angle at which it looks the best. In case you ever encounter that problem, I actually have a guide on camera angles ready.

In these cases, you need to dive deeper into critiquing your food photos and learn more about the subject. And what I also find useful is checking out photos of other photographers which might give you the solution.

Make sure to also read How To Read Food Photos To Improve Your Food Photography + A Case Study! to learn more in-depth photo reading techniques.

Repetition in Food Photography: Breaking the Pattern

Following the pattern is a natural thing to do, but breaking the pattern is what makes the food photo truly stand out!

Following the pattern is a natural thing to do, but breaking the pattern is what makes the food photo truly stand out!

I’ve talked about creating a Symmetrical repetition in one of my previous articles and symmetrical composition is something very beautiful and natural. But when it comes to repetition I think the king of repetition is the inconsistency – the breaking of the pattern.

Our eyes are quite used to seeing patterns and they seem very natural, safe and pleasant to look at. However, when it comes to drawing the eyes to your photo, there’s probably no better thing but to make that pattern just a little bit off. This is something that sparks up questions and makes us think about the photo.

Okay, let’s talk a bit about something that might sound completely off-topic, but here it is. The main subject. A photo should in almost all cases have a main subject. That one element where not only the focus (in the technical term) lies but also the focal point where our eyes are drawn to. And introducing the breaking of the pattern does just that. It brings attention to that one particular part of the photo.

Through a few examples, I’m going to show you a few ideas you can integrate into your photos with patterns to make that one subject pop a little bit more and make it the focal point of the frame.

Examples of breaking the pattern

Following the pattern is a natural thing to do, but breaking the pattern is what makes the food photo truly stand out!

The photo above is a very classical representation of a photo with a pattern. The way I broke the pattern here was in two ways. First of all, not all the elements are placed in the same way. So even though there are repeating elements in the frame, it’s not overly graphical. And secondly I chose to place two popsicles one over the other for the purpose of breaking the pattern. You can see how this part of the photo now carries a little bit more visual weight and draws the attention.

Following the pattern is a natural thing to do, but breaking the pattern is what makes the food photo truly stand out!

So in this brownie photo, I did a very similar thing to in the previous photo. Brownies, although amazingly delicious, can look flat and boring quickly, especially when they are laid flat onto the surface. So how did I solve the problem with the boring pattern formed by how the brownies were cut?

I simply turned one of the brownies to the sides. So this way I created the focal point of the photo and what is more, I showcased the insides of the brownie which is always a good thing!

Following the pattern is a natural thing to do, but breaking the pattern is what makes the food photo truly stand out!

Something similar happens here. We have the spring rolls that are forming this linear pattern, but then that one roll that is cut open shows a different shape – a circular one – breaking the pattern along the way. This is probably the easiest thing to do in food photography – cutting something to break the pattern by introducing another shape.

Following the pattern is a natural thing to do, but breaking the pattern is what makes the food photo truly stand out!

In food photography, we are often faced with patterns, that we might not even notice. Like in the example of this tiramisu here. The way the cookies are stacked creates a pattern in the dish. However, you can take it a step further. Here I piped the cream in a way that also created an interesting pattern, so I basically made a mix of two patterns. The second one breaking the other one in a very natural way.

Following the pattern is a natural thing to do, but breaking the pattern is what makes the food photo truly stand out!

Produce photos are a great example of how you can introduce patterns and also how you can break the pattern. I have mostly round shapes in this photo of oranges. However, I cut a few pieces in a different way. I placed one of them in a very bright spot. Note how much variety and playfulness just one irregular shape brings to a photo.

Following the pattern is a natural thing to do, but breaking the pattern is what makes the food photo truly stand out!

Now, this beautiful radicchio, even though incredibly beautiful and delicious, was not the easiest subject to shoot. It made a bit of effort to make one single element stand out. Here you can see that the shape of the radicchio florets creates a pattern. But how did I break the pattern?

It might be a bit more subtle here than in the previous photo, so let me explain. I made sure that the radicchio that was in focus had a very distinct shape. So basically I chose the best-looking one there was. I made sure all the other ones did not look as perfect (still good, but not perfect!). This made the one beautiful radicchio floret stand out.

Conclusion

Patterns are an amazing way to add interest to a food photo and even though we might not always be aware, there’s almost always one form of a pattern in a photo. With some photos, this is more obvious or even intentional. And when you are aware of the patterns you can exploit that and create a breaking of the pattern, which will add even more interest to the photo.

Let me know in the comments what is your favorite way to break a repetition pattern.

Splashes In Drink Photography

Splashes in drink photography are so much fun right? In my opinion, they brighten up photos of drinks and just make them exciting to look at.

Splashes in drink photography are so much fun right? In my opinion, they brighten up photos of drinks and just make them exciting to look at.

Splashes are not the easiest and the cleanest things to do. They are, however, amazingly beautiful. While most things as food photographers we can control, there’s no way you can entirely predict how the splashes are going to turn out. Making splashes just a tiny bit more challenging. Mainly because most of the time you need to repeat them over and over again to get that perfect shot.

Let’s discuss a few things we need to do before taking the final photo and some tips that will make your life easier when you make splash shots.

1. Take a photo without splashes

The most important thing that you shouldn’t forget is to take a photo before any action is happening. I take two photos, one with a glass still empty, and one with a full glass but no action. This way I have two clean photos to work with in post-processing. Don’t take me by the word but I’d say all my splash photos are composites because there’s just no way you’ll get that perfect shot on the first try.

If you do, you should do a happy dance, for sure!

2. Prevent the glass from slipping

Okay, so the next thing you need is to attach the glass to the backdrop. I just use my son’s playdough. We have so much playdough in the house. You can of course use anything that sticks the glass to the backdrop. Make sure it’s a small amount, something you can edit out in the post-processing.

3. Prep the towels

Next, you need towels. Large towels. Trust me, I’ve had big floods happening! You need to be prepared.

And you need replacement fluid. When you do splashes the fluid from the glass will eventually get very minimal, so you need to add more. I like to prepare a large jug of whatever I’m shooting. And since I’m going to be wasting so much fluid, I use colored water, whenever possible. Just so I don’t waste actual drinks.

Splashes in drink photography are so much fun right? In my opinion, they brighten up photos of drinks and just make them exciting to look at.

4. Something relatively heavy to throw in

And then next, you need to think about what you’ll be throwing in the drink to make that perfect splash. If it’s some fruit that would actually be a part of the drink, then just use that. If you only want a splash, like I’ll be doing here, then pick something that will create a nice big splash. The heavier thing you pick, the more pronounced the splash will be.

I like to use things that are similar in color to the drink or something transparent like a large ice cube. Basically something heavy enough, but not something that would break the glass if it fell on the rim.

5. Fast shutter speed

What we want to make sure of is to shoot at a very fast shutter speed. I’m using a speedlight, so for me, this will mean I need to set my flash power to low power, to get that fast shutter speed. The shutter speed on my camera is set to X, ISO to X, and aperture to X.

When you’re shooting in natural light, you can’t really use a fast shutter speed like with a speedlight or a strobe, unless you’re shooting in a harsh light situation. In anything diffused, I strive to use a shutter speed of at least 1/500s or preferably faster for drinks to get that sharp splashes.

Splashes in drink photography are so much fun right? In my opinion, they brighten up photos of drinks and just make them exciting to look at.

6. Use manual focus

It’s also very important to use manual focus, so it stays the same in all the photos.

7. Use custom white balance

Also I’d steer away from using auto white balance, because you can combining images with different white balances could be a pain.

Basically, all the settings should be exactly the same for each photo you take, even the non-action ones that you take in the beginning. I have those ready and now let’s do a couple of splash shots and see what we end up with.

Splashes in drink photography are so much fun right? In my opinion, they brighten up photos of drinks and just make them exciting to look at.

7. Take some test shots

Before really going in with setting up your scene, make sure all your settings are okay. I like to do some test splashes to be sure my focus is in the right place and that my shutter speed is fast enough.

If you’re the video type (who isn’t?) I also have a short video explainign these tips and showing some bts of my splash photo.

6 Tips for Editing Dark And Moody Photos

With these simple tips for editing dark and moody photos, you’ll be able to make your images pop and create stunning imagery with ease.

With these simple tips for editing dark and moody photos, you'll be able to make your images pop and create stunning imagery with ease.

Today we’re gonna go through tiny little things (that are actually not that tiny) that you need to be carefull about when editing dark and moody photos. I’m gonna take you through a few things I find very important while I edit. And if you stick around, at the bottom of the page, you also have a video of me editing my moody image in Lightroom, with lots of explanation.

And if you’re a fan of presets, which I most definitely am, I have a Moody Food Preset Collection right here.

Correct exposure

Let’s start with basics. Exposure, or better said, correct exposure is abslutely important in any kind of image. The thing I see very often is dark photos being to dark. Too dark to see the detail well and far too dark to make the subject stand out from the scene.

This is not only important when you light your scene while taking it, but also when you edit!

With these simple tips for editing dark and moody photos, you'll be able to make your images pop and create stunning imagery with ease.

Create contrast

Okay let’s talk more about your subject popping out. This is definitely always the most important thing to achieve. So just like with exposure, we also need to take a really close attention to the contrast in our images, especially when they are dark.

With dark and moody photos, contrast is your power! You want contrast, but you also want to make sure it’s not blowing out the detail.

There’s no one tip for making the contrast perfect, it’s all about your creative vision. But generally, if you take a good look at all the detail up close, you’ll be able to see, if you’re loosing some important parts of your image.

With these simple tips for editing dark and moody photos, you'll be able to make your images pop and create stunning imagery with ease.

Textures

Naturally, when we shoot images in a dark setting, we’ll get lot’s of shadows. And shadows will enhance textures. And texture is good. The problem arises, when you’re shooting a textured food on a textured backdrop. If you just adjust textures and shadows for the entire image, you might see your backdrop distracting from your subject. This will especially be prominent in flatlays, since you’re most likely have the backdrop entirely in focus.

Local adjustments are your friend in this case! With local adjustments, you can apply the edits only to a particular part of the image.

With these simple tips for editing dark and moody photos, you'll be able to make your images pop and create stunning imagery with ease.

Local adjustments are your friend

We discussed local adjustments a bit in the previos tip. And here we’ll talk about the full power of local adjustments in editing dark and moody photos.

Shooting in a dark style can often create things like too bright highlights, too dark shadows, not enough exposure in some parts of the image, and so on. Even if you pay close attention to all these things while you shoot, you might still get some things look a bit off.

Local adjustments are super helpful in these cases.

With these simple tips for editing dark and moody photos, you'll be able to make your images pop and create stunning imagery with ease.

Don’t go overboard with a vignette

We love a vignette, right?

And for a good reason. A vignette in dark images will definitely give a definition to a dark image. However, this is the one edit to be careful about. It’s very easy to go overboard and make it look fake.

Here’s where you should be very tough on yourself and asses whether your vignette is looking fake or real.

With these simple tips for editing dark and moody photos, you'll be able to make your images pop and create stunning imagery with ease.

Your camera makes a difference

You’re probably thinking ‘What has my camera to do with editing?’

Each camera creates the photos a little bit differently. Each one will produce different colors and contrasts. And therefore the edits will also need to be different.

If you only ever use one camera, you’re already used to it. You know what kind of images it produces. But when you take another camera in your hand, let’s say you got a new camera. This camera will see things differently and you’ll have to adjust your edits if you want to get the same result.

With these simple tips for editing dark and moody photos, you'll be able to make your images pop and create stunning imagery with ease.

Watch me edit a dark and moody photo in Lightroom

To see how I’ve applied all these tips into my editing proces what me edit an image of some blood oranges in Lightroom.

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    Number One Newbie Food Photography Mistake

    We’ve all started and we’ve all made this super easy fixable food photography mistake. Let’s go through my old images and see how to spot the issue.

    Number One Mistake Newbie Food Photographers Make

    Today, I’ll walk you through a few mistakes I see new food photographers make all the time. They are very easily fixable and I’ll show you in my old photo examples. If you prefer following a video, here’s my YouTube video, and below you’ve got a transcript of the video.

    In case you’re interested in more mistakes you might be doing and how to fix them, I have an article about that too.

    Not making the main subject the hero

    So one of the most common things I see food photographers do is not really thinking about their main subject and making it the hero or the focal point of the image. There should always be one clearly defined center of attention in the image. Always!

    Actually, the more complicated scene you do, the more chance you have of missing what your hero subject is.

    There’s a number of reasons why this can happen.

    Let me explain.

    Image #1

    Let see the image below, for example. This is one of my oldest recipes from the blog. These are some super delicious chewy Guinness caramels. But you can’t really see it, because it’s wrapped in a wrap. I wasn’t thinking about, what about the hero dish is important. It’s not the wrap, it’s the caramel.

    Number One Mistake Newbie Food Photographers Make

    Image #2

    So in the image below I’ve opened up a few caramels so the viewers can see them, and the image is a bit better, but everything that’s happening around is still overpowering. The bog glass and can in the back, the big bowl on the side, they all compete.

    Number One Mistake Newbie Food Photographers Make

    Image #3

    Let’s see the third photo.

    I’ve zoomed in a little and gotten a little more depth of field which is making the stuff around less obvious and less prominent.

    Let’s see another photo form the same photoshoot. Again, the caramels should be where our eye goes, but that’s definitely not the case.

    I mean it’s far from a perfect photo. I was just starting out. But through showcasing the caramels in the front and keeping distarctions away, blurred in the back I was able to keep the focus on the caramels, not the props and I also kept the storytelling.

    Number One Mistake Newbie Food Photographers Make

    Image #4

    Let’s see another photo form the same photoshoot. Again, the caramels should be where our eye goes, but that’s definitely not the case.

    First of all the caramels are not in focus. I missed the focus and placed it on the top of the glass, so now what’s in focus is the beer head.

    Second thing, I’ve placed the caramel too close to the edge of the frame, so it gets lost in all the things that are happening inside this shot.

    And third, the caramel compared to everything else in the frame is very small. So it also gets lost in terms of size.

    Number One Mistake Newbie Food Photographers Make

    My tip for you if you’re seeing these kinds of issues in your images would be to get good at less busy scenes first, so you can focus on your main subject instead of all the props and an elaborate story.

    And I suggest identifying your main subject and keeping it on top of mind all the time during the photoshoot. Always re-evaluate if your main subject is really the hero.

    So, this was the number one food photography mistake I see new photographers make. I hope you got some useful tips, let me know in the comments if this is something you struggle with as well.

    Repetition in Food Photography: Symmetrical Repetition

    When it comes to interesting out-of-the-box techniques symmetrical repetition in food photography is definitely the one to look out for.

    When it comes to interesting out-of-the-box techniques repetition in food photography is definitely the one to look out for.

    We often overlook patterns when it comes to food photography techniques. When we hear about patterns, oftentimes we think of monotony. And who wants to be monotonous?

    But what if I told you that patterns and repetition in food photoraphy are one of the most beautiful ways to bring interest to our image?

    I am just finishing judging a challenge on Instagram all dedicated to repetition and it got me thinking about how you can incorporate repetition in your food photos without making it boring and flat.

    So here are a few tips on how to add repetition to your work:

    1. Create a feeling of a graphical image

    When you have a photo with a very symmetrical repetition and an interesting light you can create images where the pattern itself becomes an element and the point of interest.

    You can achieve that by filling the frame with the same or similar elements and place them in very geometrical positions – squares, circles, lines…

    When it comes to interesting out-of-the-box techniques repetition in food photography is definitely the one to look out for.

    2. Repeating lines

    Lines are one of the best compositional tools, as I’ve already mentioned in a few of my articles. When you place repeating lines next to each other, they can form interesting visual patterns and can also become very graphical.

    When it comes to interesting out-of-the-box techniques symmetrical  repetition in food photography is definitely the one to look out for.

    3. Breaking the pattern

    Monotonous pattern can work very well for certain images, but when you wnat to add some extra interest, you can play around with breakin the patterm.

    If every element is placed in the same way and one is placed in a slightly different way, it creates a strong visual interest. This is how we can also bring the unexpected to a pattern. It will instantly led the viewer’s eye to where the ‘rule breaking’ is happening. and instantly you get a focus point!

    It also gets the viewer to think about why and how the change in pattern is happening.

    When it comes to interesting out-of-the-box techniques repetition in food photography is definitely the one to look out for.

    4. Repetition in the dish

    When it comes to repetition it doesn’t always have to be created through composition. Food itself is already a great source of repetition and patterns. Thinking about the dish as a separate frame and adding some patterns in the dish brings the attention to our subject – because our eyes love patterns, as we’ve already determinded!

    So keep an eye on pattern sin your food and also think about how you can add repetition in your dish when you’re styling it.

    When it comes to interesting out-of-the-box techniques repetition in food photography is definitely the one to look out for.

    5. Mirrored image

    Just like the name suggest this is a composition technique where the frame has more or less two symmetrical parts of an image. This can create a very calm feeling. A feeling of something we know.

    Symmetry can be created either vertically, horizontally, or both.

    When I create symmetrical images, I try to not make it completely symmetrical – you know – breaking the pattern! Just like in the image below. It is symmetrical, but not to a point where every element is perfectly aligned.

    When it comes to interesting out-of-the-box techniques repetition in food photography is definitely the one to look out for.

    Busy composition – when is it enough?

    There’s a trend in a busy composition that you can see on Instagram. With these food photography tips you’ll be able to know how to style the scene so your dish is still the hero.

    There's a trend in busy composition that you can see on Instagram. With these food photography tips you'll be able to know how to style the scene so your dish is still the hero.

    When it comes to composition, my style is not very minimalistic. I sometimes do minimalistic images, but more often I will add lots of elements to my photo. Trying more minimalistic images is also one of the things I want to do more in the future!

    But we’re not going to be talking about minimalistic compositions today. We will focus on how to create a busy composition without making it too busy.

    Because the line is very thin!

    So let me give you a few tips on how to approach busy food styling:

    1. Your dish should be the hero

    Pretty obvious right?

    But when you’re planning on adding lots of elements in your image, chances are they will overshadow your main dish. And your main dish should ALWAYS be the hero!

    So a good exercise is to stop and take a good look. Really think about whether any element is distracting and ditch it, or place it just enough outside the frame so it doesn’t take as much attention.

    There's a trend in busy composition that you can see on Instagram. With these food photography tips you'll be able to know how to style the scene so your dish is still the hero.

    2. Make your dish the biggest element in the scene

    Example. When you go to the forest to pick mushrooms, and you a small one and a big one. Which one will you pick first?

    Okay, bad example, I never go mushroom picking, I’m the worst. I have my dad do this 🙂

    But you get the idea, right? Bigger elements get more attention, would you agree? Same in composition, if you have an element inside your composition that is larger than everything else, it will probably become the focus.

    Imagine you have an image with a burger and some fries and you want the burger to be the star. If you placed a huge bucket of fries right next to the burger it would become the hero.

    But if you make sure, you only have enough fries so that they still look ‘abundant’, but the whole container of fries is not larger than the burger, then you’re good.

    There's a trend in busy composition that you can see on Instagram. With these food photography tips you'll be able to know how to style the scene so your dish is still the hero.

    3. Avoid overly colorful and patterned props

    This is usually my advice for any type of food photography and styling. But since rules are meant to be broken, you can get away with crazy props in certain minimalistic photos. Not with a busy composition though! It is even more important to be selective about the props you use.

    There's a trend in busy composition that you can see on Instagram. With these food photography tips you'll be able to know how to style the scene so your dish is still the hero.

    4. Add some negative or passive space to your busy composition

    Every image needs air to breathe and a place for our eyes to rest. Especially when you have lots of elements in the frame. So think about where you can add a little negative or passive space. If you are not familiar with the term ‘passive space’ it is the part of the image that isn’t necessarily empty but can be filled with neutral props and elements, such as linen, bowls, glasses that are almost the same color as the backdrop.

    There's a trend in busy composition that you can see on Instagram. With these food photography tips you'll be able to know how to style the scene so your dish is still the hero.

    5. Use leading lines and curves in a busy composition

    Lines and curves are one of my favorite composition techniques when it comes to busy composition. They are used to lead the eye around the frame and to your subject. So you can see why they would be really important in busy compositions. With lots of elements, our eyes can get confused. By using lines and curves you can guide the eyes carefully around the frame (so the other elements are not left unnoticed!) and then to our subject.

    There's a trend in busy composition that you can see on Instagram. With these food photography tips you'll be able to know how to style the scene so your dish is still the hero.

    6. Make your dish stand out with color

    One of the ways I keep focus on the main dish in a busy composition is to set it appart through color. I try to keep every other element other than the main dish very low key in terms of color.

    Our eyes tend to go to the brightest and most vibrant parts of the image first. So by removing color from other parts (even when there’s a lot going on) I can get the viewer’s eye to always end up looking at the main dish.

    There's a trend in busy composition that you can see on Instagram. With these food photography tips you'll be able to know how to style the scene so your dish is still the hero.

    3 Editing Mistakes You Are Making In Your Food Photography

    These three common food photography editing mistakes can be ruining your food photos, but you can fix that easily.

    These three common food photography editing mistakes can be ruining your food photos, but you can fix that easily.

    One of the biggest pain points of any new photographer is editing. Editing is fun, it’s not like camera settings. All those sliders and options are exciting, but that doesn’t mean editing is easy. It takes some time to get a grasp on how to edit so your images look interesting but true to the eye.

    With editing, we want to bring the best out of the image. However, it can also make your image look worse. Here are a few editing mistakes you might be making and how to avoid them.

    1. You’re overediting

    Raise your hand if you’re quilty of making your food images look anything like the food looks in reality. Not in a good way, obivously.

    I’m raising my hand up high! I was really loving my clarity slider at one point.

    It is very easy to get tangled into all the settings that editing software has and just bump all the settings as high or as low as possible. There’s no such thing as too sharp, right? Wrong.

    While we can really enhance textures, colors, shaprnes and contrast with editing, we need to make sure it’s not all too much. With editing you want to showcase how beautiful food looks in real life. You evoke a sense of taste, smell and texture of the dish.

    Imagine if someone served you a garlic soup, but there’s just too much garlic and it’s not cooked all the way. All you’re left with is the intense smell of raw garlic. Not very appetizing, right?

    It’s the same with food, you want some taste, but not too much.

    How to make sure you’re not overediting?

    First of all, you need to diferentiate editing jpeg and raw files. Raw files are, as the name states, raw and unedited, while jpeg already have some edits that were created in the camera. This means that if you apply same settings in the same amounts to jpeg files as you would raw files, they will very likely be overedited.

    This is also an essential concept to understand, whenever you’re using presets. If the presets were made for raw files, then you might need to make a move some sliders, so you don’t decrease the effect of the preset.

    On a side note, let me encourage you to start shooting raw if you aren’t already. Especially, if you’re working for clients!

    One other thing that will help you with not overediting is to really ask yourself ‘Does this look true to life?’

    If you’re photographing red peppers, you need to ask yourself questions like ‘Is this color like I see it in real life?’

    I know, it’s hard to be stuck in the exciting slider mover state! I know, I get it! But just think of the mantra ‘Less is more’.

    Let’s look at the two images below. The left image has way too much contrast and sharpness because Texture, Clarity, and Dehaze were set up too high in Lightroom. The right image is more balanced and true to life.

    These three common food photography editing mistakes can be ruining your food photos, but you can fix that easily.

    You’re only making global adjustments

    Global adjustments? What even are global adjustments?

    Global adjustments are settings applied to the entire image. However editing the entire image at once might not alays end up in an appealing image.

    This is when local adjustments come in handy. While global adjustments make changes in the entire image, local adjustments only change one part of the image – the part that you intentionally choose.

    Lightroom offers three different types of local adjustments – brush, radial and graduated filter. These are all super powerful tools that you shouldn’t neglect if you want to see your food photos improve.

    If we look at the two images below, we can see that by applying some filters only to a part of the image (the cake) you can add more interest to the main subject. I applied clarity and lifted the exposure in both images. In the left image, I applied it to the entire image. In the right one I only applied it to the cake. The difference is very subtle but you see how the cake pops just a little bit more in the right image.

    These three common food photography editing mistakes can be ruining your food photos, but you can fix that easily.

    3. You’re ignoring the histogram

    One of the editing mistakes people make when they start with photography is not paying attention to the histogram. Either in their camera or in editing software.

    The histogram is a graphical representation of exposure. There are a few things you can read from a histogram, but one of the most missed is ignoring the clipping warning. This feature warns you if your shadows are clipped or highlights are blown out. Histograms can clearly tell you if you’re losing data on either end of the graph – the shadow end or the highlights end.

    Lightroom has built-in warnings for lost detail in highlights and shadows. You can turn it on and off by clicking the tiny triangle on either side of the histogram, just like you see in the image below.

    These three common food photography editing mistakes can be ruining your food photos, but you can fix that easily.

    You might think, you’ll be able to see if you have blown out highlights or shadows. Trust me even with a trained eye, that’s difficult. Not to mention that it really depends on your screen, it’s rendering of color and it’s brightness.

    Can you think of any other editing mistakes?

    I hope you enjoyed my short list of possible editing mistakes you’re making. Let me know in the comments, if you feel like there are some other mistakes food photographers make when they edit their photos.


    I also have a brand new Moody Food Preset Collection specially designed for food photographers:

    Hands In Frame For Food Photography

    If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I’m a freak when it comes to showing hands in frame. I feel like they add a human element to food, which brings food to life in a completely new way.

    Hands in frame add a human element to food, which brings food to life in a completely new way and make a scene look very natura

    Hands connecting with food make a scene look very natural and the hands almost invite the viewers hands to also interact. It puls you in and makes you feel like you’re here helping, not just observing.

    ​Now, let me tell you how you can incorporate hands in the photo.

    Make sure to have a clear story

    I think it’s pretty clear why this is necessary. If there are some hands just hanging out in the frame without a specific reason it will look like a mistake.​

    So think about how you can add a story to your photo. Did someone just bring a meal on the table, are you offering a drink to the viewer, did you just come from the farmers market and are bringing fresh veggies, are you lighting a candle to add some mood to your meal,…

    Do you see a pattern here?

    All of these stories make sense. So think about what the story is and how you can add interest to the frame.

    Hands in frame add a human element to food, which brings food to life in a completely new way and make a scene look very natura

    Wash your hands – dah!

    Okay, you’ll say that’s obvious. Who touches food with dirty hands?! Uhm okay, it happened to me more than once (a lot more than once), that I styled the set and hurried to take the shot with my hands in the frame and completely forgetting that there was some flour, sesame, or whatever food I was touching before, still on my hands (and my camera – oops).

    You can usually edit this out (unless it’s a huge mess), but who has the time, right?

    Hands in frame add a human element to food, which brings food to life in a completely new way and make a scene look very natura

    Out of focus

    The hands don’t necessarily need to be the focus of the image or interacting with the main subject. Having a cake and someone eating a slice in the background can have a powerful story.

    Hands in frame add a human element to food, which brings food to life in a completely new way and make a scene look very natura

    Show some action

    I love process and action photos. They are the most dynamic food photo can be. Pouring a sauce, sprinkling some sugar on top of a doughnut, piping on frosting, cutting veggies… All these actions start with hands, so you don’t need to cut hands in the frame, but rather make them a part of the story.

    Hands in frame add a human element to food, which brings food to life in a completely new way and make a scene look very natura

    Make them look soft and natural

    This is probably the hardest part. At least for me. For some reason, placing your hands in a natural-looking way doesn’t always mean that they are actually in a natural position. More often than not, you’ll feel weird and unnatural holding your hands for the frame. It goes the same with your body if it’s also in the frame.

    ​That’s so weird right?

    ​So how can you make them look natural? Well, there’s trial and error and mostly it’s checking out the photo and trying to determine what looks unnatural. Are the fingers too square? Maybe they too close together and looking very tight or are they too wide apart looking like claws. Are you making sharp angles with fingers or elbows (this one happens very often)?

    Hands in frame add a human element to food, which brings food to life in a completely new way and make a scene look very natura

    Make composites

    ​When it comes to images with multiple set of hands in frame, they are not the eaiest to capture in one take. And impossible if you’re the only person in the room.

    Here’s where composites come in handy. All you need is a few photos taken with the same settings and photoshop. The rest is explained in my IGTV video here.

    Hands in frame add a human element to food, which brings food to life in a completely new way and make a scene look very natura

    Think about how the light hits your hands?

    Also a very important part. If the hands are very close to the light source they might be too bright and have too much highlights. One way to solve this is to place them in a different position or if that just doesn’t go with your story, you can try editing the brightness in post-processing, which is my next point.

    ​Editing

    Editing people and editing food are two very different types of editing. That’s why it can often happen that while the food looks nice and inviting, the hands may look lifeless.

    ​This totally depends on the way you edit your images and the dish you are photographing. But, if it happens that your hands look lifeless and colorless, chances are they are too green. I usually bring photos like this in Photoshop and use the Selective tool in the Layers panel to add a Selective tool layer. Then choose Reds from the Colors Panel and lower cyan just enough to make the hands look natural again. By that point the whole image will look weird, so you need to mask out just the hands in the Selective color layer. And you’re done!

    Btw, I have a Moody Food Preset Collection available, if you’re using Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw.

    Hopefully, I’ve inspired you to create some images with hands in the frame. Hands are not the easiest to photograph, but they add so much character to an image that it’s worth going the extra mile.

    Join My Free Food Photography Creative Community!

    Free Online Food Photography Creative Community

    I’ve finally put out the food photography creative community I’ve been meaning to open since a year ago. I’m amazed by all the kind creative people I already have on my mailing list. And if you’re not one of them, I would love you to join RIGHT NOW!

    Because today we’re officially opening the Use Your Noodles Creative Community group on Facebook.

    The reason I wanted to join you all in one group is because I want you to find inspiration and friends, share love and your work. So if you’re not sure whether to join or not, let me tell you why you need to join today!

    WHY SHOULD YOU JOIN MY FREE FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY CREATIVE COMMUNITY?

    – Exposure and community

    In this busy modern world it’s easy to get disconnected with your community, but our FB group is all about keeping the community, share your work, appreciate the work of other’s, find new friends and talk about the topic we love most – food photography.

    – Free resources all in one place

    All the downloadable freebies I offer will be there in the group, so you can easily find them.

    – Feedback

    Every week we’ll feature one image for feedback and everyone in community can help with advice, critics, praise, suggestions.

    – Questions answered

    You’ll have the chance to ask questions on anything food photography related and get answers from me and the community.

    – Live Q&As

    I’ll host at least two live Q&As a year, where you’ll have the chance to ask me anything food photography related and I’ll be there answering live.

    How can you join?

    Sign up in the form below and you’ll get instant access to the community 🙂

    And please make sure to introduce yourself to everyone!

    Join my Creative Community

    Sign up to get access to my creative community and get updates about new articles, videos, workshops and information about new products and exclusive offers!

      By signing up you’re consenting that we send emails about photography and training offers. We don’t send spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

      6 tips on how to build an essential prop collection

      With these tips, you’ll be able to build a beautiful versatile food photography prop collection that won’t break your budget.

      With these tips, you'll be able to build a beautiful versatile food photography prop collection that won't break your budget.

      Have you ever drooled over someone’s prop collection? I still do, even though I might have reached my prop collection maximum for the storage space available. You know those images of perfectly stacked props on a nice wooden shelf. I think I’m obsessed with those images.

      So if you’re like me and you don’t have a ton of space to store your props (and even if you do), you wanna follow some guidelines when it comes to building a prop collection. And here they are:

      Do not rush your prop collection

      This past weekend I’ve been cleaning my house and I found props that I bought a few months after I started blogging. I was selling at a flea market and there was some other seller with some pretty mint green metal containers. At that point mint green was super popular. And I loved them so much. It was perfect – popular color, metal, vintage, until it wasn’t. I figured these containers were too big, and the color didnt’ fit my style. And I honestly didn’t even know what I could use them for. I rushed it.

      And years later you find me taking them from my kitchen where no one has ever touched them to the attic. I still have hopes that I’ll use them as storage in my house sometimes, but most probably I’ll just end up selling them

      So my number one advice to you would be, to build your prop collection slowly. Do nut rush it or you’ll end up with useless props taking up valuable space, that you could have filled with props that you can actually use.

      My second advice would be to go around your house and look for things that would make great props for zero money. Same goes with backdrops. I have a great article on how to use things that you already own as backdrops.

      Choose something that you can use over and over again

      When it comes to props, you want to buy props that are suitable for more than just one use and that you can also use during a longer period of time.

      If something is very fashionable chances are, next year you’ll be throwing it out.

      Think of props that are evergreen and work in many situations. These are props that look beautiful, but don’t overpower the food and aren’t even that memorable. These are props that can be matched with many other props and layer on top of each other and they can become props that you use on a daily basis.

      Smaller is usually better

      In food photography, larger props can end up looking too big for the dish. While in real life it is actually better to serve food on a plate that is so big, that you see a big par of the plate. This makes the dish look lighter. In food photography though a plate that is too large might overpower food.

      So if in real life you’d be serving chicken and rice in a 30 cm (12 inch) plate, for a photo a 20 cm (8 inch) plate will work better.

      When it comes to tiny props, there’s one type of prop that is really super tiny and also one of the most versatile and useful props – pinch bowls. Pinch bowls are very small bowls usually around 5 cm (2 inches). They are super useful for showing off ingredients used in your recipe that you can’t otherwise. They also add size diversity to a composition.

      Look for textures

      Texture adds another dimension and interest to your photos. We follow the principle of texture in all aspects of food photography and same goes for props.

      Textured props catch light in just the right places and they add some depth to a photo. While clear white plates look pretty and clean in a restaurant, they portray a totally different feel in food photography. Oftentimes, clear white plates, especially when the food is minimal, can look sterile. This of course depends on the style or the client you’re shooting for.

      But when you’re buildign your own rop collection focusing on props with texture is the way to go. One more thing too look for in props is the shine. Shiny props create lots of highlights and we want to avoid that.

      Props with texture include:

      • handmade ceramics witht texture or a subtle pattern
      • used wood
      • vintage cutlery
      • textured metal trays
      • textured glass
      • and many more

      Old antique props are great props, since they have some patina and this adds to texture and also gives them a matte finish. Some vintage props are harder to find, though. For years, I’ve been trying to get a hand on a vintage ice scoop, still no luck!

      But recently I’ve discovered a video by Joanie from The Bite Shot about how to create a vintage-looking patina on new metal props. If you’re into DIY stuff, this video is perfect!

      Pick a few outstanding pieces

      Remember me babbling about buying neutral evergreen items.

      It is really nice to have a few pieces in your prop collection that stand out and add that extra zing to your images. These are the props that are very memorable, BUT NOT OVERPOWERING. Depending on what kind of dishes you might shoot the most, these may be rustic laddles, vintage wire cooling rack, a beautiful cake stand, a very specifically shaped or textured glass…

      This should be the pieces you fall in love with. When you see them they should spark something in you. But nevertheless you need to be careful that they fall into the no-to -overpowering category.

      Use Instagram Save feature to save prop sources

      I find Instagram Save feature useful for many purposes. And one of the ways I use them is also to save all the beautiful props that I might want or need in the future but don’t wanna buy (or can’t afford to buy) at that very moment.

      How I use this feature is I save props that I find interesting in a special Collection I named Props. I save either an image of the specific prop if I’m only interested in that prop or I save an image with multiple props, if I find a shop that ahs lots of props I’m interested in.

      Every time I’m looking for a specific prop I go to that Collection to see if I’ve already found something that I like in the past and so I save time, searching for new ways to source props.

      Here are a few of my favorite places that sell props. I don’t get paid to post these, I wanna share with you the prop places I truly love, some I own and some not yet, but would love to 🙂

      How to create a cohesive Instagram feed

      With this easy tutorial on how to create a cohesive Instagram feed you'll be able to create a beautiful eyecatching IG feed!

      So I’ve been asked this questions so so many times and for me personally creating a cohesive Instagram feed is a mix of trusting what my eyes see and having a plan and theory behind all that.

      I’m going to show you exactly how I plan my feed (when I’m not eyeballing it).

      In fact, after I started really carefully planing my grid, I immediately saw that people liked what I was producing. I was gaining much more followers than before. After a while, I started to do planning less theoretically and trusted my own eyes more and more. I got used to how my feed looks and took me less time (and less thinking!) to create a feed that flows.

      So if you’re having trouble making your feed consistent and cohesive, I suggest you start with theory (that’s where this article comes in) and after a while, you’ll see that you’ll do it more and more spontaneously. It’s going to become second nature.

      It’s hard to start, when your feed looks all over the place, right?

      Start with planning at least 9 images ahead (12 or 15 are even better). This way you’ll actually be able to see how your new and shiny feed will look like!

      So here are the steps that you need to take in order to create a stunning visually pleasing and cohesive feed:

      1. Use a planning software
      2. Choose a style and color palette
      3. Choose what type of content you’ll share
      4. Decide on the layout of all the different types of content
      5. Color theory and shapes are super important
      6. Consider negative space and angles
      7. Perfect is not always the best
      8. Use the highest quality photos you can.

      Use a planning software

      There a few ways you can plan your grid online with software. The ones I like are Later and Planoly (not sponsored). They are free for les than 30 posts a month. You can use them only for planning the grid or you can post from their software as well. You can use either their app on your phone or plan via their website. Either way, that’s probably the easiest way to start planing how your grid will look like.

      Choose a style of the grid

      Do you prefer darker photos, lighter photos, do you like everything very colorful, do you love monochromatic images, desaturated, warm, cold, vintage, modern, natural, a specific color palette… so many styles and colors to choose from.

      Choosing one style doesn’t mean you can’t integrate other styles too, but one or maximum of two is the best.

      Choose what type of content you’ll share

      Will you be sharing only photos or you’ll also share videos, text, graphics… you should consider all the content you want to share with your audience and what type of content they’ll appreciate. Just make sure they all look great together. If you’re including any graphical elements, thy need to work togeher as well and they should match the style of other content in your feed.

      Decide on the layout of all the different types of content

      If you are sharing more than one type of content then it is essential to decide how often you’ll share each type of content. For example, if you’re sharing photos and text, then you could share a one-to-one ratio, so every second day you’ll share text and all other days a photo. You can consider some other ratios too. I love 6 to 1. Six photos and one text image. Be creative!

      Color theory and shapes are super important

      When I plan my Instagram grid, I always take into consideration the colors in the photos. I usually have one or two main colors in a photo. When I plan a grid, I’ll place images with the same main color on the different parts of the grid so they don’t all touch each other. I post mostly dark images but I include brighter ones as well and I follow the same principle there too.

      Same goes with shapes. If I post a photo of a round cake in the middle of the frame, I won’t post other images with similar shape so that they fall in a line (unless it’s a diagonal). I also don’t want to squeeze them all in one corner.

      One way to creatively use color theory is to have a color-coordinated grid, where you post one color only for a specific number of days and then continue with another.

      Consider negative space

      Balance is the magic word when it comes to a cohesive Instagram feed. Try to think of your image as having weight. Some weigh less (meaning they are less busy), some weigh more (busy images with big elements or multiple elements). Now imagine your feed being an old fasioned kitchen scale. You should place the images in your feed so that your scale is in balance. Just like with colors and shapes you need to consider placing images with same ‘weight’ in oposite parts of the grid to balance things out.

      The same goes for angles. I post photos from different angles in my feed and that also takes some thought. Just like, with color, shapes, and negative space, I like to spread mix photos taken at different angles so that they don’t compete with each other.

      Perfect is not always the best

      Please, don’t go and follow these things I just wrote about very very strictly. Like I wrote in the beginning, sometimes something will look better and you won’t necessarily have a clear explanation. Follow your gut and your creativity.

      Use the highest quality photos you can.

      You might say, but I’m not a professional yet, I don’t have high-quality images. It doesn’t matter, use what you have, but be picky at the same time. Choose the best photo you have and if you’re unsure and decide between two or three photos, use stories to ask your followers. As an IG user, I can say that I love voting and people really do love engaging in things like questions and anything that requires their input in the stories. So why not ask your followers? This way you’ll also learn what type of content they like seing from you. Win-win!

      It doesn’t stop at a cohesive Instagram feed

      While creating a cohesive Instagram feed takes some preparation and careful planning it’s not the only thing to do if you want your IG channel to attract followers (aka ideal followers). One of the most important think about running an IG feed is being personal and showing who you are. Poeple love following real people not machines!

      Let me know if you found this useful in the comments below or on my IG.

      10 tips for photographing cold drinks

      With these simple tips and tricks for photographing cold drinks, you are going to take your drink photography to the next level.

      Summer is slowly approaching and with it cold drinks who doesn’t love a refreshing drink in the midst of a hot Summer?

      Photographing cold drinks is one of the toughest but also one of the most rewarding angles of food photography. Sometimes you need to act quickly, especially if you’re working with real ice and it can be very stressful, but the results are amazing. I love drink photos! And I love taking photos of cold drinks, but they require a bit of preparation or you’ll end up with a bland looking image.

      So if you wanna create images of refreshing cold drinks that really pop, read on. I have some tips on how you can make cold drinks look cold and refreshing.

      Using very cold drinks so the ice melts slower

      This would be my nr. one tip, because if you’re planning on taking more than one photo, this will save your life. I tell you! Try adding ice to room temp water or to ice cold water and see the difference.

      I always plan out my photoshoots and I place some water, juice, sparkling water, or whatever I’m shooting in the fridge for at least a few hours, preferably overnight. I wanna make sure I have some wiggle room and don’t need to rush through the shoot. Although, if I take too long, I replace the whole drink and start from scratch.

      Add some frost effect

      Frost effect is one of my favorite things about photographing cold drinks. A frosted glass really gives that chill feel.

      There are a couple of ways you can achieve frost effect.

      You can place the glass in the freezer way before the photo shoot to make sure it is really very very cold. But take care when you’re taking it out since you might leave fingerprints. Always be mindful of where you touch the glass. Preferably touch it near the bottom or with cotton gloves. After you take the glass out it will only take a minute or two before it starts building frost, so you need to make sure it’s on its place by that time, otherwise, you’ll get fingertips seen on the frost.

      The other way to create frost effect is by mixing 50:50 solution of water and glycerin. This will maintain the frost effect for longer and it will keep it more the same all the time. Natural frost will become watery after some time (which also looks great), but if you wanna keep the same effect for a longer period of time, glycerin will do the trick.

      Optional: You can spray the glass with matting spray, before adding glycerin solution. While glycerin creates a translucent frost with larger droplets (and creates a look o a drink that you just took from the fridge not a freezer), spraying with a matting spray, creates a matte effect, exactly like the frost that looks like the drink is coming from a freezer.

      One note, though. Don’t drink the drink if you used glycerin or matting spray on the glass.

      Photographing cold drinks is one of the toughest but also one of the most rewarding angles of food photography.

      Add some ice

      Ice is an essential part of drink photography. But it melts really quickly, especially in the Summer (I always turn off heating when shooting something cold during Winter).

      When you’re choosing what ice to use, be mindful of the shape. Would the drink need round or square ice cubes, would shaved ice look better. Would using uniquely shaped ice look great. Think about that first!

      One more thing about ice. These days you can get pretty realistic-looking fake ice cubes (that don’t melt!). They are pretty expensive though. So far, I’m only using real ice. I do have some cheap fake ice cubes, but they look very fake. If your drink is not very transparent, they might still work, since you can make them just peek out a little bit.

      Frozen garnish

      When it comes to photographing cold drinks, the frost is really important way of showcasing that we’re dealing with a COLD drink. One way to enhance that is by adding frozen garnish. For example, if your drink includes some sort of berries, you could freeze them and add them on top in the last second. After a minute or so (just like the glass) they will start to build the most beautiful frost.

      Photographing cold drinks is one of the toughest but also one of the most rewarding angles of food photography.

      Frosted sugar rims

      This is not purely cold drinks tip, but I always like to see a nice sugar rim and to me, it almost immediately screams cold cocktail.

      Try playing around with colorful sugar or salt rims.

      First, you need to line the edge of the rim with some lime or lemon. I’ve even used butter for coarser sugar. If you wanna add some color, you can use food coloring or flavored sugars.

      Photographing cold drinks is one of the toughest but also one of the most rewarding angles of food photography.

      Adding salt or sugar to create beer head or champagne bubbles

      This one is a lifesaver.

      I remember shooting a beer cocktail a long time ago and that foam just wouldn’t stay for more than a few seconds. It was a pain. My husband helped me pour just so I could press the shutter fast enough. I can’t remember how many bottles of beer we used.

      Adding some salt or sugar helps re-form the foam and keep it for longer. Although you might not end up drinking that beer, that’s still much better than being left with 10 open beer bottles after the photoshoot. Unless you’re throwing a stale beer party afterward 🙂

      Photographing cold drinks is one of the toughest but also one of the most rewarding angles of food photography.

      Think about light placement

      How the light hits your drink can make or break a photo. Like in every type of photography light is key.

      Transparent and semi-transparent drinks look amazing in backlight or in back-side light (that’s the angle between the backlight and sidelight). This way the light goes through the drink before hitting your lens. Since the drink is transparent you get a gorgeous glow that lifts up the photo and adds another dimension.

      If the glass looks a bit dark, you can try using a reflector to bring out a bit more light to the front of the glass as well.

      Photographing cold drinks is one of the toughest but also one of the most rewarding angles of food photography.

      Play with hard light

      There seems to be a misconception in food photography that you need diffused light and soft shadows in order to create a beautiful image. This is true to some extent, but this totally depends on the feel and the story you are trying to portray in your photos.

      I find hard light drinks especially pleasing in drink photography. Even more so, if I’m using a glass with some structure. This way the hard light going through the glass creates a beautifully patterned shadow. The other nice thing about using hard light in drink photos is that it creates a colorful shadow whenever you shoot a colorful drink.

      Photographing cold drinks is one of the toughest but also one of the most rewarding angles of food photography.

      Watch those reflections

      When you’re dealing with highly reflective surfaces such as glass, you need to be aware of what you can see in the reflections. If you’re seeing some weird distracting reflections, try determining what causes them and remove those things. Sometimes it can be the shape of the light source (lightbox or a window). In this case, you can try diffusing the light with a curtain or diffuser.

      Always do a test shot

      Always, always do a test shot.

      Once your drink is in the glass you need to move fast. Ice melts super quickly, especially if you’re shooting in a warm room or in the sun. Building a perfect composition before your drink is all dressed up is a must in drink photography.

      You need to make sure everything is where it needs to be before adding icy things to the set.

      Using curves in food photography

      Using curves in food photography can add softness and natural feel to the photo. Here is a tutorial on how to use curves to create beautiful compositions.

      When it comes to composition, there is a number of compositional techniques that you can apply to your food photography. Which one you choose is greatly impacted by your style, the story or even who your client is.

      I’m a big fan of natural-looking food photography and some of the key compositional techniques that I like to use are curves and lines. Today I’m going to focus on using curves because I think they add so much dynamic and sense of movement to the photo as well as making the composition look natural and somewhat feminine. Curves are also a great way to lead the viewer’s eye towards your main subject in a natural way.

      Curves can be a separate or I should say main composition techniques or it can be just an addition to others, such as the rule of thirds or golden rule to add some movement to the photo.

      Since curves can really be anything, I put up a list of curves that I use in my food photography the most.

      S-curve

      This is a curve that mimics the letter S. I sometimes use S-shape to build the entire composition around it like in the ramen photo. Or I use it to support my composition and add movement and softness to the photo like in the cookie photo.

      Using curves in food photography can add softness and natural feel to the photo. Here is a tutorial on how to use curves to create beautiful compositions.
      Using curves in food photography can add softness and natural feel to the photo. Here is a tutorial on how to use curves to create beautiful compositions.

      C-curve

      C-curve is the simplest curve you can use and the reason I love it so much is because it’s subtle and adds dynamic to the photo without being too obvious. Just like the S-curve, you can use it as a main compositional technique (egg photo) or support other techniques (apple pie photo). One great way you can use a C-curve is by placing the curve around your subject, which makes the objects on the curve almost hug the main subject.

      Using curves in food photography can add softness and natural feel to the photo. Here is a tutorial on how to use curves to create beautiful compositions.
      Using curves in food photography can add softness and natural feel to the photo. Here is a tutorial on how to use curves to create beautiful compositions.

      Irregular curve

      That’s any curve that connects objects in your frame in a way that makes the eye flow through those items towards the main subject.

      Using curves in food photography can add softness and natural feel to the photo. Here is a tutorial on how to use curves to create beautiful compositions.

      Spiral

      Most often I use spirals as a main compositional technique and not so much as a supporting technique. That’s mainly because the spiral can look very obvious very quickly. When they are obvious they also look unnatural. The other reason is, that the spirals lead your eye toward its center. So I wanna make sure that the center of the spiral is my main object.

      Using curves in food photography can add softness and natural feel to the photo. Here is a tutorial on how to use curves to create beautiful compositions.

      Continuing s-curve

      That’s an S-curve that is continuing and is forming a wave. I use this technique when I have lots of objects in a frame, that I want to visually connect and lead the viewer’s eye to the main subject.

      Using curves in food photography can add softness and natural feel to the photo. Here is a tutorial on how to use curves to create beautiful compositions.
      Using curves in food photography can add softness and natural feel to the photo. Here is a tutorial on how to use curves to create beautiful compositions.

      A combination of curves

      More often than not I use a combination of curves so I can visually link different objects in the scene with different effects. For example, let’s take a photo of the breaded sweet bread. I used a C-shape by placing pine in a C-shape to create a shape that hugs the main subject and gives a warm feel. I used the hands to lead the eye to the main subject.

      In the second photo with lemons, I also used different curves to add dynamics to an otherwise simple shot.

      In most of the above photos, I’ve used a combination of curves. I intentionally left it unmarked for you to go through and try to find other curves and think about how they affect the photo. Let me know in the comments if you’ve found any other curves in these photos.

      Using curves in food photography can add softness and natural feel to the photo. Here is a tutorial on how to use curves to create beautiful compositions.
      Using curves in food photography can add softness and natural feel to the photo. Here is a tutorial on how to use curves to create beautiful compositions.