Tag Archive for: food photography

How I Shot This {Cocktail Photography}

Cocktail photography is a beautiful and exciting genre of photography that showcases the creativity and elegance of mixology. In this post, I will share how I shot a refreshing Summer cocktail.

Cocktail photography is a beautiful and exciting genre of photography that showcases the creativity and elegance of mixology. In this post, I will share how I shot a refreshing Summer cocktail.

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

Summer is here, and what better way to celebrate than with a refreshing summer cocktail? As a photographer and stylist, I love creating beautiful images that capture the feel of the season.

In this blog post, I’ll take you through my process of styling a summer cocktail photoshoot, from choosing the right style and props to editing the final image.

Let’s start!

Step 1: Deciding on a Style & Mood

Choosing the style and mood for a photoshoot is one of the most important steps. It sets the tone for the entire shoot and guides all the decisions you make. For this summer cocktail shoot, I wanted to create a relaxed and inviting Mediterranean vibe. I envisioned a scene that would transport viewers to a hot, sunny location right next to the sea.

To achieve this mood, I started by creating a mood board. I gathered a few images of Mediterranean architecture, greenery, textiles and food (I intentionally did not want to look at drinks!).

This allowed me to see how different elements worked together and helped refine my vision for the shoot. Once I had a clear style in mind, I could start working on the details.

Cocktail photography is a beautiful and exciting genre of photography that showcases the creativity and elegance of mixology. In this post, I will share how I shot a refreshing Summer cocktail.

Step 2: Choosing the Right Props

Props are essential to creating a compelling image. They help to convey the mood and style of the shoot and provide visual interest for the viewer.

I knew I needed something that would match my moodboard. So I brought in wooden and stone boards and beige textured textiles. I even found an old tree root hanging out in the garden. By choosing props that fit the style I wanted to recreate, I was able to create a cohesive image that tells a story.

Step 3: Choosing the Right Backdrop

The backdrop is an important element in any photoshoot, as it provides the foundation for the image.

For this summer cocktail shoot, I wanted to keep the focus on the cocktail and props, so I chose two cool neutral backdrops – Terrazzo and Iced Concrete from V-Flat.

I love these backdrops because I don’t have to worry about how to keep the standing backdrop stay in place. They come with handy Duo Legs that hold the vertical backdrop still, even if your scene is nowhere near a wall.

Plus, they can be easily cleaned and wiped down. I have not yet encountered any staining on these.

Since I was going for a fresh summer mood, I needed to create a clean and minimalistic feel using simple yet textured backdrops. This allowed the focus to remain on the cocktail and props while still providing something interesting to look at.

Step 4: Creating Summer Light

Lighting is one of the most important aspects of photography. I generally really love using hard light for my Summer cocktail photography. 

And since here I wanted to create a bright, sunny feel, too, I used a flash with only a small beauty dish and no diffuser to create deep shadows and contrast. I also used a white foam board on the other side to reflect light and fill in those shadows quite a bit.

And since summer is all about lush greenery, I used some tree branches with leaves and placed it in front of the light to get them to cast a shadow on my scene. This makes it feel like you’re outdoors.

Creating this specific lighting helped to create a natural, summery feel and added depth and dimension to the image.

Step 5: Taking Some Test Shot 

Taking test shots is an important part of any photoshoot. It allows you to see how the lighting, composition and even the props and backdrops are working together and make any adjustments before you start building your scene.

For this summer cocktail shoot, I took a few test shots to ensure that:

  • the lighting was creating the mood I wanted
  • the props work with the light and the feel
  • the composition is well-balanced and dynamic

Step 6: Finishing the Styling and Taking the Final Photo

Once I had the lighting and composition set up, it was time to finish styling the cocktail. This included adding the final touches to the props, adjusting the garnish, and making sure everything was in its right place.

The goal was to create an inviting and visually appealing image that captured the essence of a refreshing summer cocktail.

I took my time with this step, carefully adjusting and fine-tuning the details inside the glasses until everything was just right. I added ice to the glass, adjusted the angle of the garnish, and made sure the background was clean and unobstructed, before pouring in the sparkling water. The key was to pay attention to the small details that could make a big difference in the final image.

I actually took two final photos – one with less filled glasses and one going all-in! I like both of them, but I’ll let you decide which one you prefer.

*Note: These are the photos after editing. To see the difference between the raw photo and the edited one, keep reading.

Step 7: Editing – Making Sure the Editing Complements the Story

Editing is the final (AND CRUCIAL!) step in creating a great image. It allows you to refine the mood and style of the shot and ensure that it tells the story you want it to. For this summer cocktail shoot, I wanted to enhance the natural summer feel of the image but have it look refreshing, so I kept the edit relatively neutral and not overly warm. I used my Summer Sun preset and tweaked it a tiny bit to perfectly match the look I was going for.

Cocktail photography is a beautiful and exciting genre of photography that showcases the creativity and elegance of mixology. In this post, I will share how I shot a refreshing Summer cocktail.

What is more I made sure that the shadows are not too dark to distract from the drinks.

And I made sure that the white Terrazzo V-flat backdrop is not overexposed and shows its lovely texture.

Cocktail photography is a beautiful and exciting genre of photography that showcases the creativity and elegance of mixology. In this post, I will share how I shot a refreshing Summer cocktail.

Conclusion

Summer cocktail photography involves careful planning and attention to detail. By choosing the right style and props, creating the perfect lighting, and editing to enhance the mood, you can create an image that perfectly captures the true feel of the season.

How to Take Stunning Drink Photos

Learn how to take stunning drink photos with these 8 tips & tricks! From the rule of odds to backlighting and adding human elements, these simple techniques will help you create beautiful and memorable photos. Get ready to capture your next amazing drink photo!

Learn how to take stunning drink photos with these 8 tips & tricks! From the rule of odds to backlighting and adding human elements, these simple techniques will help you create beautiful and memorable photos. Get ready to capture your next amazing drink photo!

Photographing drinks can be a challenging task, but it’s also a lot of fun. Drinks can be very colorful and come in all sorts of unique glasses and vessels, making them a unique and exciting subject for photography. If you’re a food photographer looking to improve your drink photography skills, you’re in the right place!

In this article, I’ll share some tips and tricks that will help you take stunning drink photos.

1. Use the Rule of Odds

The rule of odds is a simple rule that states that objects arranged in odd numbers are more visually appealing than those arranged in even numbers. When photographing drinks, try placing them on the set in groups of three or five (usually not more for drinks, but you can test that, too!) to make them more visually appealing. This will also help create depth and texture in your photos, especially when you play with placing them at different distances from the camera.

To apply this rule to drink photography, consider arranging the drinks and the glasses in groups of three or five, creating triangles or diagonal lines in the composition. Doing so will make your photos more visually dynamic and engaging, especially when combined with different shapes and sizes of glasses or other props in the scene. You can also use this rule to create patterns or repetitions with the drinks and the glasses, adding a sense of rhythm and harmony to your photos.

Learn how to take stunning drink photos with these 8 tips & tricks! From the rule of odds to backlighting and adding human elements, these simple techniques will help you create beautiful and memorable photos. Get ready to capture your next amazing drink photo!

2. Be Mindful of the Colors

Drinks come in a wide variety of colors, and you want to make sure that you’re capturing the true essence of the drink in your photos. Pay attention to the colors of the drink and the background. If the drink is dark, consider using a lighter background to make it pop. Conversely, if the drink is light, consider using a darker background.

When choosing the background for your drink photos, consider the color temperature and the contrast with the drink. For example, if you’re photographing a red cocktail, consider using a green or blue background to create a complementary contrast. On the other hand, if you’re photographing a white or clear drink, consider using a black or dark background to create a dramatic contrast. That’s not a rule by any means, but if your photo doesn’t work, it’s worth noting if there’s a problem with the color or brightness contrast. And here is where you can apply these tips.

You can also use props or decorations that match (or contrast) the colors of the drink, such as fruits, herbs, or flowers, to add texture and depth to your photos.

Learn how to take stunning drink photos with these 8 tips & tricks! From the rule of odds to backlighting and adding human elements, these simple techniques will help you create beautiful and memorable photos. Get ready to capture your next amazing drink photo!

3. Backlight Your Photo

Backlighting is a great way to add depth and drama to your drink photos. Positioning your light source behind your drink can create a beautiful halo effect to make your drink photos stand out.

To backlight your drink photos, place your drink in front of a window or a light source and position your camera so that the drink is between the light source and the camera. This will create a natural backlight that will highlight the colors and shape of the drink, creating a beautiful ethereal effect. You can also use a reflector or a white card to bounce the light back onto the glass and fill in the shadows, creating a more balanced exposure.

Learn how to take stunning drink photos with these 8 tips & tricks! From the rule of odds to backlighting and adding human elements, these simple techniques will help you create beautiful and memorable photos. Get ready to capture your next amazing drink photo!

4. Create a Frosted Effect

To create a frosted effect on your drink, simply spray a light mist of water on the outside of the glass before taking your photo. This will give your drink a beautiful, frosty appearance, making it look even more refreshing.

To create the frosted effect, use a spray bottle with water or a mix of water and glycerin, and spray a fine mist onto the outside of the glass. Be careful not to spray too much of the mixture since this can make the drink look messy. You can also use a paper towel or a Q-tip to wipe off any excess water or droplets from the glass. This technique works particularly well with cold or frozen drinks, such as iced tea, smoothies, or cocktails.

You can read more about creating a frosted effect here.

Learn how to take stunning drink photos with these 8 tips & tricks! From the rule of odds to backlighting and adding human elements, these simple techniques will help you create beautiful and memorable photos. Get ready to capture your next amazing drink photo!

5. Use Artificial Ice

Using real ice in your drink can be tricky because it can melt quickly under the heat of the lights, especially when you’re working on cocktails in the summer. Which will give you a very short window for photographing the drink. Artificial ice, on the other hand, provides a more consistent and longer-lasting effect, making it perfect for drink photography.

Artificial ice comes in various forms, such as chunks or shards. You can get them in different materials, some of which will look more realistic than others. Before you purchase any artificial ice, I highly encourage you to read reviews!

Learn how to take stunning drink photos with these 8 tips & tricks! From the rule of odds to backlighting and adding human elements, these simple techniques will help you create beautiful and memorable photos. Get ready to capture your next amazing drink photo!

6. Tell a Story

Every drink has a story, and your job as a photographer is to capture that story in your photos. Think about the context and the mood of the drink, and try to convey it through your composition, lighting, and props. Is it meant to be enjoyed on a hot summer day or to warm you up on a cold winter night? Is it a casual drink to share with friends or a special cocktail to celebrate a milestone?

To tell a story with your drink photos, consider the setting, the accessories, and the ambiance of your scene. For example, you can use a wooden table or a beach towel as a background for a casual vibe or a marble countertop or a velvet tablecloth for a more elegant look. 

Learn how to take stunning drink photos with these 8 tips & tricks! From the rule of odds to backlighting and adding human elements, these simple techniques will help you create beautiful and memorable photos. Get ready to capture your next amazing drink photo!

7. Add Human Element

Adding a human element to your drink photos can make them more relatable, engaging, and memorable. People love to see other people enjoying drinks, especially when they can imagine themselves in that situation. By including a hand in your photo, you can create a sense of connection between the viewer and the drink and make the image more inviting and personal.

As a one-man band, I often photograph myself holding the drink. If you do the same, make sure to set your camera on a timer and focus it on the spot where you’re going to hold the drink.

Learn how to take stunning drink photos with these 8 tips & tricks! From the rule of odds to backlighting and adding human elements, these simple techniques will help you create beautiful and memorable photos. Get ready to capture your next amazing drink photo!

8. Capture Action

I love action! It always adds a fun element to any photo. Capturing the action of the drink, such as pouring, shaking, stirring, or splashing, can add a sense of movement and excitement to your photos and make them more exciting and lively

Learn how to take stunning drink photos with these 8 tips & tricks! From the rule of odds to backlighting and adding human elements, these simple techniques will help you create beautiful and memorable photos. Get ready to capture your next amazing drink photo!

To capture the action of the drink, use a fast shutter speed and a burst mode to freeze the moment and capture multiple shots in a row. 

I hope these tips and tricks will help you take stunning drink photos that will wow your audience and enhance your portfolio. So remember to practice, experiment, have fun with your photography, and share your best shots on social media and your website (cuz you never know who’s watching). Cheers to your success!

Invitation to the online Drink Photography Workshop

How I styled this – Hot Cocoa

Take a look at how I styled a cup of hot cocoa. From how I created the composition to how I faked the cream!

Take a look at how I styled a cup of cocoa. From how I created the composition to how I faked the cream!

Welcome to this tutorial on I how I styled this photo of hot cocoa.

Even though the composition seems relatively simple, there were things to consider to make it appear light and bright. So keep on reading to find more.

Or, if you prefer to watch, you can watch the video below.

https://youtu.be/-XLPqhE0T-s

Starting Point and Inspiration

This was a photo from a recent photoshoot for the article How To Use Negative Space In Food Photography.

The idea was that I needed some negative space. However, I also wanted to include some visually interesting elements to fill out the space.

I wanted the photo to be flowy and dynamic without being overly full and crammed with props.

How I Styled This

I placed the tiled backdrop in the back at an angle to add some dynamics to the photo. (left photo below)

Then I started playing with how they are positioned in relation to each other. (right photo below)

I preferred the focus to be on the mug, and that’s why I ended up placing the vase more to the side. I just didn’t want it to overshadow this beautiful mug, which would eventually hold cocoa.

By changing the placement of the camera bit I was able to get more space at the top. This is a technique I love to use for brighter, whiter photos to give them that extra breathing space.

Then I started placing different elements around, starting with a little bit of color, which kind of gave me a clue of what the colors were gonna be like. To get that really nice cold and warm contrast, I went with the orange in contrast with the blueish whites. I love blues with brown foods because they bring the warmth out of the browns.

While the orange color from the dried oranges adds that extra color punch, a color emphasis.

The placement of the chocolate bar on the right balances out the darker bottom of the vase on the left.

Then I started playing with a spoon to make it appear more lived in, so I went with a golden one for an extra pop of color.

I tested different placements and ended up placing it on the other side so it caught just the right light. You can see how much more colorful it is when the light catches it. With the way I positioned it, I was able to get a similar hue to the oranges. I placed the spoon diagonally to add some dynamics to the frame.

Then I filled the vase to make the scene more realistic. I used the same colors, the brownish-orange, so it doesn’t distract and is just a nice complement, and added texture to the photo. (left photo below)

And then I decided the angle was too low, not giving enough space to showcase the cocoa (right photo below). If we compare the two angles (left and right photos below), you can see how we can see more of the inside of the mug, which you’ll see later works better.

Then I made the bottom dried orange more visible to really emphasize the orange color.

And you can see in the back how I also then moved the chocolate further out (change from the photo bottom left to bottom right). It’s a very dark element, so hiding it a bit makes the entire frame more balanced.

And I added some crystal sugar or candy sugar (photo bottom right), which not only adds to the texture but also gives a cozy wintery vibe.

I also added some crystal sugar in the back to balance things out. And played around with the positioning a bit so they are not too distracting (photos bottom left & right).

And then I added the cream. For this photo, I tested a styling trick, which I explained at the end of this article, so keep on reading!

As a finishing point, I wanted to add a little bit of texture on top, so I made some chocolate shavings. And sprinkled them over, and I also added a bit in the bottom corner.

And then the final touch, the dried orange slice in the cream. It’s that last interesting detail in a drink.

After the finishing touch – photo stacking. This is a technique we’ll discuss another time; I was able to get the entire drink pretty much in focus, with the background nicely blurred for a soft effect. So this is the final photo:

Take a look at how I styled a cup of cocoa. From how I created the composition to how I faked the cream!

Styling trick – Using Shaving Cream

Instead of using whipping cream, I used shaving cream.

The reason I liked working with it is that it holds for much longer, and it is easier to shape and create nice swirls. If you want to take a look at exactly how I worked with it, check the video at the top of this article at 5:55.

Just be sure not to drink the cocoa afterward!

Hope you enjoyed this mini-tutorial about how I styled this lovely (but unedible) cup of cocoa.

How To Use Negative Space in Food Photography

Elevate your food photography with negative space. Learn how to create balance, depth & impact. Techniques & examples included!

Elevate your food photography with negative space. Learn how to create balance, depth & impact. Techniques & examples included!

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

Negative space can sound pretty pessimistic, right? Fear not. Using negative space in your work can be very positive. See, what I did just there 🙂

In order to achieve balance in your photos, you must know how to include and place negative space inside a frame. Because, like all good things, it can help a composition, but it can also ruin it.

I’ve partnered with V-Flat World to use their beautiful food photography backdrops called duo boards in some photos showcasing how I use negative space in my work. If you have never tried these, they come with a very handy pair of duo legs that you can use to hold up the board in the back. Such a nice solution!

In this article, you’ll find out:

What is negative space?

That’s the empty space around your subject, while positive space is the space filled with elements. In short, negative space is the boring part of the photo where nothing really happens. I say boring, but it’s far from boring in reality.

Your job as a food photographer is to balance negative and positive space to create enticing compositions.

We also know the term passive space in art, and that’s the space where you might have some things, but they are very neutral and almost blend with the background, so they don’t carry as much visual weight, and just like the negative space create a space for the eyes to rest.

Why is negative space important in a photo?

It adds a sense of size and scale to an image, a sense of space and gives your subject room to breathe. It will lead the viewer to the main subject.

It creates areas in the photo that recede (that’s the negative space) and areas that advance (that’s the positive space). So what this creates is dimension and layers in your photos.

Too much negative space can overwhelm and distract from the subject just as much as something very bold and bright could. On the other hand, if there’s not enough empty space, the frame might be too saturated, and adding negative space would make it look more balanced.

When done correctly, a significant amount of negative space can actually be great and make the subject even more noticeable. This way, it can give a photo a dramatic feel and look. Heck, it can almost make it look quiet and peaceful. 

Simple ways to use negative space in food photography

FRAMING

When it comes to negative space, it can act as a frame for your subject, and using it like that will make your subject stand out.

You can approach that by placing your subject centrally and leaving room around it to make it pop and create a centerpiece for your photo. But be careful not to make it look disconnected from the rest of the image.

In the photo below, I placed my subject in the middle of the image to create a frame with negative space. But you can notice that I added some smaller elements around to make the connection with the frame edges. 

VISUAL BALANCE

Knowing that negative space holds a massive weight in a photo is essential. Much more than you might think.

This is especially important when you try to troubleshoot a photo where your subject needs to stand out. It can be a balance problem; one way to balance an image like that is by adding some empty space.

MOVEMENT

Negative space can be used to create movement in an image by leading the viewer’s eye through the composition. It can add dynamic visual interest to an image.

To do that we can use the empty space around the subject to create a sense of direction and movement that leads the viewer’s eye through the composition.

One way to create movement with empty space is to use diagonal lines or shapes. In order to know how to use this technique, you need to look at the negative space as positive, as if it were filled with elements. This way, you’ll notice the shapes it creates.

CREATING MOOD

Negative space can be used to create a sense of calm or tranquility in a photo, by leaving plenty of empty space around the subject. On the other hand, it can also be used to create a sense of tension or drama by filling the frame with elements and leaving very little empty space.

Elevate your food photography with negative space. Learn how to create balance, depth & impact. Techniques & examples included!

MINIMAL VS. BUSY SCENES

You might be thinking: Negative space only works in minimal scenes, with only a main subject and all that negative space. But that’s definitely not the case.

Let’s look at these two photos and see where I’ve placed the subjects in relation to negative space. 

In the left photo – a minimal scene – deciding where to place negative space is just a matter of left, right, up, and down. Mostly.

When it comes to busier scenes, or whenever you add additional elements to the frame, you must also look at the space between the elements and how negative space creates a connection or separation between them. Finding the right balance is achieved by proper composition, which I teach in detail in Food To Frame.

When we create images with lots of elements, we can easily create a very distracting scene, and it’s hard to know where the main subject is. It can make our eyes wander and never stop on a specific element in the frame. This is when we went too far and needed to remove some elements and introduce some empty space.

TEXT OVERLAYS

Leaving empty space is super important whenever text needs to be added on top, for example, magazines, packaging, brochures, and such.

I prepared a magazine cover mockup to give you an idea of how creating photos with the intention of placing text over can be different. For example, look at the image without text and the photo with text. The one without text might feel slightly unbalanced, but placing text over fixes that. Whereas if the picture was crowded, it would make the text hard to fit.

CONCLUSION 

Negative space is here to add some lightness to the frame. It makes the photo breathe. However, adding negative space is not a rule, and many beautiful images have almost no empty space. It all comes down to what feeling you’d like to portray.

Food Styling, Photography & Business Retreat

Food Photography Equipment You Need

Let’s talk about food photography equipment because who doesn’t love a chat about what gear you need as a professional food photographer?

Throughout this article, I will show you what food photography equipment I currently use and what I’m using it. So you’ll get a good glimpse into what a professional photographer needs to create their stunning work. But remember that building any collection, whether prop or gear, takes time. I only had some of this gear when I first picked up my camera!

Let's talk about food photography equipment because who doesn't love a chat about what gear you need as a professional food photographer?

Note: This page may contain affiliate links to products and services I love to use and recommend.

Camera and lenses

Ever since I started photographing food, I’ve been using Canon. I am currently using a full-frame camera, Canon EOS 6D mark II. However, I started with a hobby crop-sensor camera, Canon EOS 600D, which I still use for some of my behind the scene and styling session photos.

The lenses I currently use are:

Canon 100m 2.8 macro

Canon 50mm 1.8

Canon 85mm 1.4

Canon 25-70mm 2.8

I used to have a Sigma 30mm 1.4 lens, which I adored and would recommend anytime since it produced beautiful photos and which survived a huge fall. However, it is only applicable to crop-sensor cameras.

Unsure how to use your camera? Be sure to read all about Manual Mode. Or you might want to read about camera angles and which lens to use when.

Natural light gear

Working with natural light usually requires a modifier of some sort. I mostly use my large 5-in-1 120x90cm diffuser to soften the light coming through the window. I love that it can use covers in 4 different colors to use as reflectors or black flags. Often I don’t need such a big reflector, which is when I use a smaller Neweer 60x90cm 5-in-1 diffuser/reflector.

Whenever I need to modify light with smaller modifiers, I love using a cardboard self-standing A3 reflector or a 5mm white/black foamboard which I can cut to the needed size. (Note: The foamboards in the links differ from what I use since I bought them locally, so I can’t guarantee the quality.)

Let's talk about food photography equipment because who doesn't love a chat about what gear you need as a professional food photographer?

Artificial light gear

I prefer using a flash over continuous light when working on stills. You can check my Artificial Light for beginners workshop if you want to know why and learn more about working with artificial light. 

Currently, I’m using three Quadralite Stroboss 60 C units, which are 60Ws speedlights. And I use the Godox SL60 continuous light for video and some stills.

Working with artificial light requires careful manipulation. There are many options out there. The main softboxes and umbrellas I currently use are:

Quadralite 60×60 softbox

Foldable Godox 60×60 softbox (for on-location shoots)

Godox 70×100 softbox

Soonpho 22×90 cm stripbox

Godox 120cm octagon umbrella

Studio gear – tripods and stands

I started with very basic tripods, which I still own and use from time to time, but I’ve fallen in love with my Manfrotto 058B Triaut Camera Tripod (discontinued). Having a sturdy tripod makes work so much easier. I’m using the tripod with the Manfrotto XPRO Geared 3-Way Head, which is incredible for making precise adjustments. 

For on-location shoots, I use the Neweer tripod with a central column with a ball head; however, I prefer a geared head from Manfrotto, which is much more precise and easy to handle.

For top-down photos or as a stand for modifiers, I’m using the Neweer C-stand.

Another piece of gear I love are the Neweer metal clamps.

Editing software

I use Adobe Lightroom Classic and Adobe Photoshop to edit my photos and DaVinci Resolve for video editing.

Join my free Lightroom webinar replay to learn a few tricks and some of my favorite Lightroom shortcuts and watch me edit a photo in Lightroom, 

Organizational software and more

In running a business, the organization of the process is crucial. I use Asana for my schedule, content, and business process organization.

How to build an email list as a creative or a food photographer

I had an open discussion about the future of social media with a colleague last week. It got us thinking about all the different platforms out there and how much energy it takes to constantly create new content without ever being sure that the right people will see it.

And we both agreed that there is one platform (not usually called social, but in a way, it is just that!), and that’s our emails.

You should start and build your email list no matter what you do. If you are a content creator or food photographer then this is for you.

Building an email list allows you to reach people genuinely interested in what you have to say and offer. If you post on Instagram (or any other platform), only a tiny percentage of your followers will see your post. But when you have an email list, in theory, all of your email community members should get your email. I’m saying this because deliverability is usually not 100%, but still, a number close to that.

You can see the big difference between an Instagram post and an email reach.

The people who get on your email list are there because they took the time to type in their name and email address, which takes much more time and effort than most people will give you on Instagram, TikTok, or any other social media platform. Which is why you will know that these are your people. And it is much easier and often more rewarding to speak to them than to write a post on Instagram. It feels more personal and will also be for our subscribers.

And that’s what we want to build our engaged communities.

Does this mean you don’t need social media and should only focus on email?

Definitely not. Social media gives you exposure to new people who would otherwise have a harder time finding you AND GETTING ON YOUR EMAIL LIST. Both of these together can be magical. So let’s see how you can leverage your current audience to build an email list.

How can you start an email list?

Simply put, an email list is only a list of email addresses you own (unlike your social media followers). 

Everything you need to gather emails is a landing page or a form on your website, which is why email newsletter providers are super handy, and they let you send emails to all your subscribers at once.

Besides, you need to incentivize people to subscribe to your email. A promise of what they get – an opt-in. This could be a PDF, an ebook, exclusive content, free courses and webinars, checklists, guides, and whatnot. Get creative with what you have to offer.

I’ve been using ConvertKit for three years now, and I love how simple it is to use and how time-saving all the automation features are. I can’t recommend it enough.

You should start and build your email list no matter what you do. If you are a content creator or food photographer then this is for you.

How can you grow your email list?

I’ve been building my email list since I started my blog in 2015, and it took a lot of work before I realized how to do it properly.

Unfortunately, once you’ve created an email list, you can leave it there. Instead, you need to find ways for people to see it.

Here are a few ways you can market your opt-in:

  • Adding forms to relevant posts and other places on your blog 
  • Sharing the landing page link to Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube… or any other platform you are using and do so regularly, not just once
  • Add the link in your bio on Instagram and your description on Pinterest.
  • Share it on Facebook groups when relevant.
  • Ask people you speak online and feel would benefit from your opt-in if you can send them the link (You won’t believe how effective that is!)
  • Be creative and constantly search for new places to share your opt-in!
You should start and build your email list no matter what you do. If you are a content creator or food photographer then this is for you.

What to include in your newsletters?

People sign up for your newsletter to not miss anything new you create. So share your latest blog posts, Youtube videos, podcasts, or any content you create. Let them know you have something new.

The good thing is that you can include whatever you are already sharing on social media. Not everyone sees those posts (as we already discussed!), and they definitely want to make sure to see them, so repurpose your Instagram content, especially when it resonates with your IG audience. That’s content your email community will want to see.

An email is also a place where you can be more personal, share stories you don’t share with others, and let your community be a little closer to you.

You can also tell them about your new books, courses, workshops, or whatever you offer that your community will find helpful.

ConvertKit also offers a paid newsletter, which is super helpful when you want to add even more content to your fans and have it delivered straight into their inboxes.

It’s easy for bloggers and educators to share an opt-in. But what if you’re a food photographer?

You can still have an email list even if your audience is food brands, restaurants, and other food-related businesses.

You will also need a very useful opt-in that will help their business and is somewhat related to food photography.

Those are businesses, so make sure to respect their time. It’s enough to send a newsletter to brands only a few times a year. Just enough to keep your name on top of mind in case they need a photographer and not think of you as spammy.

If this is you, I’m giving you a task today.

Think of three topics you can write to your food brand email list. What would they benefit from? What do you have to offer? Do you provide a new service, and how does it help brands? Can you share a photoshoot story to build authority or a behind-the-scenes that they’d enjoy? Or anything else they’d benefit from!

I hope this was helpful!

I’d love to hear your thoughts or worries about building an email list. Let me know in the comments!

And if you’re searching for a great newsletter provider, I can’t recommend ConvertKit enough. I moved from Mailchimp to ConvertKit three years ago, and it was such an easy move and an enjoyable experience to use the app. That said, choosing which provider is not as important as starting your email list today!

FOODSTYLING, PHOTOGRAPHY & BUSINESS RETREAT 2023

This article includes affiliate links, meaning I get a small commission if you purchase through the links provided on this page. Note that I only recommend products I love and enjoy, regardless of whether I get a commission!

How To Make Artificial Light Look Natural

If done correctly, artificial light can elevate your food photography process and make it easier to handle long photoshoots while producing a consistent look. However, it takes some understanding of the basics of light to make it look natural.

If done correctly, artificial light can elevate your food photography process and make it easier to handle long photoshoots while producing a consistent look. However, it takes some understanding of the basics of light to make it look natural.

The world of artificial light is vast and has so much to offer. You can create looks that are out of this world, but you can also create a photo that looks like it was taken in natural light.

And this is what we are focusing on in this article.

I remember my early days of blogging when I was creating recipes and taking photos, which took me so long. During the time I got from the first to the last shot, my light changed a gazillion times. My editing skills were nowhere near what they are these days, and editing that series of images was a nightmare.

I refused to get artificial light because I was sure it would make my photos look cringe. But then, one day, I decided to get my first off-camera flash (which I use to this date!), and I was so scared to start.

But once I took the courage to test it out and see for myself and practice, practice, practice; this is when I realized artificial light could look exactly like natural light. It’s all about knowing a few key ingredients.

We will talk a lot more in-depth in the live Artificial Light For Beginners Workshop, so if you’re interested in that, click here.

And now, let’s see all the different things you need to do to make your artificial light look natural.

Learn about light dynamics

Working with any type of light, you will notice it has some characteristics. It changes depending on a few factors, and observing those changes is crucial to learn both natural and artificial light.

When we talk about the properties of light, we can divide them into quantity and quality.

Quantity is how much light we have on hand.

Quality is how this light looks like.

I like to teach my students in my Food To Frame course about the four pillars of light dynamics – Intensity of light (That’s the quantity), the color of light, the direction of light, and the softness or hardness of the light (these are the quality side of light).

Learning about these dynamic properties of light is crucial to know how to modify your light when working with artificial light. The key is knowing how light changes when working with a larger softbox compared to a small one or knowing how the distance of the light source from your subject can make light harder or softer.

Remember!

The bigger the modifier, the softer the light.

The bigger the distance between the light and the subject, the harder the light.

Observe natural light and how it looks in certain situations

There is no better teacher but the nature itself.

Observing how light looks and changes is one of the best ways to learn artificial light. Sounds strange, I know. But if you want to re-create natural light, you need to know what it looks like.

Become a student of light and observe how light in nature:

  • is diffused,
  • gets blocked
  • and gets reflected off surfaces.

Take a mental (or real) note of how this happens and combine this with your light dynamics knowledge.

I encourage you to take simple subjects, like produce or drinks (A simple glass with colored water will do!) and see how it looks in different natural light scenarios.

Use the right modifier (size, diffusion material layers)

Everything always comes to the dynamics of light. There is really no going past that!

There are two important things you need to consider when modifying your artificial light:

Using the right size of your modifier. As I mentioned above, a larger modifier (aka a larger light source) the softer the light and vice versa.

Knowing how many diffusion layers to add. Typically we only focus on the shape and size of a modifier, but what is also very important is how many layers of diffusion you need to use. The more layers you use, the softer the shadows will be, creating lovely, natural-looking soft shadows.

How to use artificial light behind the scenes

Distance is key!

One of the best things about artificial light is that you can move the light around the scene and not the other way around. This allows you to explore how the light looks when you place it further or closer to the scene.

If you place your light closer, you’ll get softer shadows, and placing it further back will create harder shadows. They can both be found in nature, so there is no wrong or right here. But, you need to know what your end goal is to know to place your light.

There is much more to discuss on this end, and we’ll be delving deep into this topic with examples and much more in the Artificial Light For Beginners workshop. I’ll be happy to see you inside if you decide to join.

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.