© Reka Csulak - Swiss Chocolate Bar

70 Pro Tips For Next Level Food Photography

From Your Favourite Food Photographers and Stylists

I am sure that You follow many talented food photographers and stylists on Instagram, admiring their work, getting inspired by their creative solutions, technical skills, and wondering: how they achieved the high level of professionalism that their images are constantly signaling?

What if I tell You, that we open the treasure-box of their knowledge and You can read about the decisions, skills or gear that had the biggest impact on their food photography?

That’s right! I’ve teamed up with the creators you admire the most, to ask them about these things and I will also share my perspective on this topic.


But, before this great fun starts, I want to share one of my biggest achievements in my photography career. This year my image not only has been shortlisted, but it made it to be a finalist and got

honored with the ‘Highly Commended’ title
in the Food Bloggers category of
Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year 2020 Awards
.

So, my friend, I would like to officially announce this unbelievable milestone of my creative life and also congratulate to all category and overall winners of the awards! You can have a look at my finalist photograph below. These are not fruits, but some pretty, traditional Hungarian Wedding Peach Cakes, and of course, the recipe of this vintage dessert is available on the blog.

© Reka Csulak - Pink Lady Finalist 2020

And now back to the super exciting topic of this post! Let’s see the answers of many talented creatives about the most important things that had the biggest impact on their food photography!

100%, learning to find and use light. Light is the basis of every great photograph. When the light is good, everything else can suffer, and the image will still be gorgeous. I was a wedding photographer for 8 years before I switched to food photography. As wedding photographers (I worked with my SIL), we often had very little control over our situation, so we became very, very practiced at finding “good light” in any room – AND the tricks for using not so good light to our advantage. I discuss a lot about this in my Fundamentals of Food Photography pdf.

Becky Hadeed, photographer and host of The Storied Recipe Podcast
@thestoriedrecipe_podcast
www.thestoriedrecipe.com

© Becky Hadeed - Vegan Shuba
Photo by © Becky Hadeed

The most important decision for me was to work my style. I think each photographer has its unique style and it is very important for the audience and brands connection. Therefore, in the last one and half year I dedicated myself to build my style through prop collection, colors that I like and mainly focusing on some storytellings behind the recipes and images.

Camila Seraceni
@camilaseraceni
www.camilaseraceni.com.br/portfolio

© Camila Seraceni - Torta de Pera
Photo by © Camila Seraceni

I noticed the most significant leap forward in my photography when I learned to shoot in manual mode. It was the first time that I felt in control of the images I was creating.

Joanie Simon
@thebiteshot
thebiteshot.com

The most important gear that had the biggest impact on my food photography was using fixed focus lenses for shooting food photos, especially the 50mm f1.8 lens. It is perfect for close-ups, flat lays and it also has a narrow depth of field that I often use to make my subject shine and pop while the rest of the scene is blurred.

Dina Adam,
Freshly Pictured
https://www.instagram.com/freshlypictured/

© Dina Adam - Freshly Pictured
Photo by © Dina Adam

This is a tough one to answer, I briefly went to art school and then a school for industrial design in the late 90s (yes, I am thát old 😉 and a lot of my friends are artists so I’ve always been surrounded by creativity. I just sort of forgot I was creative too! People always told me I was creative but I was like nah, I’m not, probably because my brother is a painter and I was just working in marketing. I had my food blog, Dorothy Porker, a few years before that but had disbanded it because work was so demanding. I decided to restart it when I was on sick leave due to mental health issues (which ultimately caused me to lose my job). As I was ‘building’ my new blog, I saw an ad for an online food photography course and taking that basically got my creative gears rolling again. It gave me a great foundation to really start thinking about food photography as a form of art and not as just a quick snapshot of my plate on a table. However, I think the most important decision I made at this point was to do it for me. My background is in social media, I worked for A-list brands for over a decade and wrote my MA thesis on MySpace, and I decided not to use all the tricks I knew from my work experience. Instead, I decided to focus on what made my food blog and social media fun for me. I think if I had pulled out all the stops from my professional background, combined with all the knowledge other food bloggers turned food photography and social media coaches have generously shared online, I could be a lot ‘bigger’ at this point (whatever that means). But I wanted this to be something authentic, that was about my creative growth and happiness while sharing great comforting and easy recipes, and not another ‘pressure’ thing that demanded I somehow perform. Because I was always beating myself over the head when I didn’t get stuff right, when I started photography again in earnest I also decided to stop just before I was happy with a shot. It was pretty horrifying at first and I hated some of the shots I’ve put out. But it taught me to be okay with learning and growth, rather than trying to get stuff right on the first try and get angry and frustrated with myself for getting stuff ‘wrong’ and has really helped me calm down in all areas of my life. In that sense, coming back to creativity through food photography has been a life safer.  I think that alongside my curiosity quite early on to find other less ‘classic’ food photographers for inspiration have helped me to be where I am (creatively) today. Of course, I would love for food photography, styling, art direction and/ or recipe development to render me some form of income, but I hope with what I have done so far I will be able to do that from a place of authenticity and ‘being me’ rather than another form of drudgery because I focused on fitting a mold too much.  

Dorothy Porker
@dorothyporker
www.instagram.com/dorothyporker

© Dorothy Porker
Photo by © Dorothy Porker

The most critical decision that has impacted my photography was to get a DSLR and subsequently learn how to shoot in manual mode. Shooting in manual mode in RAW format allows me creative control over aperture, shutter speed, and brightness, which has allowed me to grow as a food photographer.

Emily Miller
Resplendent Kitchen
resplendentkitchen.com/photography/

© Emily Miller
Photo by © Emily Miller

Working with a mentor. By far. I learned a lot online, bought some great ebooks and signed up for a few {fantastic} courses, but what helped me the most was by far coaching. Talking one on one with somebody who has been where you are at, who can give you honest feedback on your work and advice for the specific areas you are struggling with has been game-changing. It has helped me a ton with both my skills and the business aspects of being a photographer. I have worked with several mentors and they have all helped me in different areas such as confidence, composition, styling, lighting and much more. 

Fanette Rickert, food photographer and stylist, educator
@frenchlyphotography
www.french.ly/blog

© Fanette Rickert
Photo by © Fanette Rickert

Probably the best decision, as perhaps uneventful as it sounds, was to start my Instagram page and find others with photography I was drawn to so I can use their images as inspiration. In doing so, I try to identify the aspects I like about each image and try to incorporate them into my own images. This is perhaps not an ‘easy fix’ answer, but I think that without it my photography would probably still be around where it was 4 years ago.
I found that the way to make the most out of it is to look at your inspiration images’ editing as well, because editing can make a world of difference.
More technical aspects, such as knowing how to operate on manual mode and how to control light are things I would suggest, but a lot of the refining of those skills comes from putting them into practice by trying to, for instance, imitate a certain look or style, or experimenting.
Likewise, with things like composition techniques, they are useful to know but I think they feel more natural to use once you have developed your eye, which can be done by analyzing those inspiration photos and practicing! Those composition rules can help you understand why you may like a certain composition though.
So really, the important thing is to analyze the photos you like. What kind of lighting do they use? Do they use bold, or muted colours? What kind of message do they convey? Do they focus on certain aspects of their subjects? Things like that. For instance, I realized I love textures in images, so I always try to bring out the textures using both lighting and editing. I’m also into more muted colours and cooler tones, so I also edit in that style.
Whilst getting better gear may be helpful, they can only really give you more freedom to experiment with the experience and ideas you already have.
I personally use an old Canon EOS 500D, and I only just got a 50mm lens at the end of last year. Until then, I was only using the kit lens. The 50mm simply gave me more freedom to play around with ideas I already had but couldn’t execute with the kit lens.

Felicia Chuo
@fliske
fliskesfoodstudio.wordpress.com

© Felicia Chuo
Photo by © Felicia Chuo

There were actually two factors that improved my skills and helped me find my style. One was the decision to study food photography in a way suitable for my circumstances: online. I did Rachel Korinek’s courses, from Two Loves Studio. I wanted to study photography only from the food point of view and learn from a photographer with experience. I didn’t want to spend my time guessing what skills I needed or how to acquire them. The other factor was to follow a practicing routine. Every day. I always cooked the food I photographed, it was a way to connect to what I was doing, and to decide on how to style it.

Irina Georgescu
@irina.r.georgescu
http://www.irinageorgescu.com/

© Irina Georgescu
Photo by © Irina Georgescu

Investing into artificial lights. I used to photograph only with natural window light, which obviously is beautiful and you can do so much with it. But artificial light gives control. Now I am not bound to the time and weather, and have full control over the light.  

Kamile Kaveckaite
@kamilekave
http://www.kamilekave.com/

© Kamile Kaveckaite - Cacao explosion
Photo by © Kamile Kaveckaite

The most important decision I made was to attend a food photography workshop. It really transformed everything for me. Firstly, I met some amazing creatives who I am still friends with today. We have collaborated together, given each other support and checked in with one another over the years. Secondly, I drew so much knowledge but also heaps of inspiration from the workshop; it’s why I feel so passionate about teaching workshops now, because it’s the single most transformative thing I did on my food photography journey. And finally, there was something about making a financial investment in me and my learning that felt incredibly scary, but also made me realise how much I truly loved food photography and how I wanted it to be more than just a hobby. That was eye-opening, and gave me the push I needed to really go for it. Workshops may not be for everyone, but they were the right thing for me. 

Kimberly Espinel
The Little Plantation
https://www.instagram.com/thelittleplantation/

© Kimberly Espinel - Salad
Photo by © Kimberly Espinel

The decision that set me on track to become a professional food photographer was when I contacted Rachel Korinek @twolovesstudio at the beginning of 2017 for a critique service she was offering. I wanted to know if I had anything worth nurturing or even continuing with.

Therese Bourne
@theurbannest
therese.bourne.org

Learning about composition has helped my food photography tremendously. This is an ongoing project and I’m far from an expert but I have looked at A LOT of photos by my favourite food photography experts and analysed what I like about each one as well as seeking out tuition videos on YouTube.

Krissie
@fancyplantsfoodie

© Krissie Oldroyd
Photo by © Krissie Oldroyd

The choice to dedicate myself to practice constantly, trying every day. Dedicating yourself to something automatically leads you to improve.

Lucia Carniel, blog author
@lultimafetta
www.lultimafetta.it 

© Lucia Carniel
Photo by © Lucia Carniel

The biggest decision that had the biggest impact of my food/wine photography was to take the skills I had learnt from my previous work in photography. I was a fashion, skateboard and music photographer before I settled on wine. I took what I had learnt from those, the angles, the colors the lenses, the lighting and above all the action. In My photographs I really try to tell a story first, before the technical side I need a context. From skateboarding I got the fast speeds I like to shoot with, from fashion I try to show culture and music gives me a lifestyle approach. 

Matt Wilson
@matt.wilson.gc
https://www.instagram.com/matt.wilson.gc/

© Matt Wilson - Sommelier Wayve Kolevsohn in the Ellerman House Hotel wine cellar
Photo by © Matt Wilson

It was definitely baking, it all started because I wanted to share my baked goods through social media but I wasn’t happy with my phone photos.

Melissa Sampedro
@worldkitchenadventures
https://www.melissasampedro.com/home

© Melissa Sampedro
Photo by © Melissa Sampedro

For me, one of the most important decision that has had the biggest impact on my food photography was to actually take time to shoot. When I started my food photography journey, I would mainly shoot dishes that I was about to eat – my breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners. This resulted in me feeling more rushed to shoot because I was either hungry or did not want to eat my food cold. I realized that through practice, by actually taking time to spend time with my food, I was learning much faster and started to actually understand photography better. What does this mean concretely? For me, it means playing with angles, playing with the light, playing with my set up, playing with my lenses, spending at least 1 hour per shoot, etc. This has been a total game-changer and I recommend this to anyone looking to improve their food photography skills.

Murielle Banackissa
@muriellebanackissa
https://www.instagram.com/muriellebanackissa/

© Murielle Banackissa - Eggnog Drink
Photo by © Murielle Banackissa

I was originally a landscape photographer and had a lot of money invested in specialised equipment and products to purchase. I took food photos as a hobby until I realised that food photography and styling was what made my heart sing. Deciding to pack away my landscape equipment and concentrate solely on my food photography, even though people thought I was mad, allowed me to give up my day job within six months and to a career and life that I never imagined.

Naomi Sherman
@naomisherman_foodcreative
www.naomishermanfoodcreative.com

© Naomi Sherman
Photo by © Naomi Sherman

I stopped to compare my work with others. This was important, so I was able to get free in my head. I don´t have a certain „style“, so every day is a new challenge. I really never know what will be the result at the end of the day. 
But also very important: a good camera. 

Patrick Rosenthal
@patrick_rosenthal
https://www.instagram.com/patrick_rosenthal/

© Patrick Rosenthal
Photo by © Patrick Rosenthal

Using manual focus made the biggest impact on my food photography, and after this new habit has been built into my everyday shooting routine the improvement of my images’ sharpness level was huge, so this is definitely something that I instantly suggest to other creatives who I am mentoring.

Reka Csulak, photographer, stylist & creative educator
@rekacsulak
www.rekacsulak.com

© Reka Csulak - Burger styling
Photo by © Reka Csulak



The biggest impact on my photography was when I started to not only see but to understand the light. The available light in the room is not just there, it comes from a direction, it has temperature and softness. When I started to consciously see it I also learned to use and direct it. It was rather a process than a moment so I can’t really tell when it exactly happened. The good news is that it’s learnable, you just have to train your eye with a lot of practice.

Évi Bóta
Salt Wine Friends
@evi_bota

© Évi Bóta - Tojások
Photo by © Évi Bóta

One of the most important gears that had the biggest impact on my food photography is purchasing a sturdy c-stand. I can’t tell you how many times it has come to the rescue! A c-stand not only allows me to ensure I get a sharp image (I have very shaky hands haha) but it also enables me to add a human element to my scene which I find enhances the overall storytelling of my photo. 

Ria Bass
@vibrantbythespoonful
https://www.instagram.com/vibrantbythespoonful/

© Ria Bass
Photo by © Ria Bass

To learn how to edit in Lightroom, it gives you the ability to make meh images into wow images and helps you read photos better which in turn makes you a better photographer. It was a real game-changer for me. (The course I took was Lightroom magic by twolovesstudio.)

Sandy Wood
@sandywood
www.sandywood.co.uk

© Sandy Wood
Photo by © Sandy Wood

Definitely investing in food photography education, the very first big step being Rachel Korinek’s composition course. And after that courses in editing, lighting and the business side of photography too. Photography is a never-ending learning journey and a very fun and engaging one!

Sonia Bozzo
@soniabozzo
soniabozzo.com

© Sonia Bozzo - Butter Sage Ravioli
Photo by © Sonia Bozzo

Skills. My most important skill is to understand the clients’ needs. What would I do with all the technical stuff I have mastered if I am unable to transmit the right message my clients want, hired me for? Knowing why my photographs help selling their product will make them understand and value the work I do. I studied Tourism and Hospitality Management and worked in hotels for many years before I became a photographer and it is a fantastic advantage for me, I understand their business needs and I can, of course, sell myself, my services. 

Viktor Kery
@viktorkery
www.keryviktor.net

I think the decision I made that had the biggest impact on my photography was when I decided to start saying no to the work I really didn’t want and only accept or pursued the work/projects the aligned wit my vision for my business. Turning down paid jobs isn’t easy but it, in turn, attracted more of the work I wanted and I think work that really fulfills you always shows up as your best work!

Tanya Bates, food photographer & stylist
Extra For Avocado
@extraforavocado

© Tanya Bates - Blinds Shadows
Photo by © Tanya Bates

It would be a gear and it’s artificial light/speedlight. I, unfortunately, don’t have a lot of natural light where I live and having a reliable source of light is very important for a planned and organized shoot. I like how you can control and manipulate artificial light in order to get a specific mood that you would like to deliver through your photos. It is intimidating at first but once you get the hang of it, you’ll see that the possibilities are endless. 

Shiela Cruz
@flavourfilled
https://www.instagram.com/flavourfilled

© Shiela Cruz
Photo by © Shiela Cruz

The most important change I made to the way I approach food photography was to style and edit until I was content. I never start shooting a scene after setting it up once. I usually rearrange several times before I start photographing. Ultimately I try to push myself until the set is perfect. This same concept applies to editing. Re-style and re-edit.

Betty Binon
@stemsandforks
https://www.stemsandforks.com/

By far, the most important skill that had the biggest impact on my food photography was learning how to shoot with flash. When I first got started with food photography, lighting was a huge source of frustration for me. Living in a wooded area in a canyon surrounded by trees made it a struggle to find a good source of natural light in my home. Once I learned how to use flash (thanks to @thebiteshot Joanie Simon’s Artificial Academy) it was like a whole new world opened up to me and I finally began to feel happy with the results I could achieve in my photography.

Alana Haldan, vegan blogger and food photographer
@sproutsandkrauts
https://sproutsandkrauts.com

© Alana Haldan
Photo by © Alana Haldan

Learning dark or low key photography. When I was just starting out, I was shooting with all continuous artificial lighting, and natural light on occasion. I only understood very basic concepts about light, and how to manipulate it. I’d read articles and watched videos about the exposure triangle (the balancing of iso, aperture, and shutter speed to create a properly exposed photo), but I didn’t fully understand the concept. Most of my photos at the time were also light and airy.
While it was important to master light and airy photography, learning how to shoot low key or dark photos meant that I had to change the entire concept of how I approached a photoshoot.
For starters, I had read that when shooting a dark photo, the ISO on your camera should be as low as possible. 100 or 200 at the most. This is because the higher the ISO is, the more grain will show up in a photo. And, with dark photography, that grain becomes significantly more visible. 
Only, I had always used a fairly high ISO. In fact, one of the few things I understood about my camera was that a higher ISO meant the image would be brighter. 
So, by venturing into dark photography, and being forced, so to speak, into using a low ISO, it became imperative that I immediately understood how to adjust the shutter speed and aperture to keep the image from being underexposed
Once I grasped this, and truly learned how to manipulate light, I was suddenly comfortable in taking more risks in my photography, which is what has helped me grow. 
But perhaps, one of the most important things to me… when I started fiddling with the settings on my camera, I became more comfortable with it. Instead of my camera being something I was scared or intimidated of, it became my friend. There’s rarely a day now, where I don’t want to be hanging with my new friend!

Elizabeth Dworkin, commercial food and beverage photographer
@eatliftbe
https://www.eatliftbe.com

© Elizabeth Dworkin
Photo by © Elizabeth Dworkin

I had to think about the answers, but basically, the biggest step forward in my story was changing over from phone, but what I would like to highlight even more is changing the kit lens on my camera (Canon EOS M50) to EF 50 mm f/1.8 STM, which I’d mention as the most important gear. Since then the quality of my photos has been improved significantly.

Hanna Smuczer
@smuczer.hanna
www.smuczerhanna.com

© Hanna Smuczer
Photo by © Hanna Smuczer

The most important piece of gear (other than my camera and lens!) has to be a tripod with an overhead arm which I bought a couple of years ago on eBay. I find it invaluable for doing overhead flatlays – no more out of focus shots as I wobble precariously above my set up! It’s also really useful shooting in low light at a slow shutter speed and also for taking shots which include my hands for which I use a remote.

Annie
@annie.at.fenland.lottie
www.fenlandlottie.blogspot.com

© Annie Graves
Photo by © Annie Graves

Although I am photographing and writing my gastro blog for many years, creating recipes and photos for gastro magazines, I am still thinking of myself as a hobby photographer and chef. The main reason is that I have never learned photography or cooking. However, I picked up everything I know by years-long practicing, experimenting, and self-learning, these are the things that brought me where I am now. Perhaps this is why I was able to retain the vibes that still make me feel these activities are helping me to relax and reload my energies. At the beginning I took photos using my phone which I swapped to a camera, this was a big step forward for sure. Since then, I keep collecting the props, tools that are really useful, but I’ve never thought how handy it will be to use a bounce card and a diffuser in food photography (as well) 🙂

Bea Romics
@szotyi_creations
https://www.instagram.com/szotyi_creations/

© Bea Romics
Photo by © Bea Romics

I started food photography at Ringier Axel Springer. We worked together for 4 years, I took 33000 images for them, and I learned an awful lot about food photography during these years. But at some point, I had to leave the publisher to strengthen my own style, and to have customers who prefer the clean visual style that focusing to the dishes, which I feel absolutely related to me and my principles.

Orsi Szöllősi Kiss
@elobbfotozunk_aztaneszunk
https://www.instagram.com/elobbfotozunk_aztaneszunk/

© Orsi Szöllősi Kiss
Photo by © Orsi Szöllősi Kiss

I think the biggest thing was my children supporting me. I’d been working 4 jobs so I could save up and take them on a holiday and then they turned to me and said “mama, you need to spend that money on a camera, it’s what you want and we want you to go for it” I wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for their belief in me!

Ros
@her_dark_materials
https://www.instagram.com/her_dark_materials/

© Ros Atkinson
Photo by © Ros Atkinson

I love to photograph using natural light. I always try to find beautiful light and I think light is the most important thing in photography. For me, it has been a very useful skill to learn how to shape and manipulate natural light.

Minna
@minna_vauhkonen
https://www.instagram.com/minna_vauhkonen/

© Minna Vauhkonen
Photo by © Minna Vauhkonen

Food composition! Once I understood composition techniques my photography went to another level. 

Maria de Conceicao
@curryoncooking.ch
https://www.instagram.com/curryoncooking.ch/

© Maria de Conceicao
Photo by © Maria de Conceicao

A breakthrough for me was learning to understand the light and becoming comfortable with the concepts of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. This allowed me to capture a combination of different moments with very different styles and to capture the moment without thinking too much about all the settings.

Ania Elias
@ania_elias
www.aniaelias.com

© Ania Elias
Photo by © Ania Elias

It will probably be a collective of things: decision- to invest in some online courses (how to use LR and PS properly, how to use artificial light, how to run photography as a business); skill- learning every single function on my camera so I know it in and out; gear- my macro lens and C- stand.

Anna Wierzbinska
@anna_wierzbinska
https://annabanana.co/

© Anna Wierzbinska
Photo by © Anna Wierzbinska


© Reka Csulak - Swiss Chocolate Bar

The skill that has an impact on my food photography is probably the completion of the chef school after gymnasium, and 6 years of experience in this profession both in Hungary and abroad. Thanks to these years, I feel confident in this working environment.

Aron Erdohati
@aerdohati
www.aronerdohati.com

© Aron Erdohati
Photo by © Aron Erdohati Fruccola.hu Stylist: Panka Milutinovits

Mastering manual mode, without a doubt! When I first switched from automatic to manual mode it was a disaster, as I was just trying to figure everything out without any real knowledge. But once I learned about aperture, shutter speed and ISO, and more importantly how they worked TOGETHER….it revolutionised my photography. The more you can control in camera, the more dynamic imagery you are able to produce. I’ll never look back. 

Christall Lowe
@christall.lowe
https://www.instagram.com/christall.lowe/

© Christall Lowe
Photo by © Christall Lowe

I’ve found that the knowledge of composition and styling is by far the most important part to master, if you don’t work with food stylists or food creators that can make a dish presentable for photo. Because even though light can make a subject more appetizing and interesting, if it’s poorly styled and composed, it still won’t look good.

David Pahmp
@davidpahmp
https://davidpahmp.com

© David Pahmp
Photo by © David Pahmp

The most important skill that had the biggest impact on my food photography journey was learning how to work with artificial light. After spending considerable time working with natural light, understanding the principles & learning how to manipulate it, I stepped into the world of artificial light. It not only gave me the flexibility to shoot at my convenience at any time of the day but it also strengthened my knowledge of light. I was able to do photography for restaurants & other clients at their choice of venue. I could shoot for clients in any kind of space & lighting conditions. Most importantly, I was able to create lighting that matched their branding – which may sometimes be hard to achieve with natural light or the lighting conditions on-site. Working with artificial light was a complete game-changer for me. 

Dyutima Jha
@dyutima_myfoodlens
https://myfoodlens.com

© Dyutima Jha
Photo by © Dyutima Jha

Training myself to read, appreciate and understand light. Light is the foundation of photography as it’s the way we see the world, so it will always have the biggest impact – no amount of styling the perfect dish will create a good image with bad light, and it’s when I first began to really notice it in everyday life that I started to see the transformation in my photography.

Elise Humphrey
@eliseshootsfood
www.elisehumphrey.com

© Elise Humphrey
Photo by © Elise Humphrey

When I bought a lens that *wasn’t* the crappy kit lens that came with my camera. The first lens I ever bought was the 50mm 1.8, and seeing the huge difference it made in the images I was creating was an eye-opener! It really showed me how much the lenses I used could open up a whole new world of shooting angles and image styles. That’s what made me start to learn everything I could about the technical side of photography, like what’s physically happening in the lens and the camera when you make your settings adjustments, etc. I was just so blown away by the difference a single piece of glass could make. It definitely set me on the road I am now as a photographer, who loves both the creative and the technical aspects of visual storytelling.

Eva Kosmas Flores, photographer + author + educator
@evakosmasflores
www.firstweeat.co

© Eva Kosmas Flores - Pumpkin Meringue Pie with a Graham Cracker Crust
Photo by © Eva Kosmas Flores

Determination. About five years ago I had a deal with a brand where I produced material for them for an ad. They had not given me any brief, saying instead they “trusted me”. So I did what I’d done before, except put in even more effort than usual… and they ended up not accepting what I’d done. Looking back, the situation was unfair: they had unrealistic expectations that were left unsaid and my failure left me feeling embarrassed for quite a while. But that turned out to be the moment I became determined to improve my food photography skills once and for all! After that, I invested in a new camera, different lenses and started to seriously study food photography. And you can be sure I will demand for a brief now, every time!

Jella Bertell
@vaimomatskuu
https://www.vaimomatskuu.com/

© Jella Bertell
Photo by © Jella Bertell

Using the Canon app on my iPad Pro & a tripod / C stand as I’m a food stylist and photographer and need to move things around my scene or to change my lighting, angle, lens etc. The app enables me to see the whole set up,  moving around my scene and changing things as I see fit. You can change some of the camera settings in app also such as aperture, IOS, shutter speed & type of light.  The app has a remote shutter so there is no camera shake and also using a tripod / C stand reduces the likelihood of blurry images. It saves me a lot of time in the long run as the larger screen enables you to be able to see every detail that you may miss otherwise looking through the lens.

Jennifer Oppermann
@jenniferocooks
https://www.instagram.com/jenniferocooks/

© Jennifer Oppermann
Photo by © Jennifer Oppermann

The most important decision was not waiting to be ‘ready’ – you are always learning and therefore never ‘ready’ right? So not holding back, posting, working, putting my hand up. I learnt so much by trying and failing and trying again. The second most important decision was taking part in a food photography workshop – it cemented it for me – after taking part and immersing myself with all things food and photography for a weekend (and being around other like-minded people) that this was what I wanted to do. 

Jules
@willowcreative
www.willowcreative.com.au

© Julie Haines
Photo by © Julie Haines

The thing that’s made the biggest impact on my food photography has been getting a speedlight. I used to rely solely on natural light, and found it to be incredibly limiting since I work full time and wasn’t willing to dedicate all of my weekends to cooking and shooting. The ability to shoot at night enabled me to have more control over my environment and to get a ton of practice! It was such a game-changer. 

Kirby Mekler
@leisurefanclub
http://leisurefanclub.com/

© Kirby Mekler
Photo by © Kirby Mekler

The most important decision I took is to buy an artificial light. Before that, I could take pictures only during day time.

Manju Jisto
@tealthy_
https://www.instagram.com/tealthy_/

© Manju Jisto
Photo by © Manju Jisto

The most important decision taken until date is leaving my full-time job in order to pursue my passion for food photography. It was certainly one of the most difficult decision to take but I am happy about it and I believe that you need to work as hard as you can in order to achieve your goals. 
Understanding how my camera works, knowing how to shoot in manual mode is so important in order to achieve the best-est results ever in photography. 
Using a tripod has changed my food photography to the better. I finally saw myself concentrating on one task (after setting the camera on the tripod) which is the styling. It is my BFF 🙂 Plus the tripod that I use has a vertical boom which helps me shoot a lot of flatlays. 

Massiel Zadeh Habchi
@mzcuisine
https://www.fallingfromstars.com/

© Massiel Zadeh Habchi - Retour des courses
Photo by © Massiel Zadeh Habchi

Photography is a constant learning curve and there is always more to learn and always better gear than the gear you currently own. It is very easy to get drawn into feeling the need to invest in better and more expensive gear. In my experience, it is often the most basic, and some of the cheapest, changes that have had the biggest impact on my photography. The best example of this is my trusty bounce card, this was made out of a single A2 piece of white foam core cut in half and taped back together to allow it to bend in the middle. I even upgraded it to also have a negative fill side by gluing a sheet of black card to one side. This homemade bounce card has come with me on every shoot and is nearly always used. It allows me to soften shadows by bringing it in closer to the subject on the opposite side to my light source, it can also intensify shadows and flag off unwanted light sources when using the negative fill side. The fold in the middle allows it to stand up on its own without the need for a light stand or clamp. This is by far the cheapest but most useful piece of equipment I own. No matter what light source or what camera and lens set up is used, the bounce card is an essential for me. It is very easy to get sucked into buying new lenses or the latest camera body, however, there is definitely a diminishing return on investment as you start to invest in more and more into expensive gear.

Matt Stevenson, food and restaurant photographer 
@msphotouk
www.mattstevensonphotography.com

© Matt Stevenson
Photo by © Matt Stevenson

I would say buying my artificial lights. Simply because changes were made in my house and because of those changes, it’s now very difficult to do a photoshoot using natural light. And as someone who strives to take quality food photos consistently, artificial lighting gives me that consistency and allows me to be in 100% control.

Nicolas Hortense
@blogtastic.food.photography
https://www.blogtasticfood.com/food-photography-tips-tricks/

© Nicolas Hortense
Photo by © Nicolas Hortense

I think creating my Tumblr blog was the decision that started everything. I became visible, from this point I existed not only in my head as a creative individual, but in the real world too while I took the responsibility of showing myself through the images. The blog required regularity and continuous brainwork, I wanted to create better and better things all the time. After the small feedbacks, I got chosen as a trending blog by Tumblr itself, and they send this message in their newsletter all around the world, the number of my followers grew over 10K instantly, which was a true confirmation of the fact that I am on the right path.

Panka Milutinovits
@hello_garlic
https://www.instagram.com/hello_garlic/

© Panka Milutinovits
Photo by © Panka Milutinovits

The most important skill that had the biggest impact on my food photography is that I’m a chef with over 20 years of experience in the hospitality business and that’s what gave me the understanding and appreciation of the product I’m shooting. The food photography is a process and knowing the subject is crucial in my opinion. I understand the subject. I know how to make it fresher for longer, more appetiser and how is made.

Peter Pole
@thechefshot
https://www.instagram.com/thechefshot/

© Peter Pole
Photo by © Peter Pole

I would say Lightroom had the biggest impact on my photography so far. Being able to use presets helped me develop a consistent style for my photographs. I believe that being consistent is important for people to recognize your work and to be able to relate to your photography.

Rodica Godlewski
@rodica_godlewski
https://www.cookingismyinheritance.com

The biggest impact I had on my food photography was to invest in myself! And by investing I don’t mean just money-wise. Yes, that plays a huge role with investing in gear, accessories, and education,- but also investing my time, energy, and motivation to keep going and working towards something that I really love. 

Sam Adler
@frostingandfettuccine
https://frostingandfettuccine.com/

© Sam Adler - Carapelli-Dinner
Photo by © Sam Adler

I studied photography in 2012. Since then, taking photos is my greatest passion. I was also very interested in the kitchen and wanted to be a cook. In 2017, I brought my two great passions together; photo and food. At first, I was not aware of a field like food photography. Later, when I got acquainted with several accounts related to food photography, I decided that I want to go on this path myself. I am happy that I can do two of my favorite jobs now.

Seda
@laorion
https://www.instagram.com/laorion/?hl=tr

© Seda Oral
Photo by © Seda Oral

The most important skill that has the biggest impact on my food-related photography, has to be the lighting techniques that I use. With my commercial work, I’m can sometimes be quite technical in my approach, but with the space needed to shoot most dishes, the lighting can be so much simpler and easily refined. I also often take into account the location or environment where I’m shooting to add a little context if suitable. Why make it any more complicated than it has to be?

Sheradon Dublin, food & commercial photographer
@sheradondublinphoto
www.sheradondublin.com

© Sheradon Dublin - Milk & Cookies
Photo by © Sheradon Dublin

The biggest impact on my food photography was learning the artificial light. It gave me the liberty to take pictures at any time of the day at any place and I could completely shape and manage the light like I wanted it to be.. it was so important for me, because with a little child and full-time job I needed more liberty and I couldn’t be anymore dependent on sun and shootings only in the morning or early afternoons.

Valentina Tasic
@apsolutvalentina
https://www.instagram.com/apsolutvalentina/

© Valentina Tasic
Photo by © Valentina Tasic

I am into photography for 3 years now, and my decision to change my niche from street and travel photography to food about a year ago had a big impact on my learning. This niche has given me a new perspective to my photography. Also, my full-frame gear had a significant impact on my food photography. I use a Nikon D750, which helps me capture sharp images of food.

Vidya Rada
@vidya.rada
https://www.instagram.com/vidya.rada

© Vidya Rada
Photo by © Vidya Rada

I can say I have grown the most by doing Instagram challenges. They have pushed me to try subjects that I wouldn’t touch otherwise and through doing them I have learnt the most.

Haniyeh Nikoo
@haniyeh.nikoo
https://www.instagram.com/haniyeh.nikoo/

© Haniyeh Nikoo
Photo by © Haniyeh Nikoo

I think that learning how to use artificial light in order to create that feeling of natural light helped me a lot because it gave me the opportunity to work even when the natural light wasn’t that good or working during the night. Artificial light had a huge positive impact on my client work as well as it helped me to create sharper and better pictures, but I still love working with natural light. 

Adina Chițu
@pancake_planet
https://www.instagram.com/pancake_planet/ 

© Adina Chițu
Photo by © Adina Chițu

Understanding the importance of post-processing. You can turn a good photo to excellent with post-processing. I see post-processing as the photographer’s final signature on the photo.

Mari Moilanen
@jotainmaukasta
www.marimoilanenphotography.com

© Mari Moilanen
Photo by © Mari Moilanen

There are more answers coming into my mind, but if it were to choose only one that would be the decision to invest in a 100 mm macro lens. It changed the way I work completely and it challenged me a lot, mostly when it came to the composition of an image. I do have a lot of space where I usually shoot but sometimes I like going around the house and shoot in a different light and here is where everything else changes, because this lens forces me to get creative in order to capture the image I have in mind. I rarely shoot close-ups but it is the lens I use the most.

Alexandra Onosă
@bakingmydays
https://www.instagram.com/bakingmydays/

© Alexandra Onosă
Photo by © Alexandra Onosă

Be curious. take a chance. Invest in creative self-development. Work towards your dream. My food photography journey happened by chance. I was in culinary school busy focusing on cooking and documenting my plated dish using my iPhone at the time. I knew I wanted to create a portfolio and was happy just taking simple photos, then I met a food photographer doing a workshop demo at school, and I was captivated. Meeting her inspired me, and I signed up for her course instantly, bought myself a camera with 1 lens, and the rest is history :). We are now very close friends and run food photography and styling workshops together.

Roya Tarzaban
@royas_culinary_journey
http://royasculinaryjourney.com/

© Roya Tarzaban - Saffron Rice
Photo by © Roya Tarzaban

The most significant impact on my photography has been to stay with my skills long enough to develop them and find my own voice finally. I persevered despite for a long time; my photography was not matching the quality I wanted.

Silvia Bifaro
@silvia_salvialimone
salvialimone.com

© Silvia Bifaro
Photo by © Silvia Bifaro

The most important decision that I made that made the biggest impact on my food photography was more of a personal one, last year I had started to get bored because I was shooting the same things all the time, and shooting in a way that I thought would please the algorithm on Instagram. (This is where most of my work comes from). As soon as I made the decision to photograph what I wanted and how I wanted, I began to experiment more, trying new angles or perspectives and instantly I felt my photography improved because I wasn’t trying to conform to the norm, or do the same things that others were doing. 
I think that the most important skill that has had the biggest impact on my food photography is learning to photograph the light rather than just the subject. When I take a photo it is the light that I am capturing, everything else in the photo comes second. I look at how the light falls and the shadows.
Gear- I shot for a long time with a crop sensor canon 70d and last summer I upgraded to a full-frame Canon 5d MK iv camera. I use Adobe Lightroom to edit my photos and use a Manfrotto tripod with an overhead arm. The thing that made the biggest impact on my photography was using the Canon connect app so I can use my camera from my phone. It allows me to see the image on the screen of my phone, choose the focus point and take the photo all from my phone while my camera is on the tripod. this allowed me to take more self-portrait images adding a human element to my photos. 

Aimee Twigger, Twigg Studios
@twiggstudios
www.twiggstudios.com

© Aimee Twigger
Photo by © Aimee Twigger

COLOR. Lots and lots of color. I love to surround myself with colorful things and I see food no differently. So anything I photograph I always bring in some sort of colorful element wether it’s the backdrop or the food itself.

Catherine Shapiro
@catherine_shapiro
https://www.instagram.com/catherine_shapiro/

© Catherine Shapiro
Photo by © Catherine Shapiro

The most important gear that had an impact on my food photography was and still is my V1 Godox Speedlight. I was only the “natural light” advocate when it comes to food photography but some situations drove me to use my on-camera flash, the rounded head of this speed light makes all the difference and give your subject the most “natural” light ever and will catch moments that are unseen with the bare eye (Like splashes).

Patrik
@thetravelbuds
https://www.instagram.com/thetravelbuds/

© Patrik A. Sater
Photo by © Patrik A. Sater

In terms of food photography, the gear change that made the biggest impact on my work was when I moved from my entry full-frame camera, a Nikon D610, to a D750. The ability of the D750 to recover shadow details in low light situations was a game-changer. My style tends to be on the more dark and moody side. At the time I also didn’t have an off-camera flash, so being able to shoot slightly underexposed allowed me to better achieve my post-production edits goals. I can pinpoint the exact project I started to use my D750 at when scrolling through my Lightroom catalogue; a pear still life as the light was slowly disappearing in the evening in my studio. While I know the gear doesn’t necessarily make or break a photographer, this camera gave me more flexibility to work in low light situations using only natural light. 

Jessica Musslewhite, Mushrooms & Thyme
@mushroomsandthyme
www.jmusslewhite.com 

© Jessica Musslewhite
Photo by © Jessica Musslewhite


What made the biggest impact on Your food photography?
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