Food photography by Trishnanta Kanjilal

One of the most important things about photographing food is making the audience respond to it. In a positive way, of course. The picture should make the person crave for the dish. Once you have managed to do this, your work as a food photographer will be a resounding success.

Here are a few things to focus on while photographing food.

  1. Lighting – lighting has to be one of the most important aspects while shooting food. It is important to choose either daylight or artificial lighting but please do not mix the two.

I prefer daylight diffused from a north facing window. It is a beautiful soft light that is gentle and is most conducive for shooting food. Use of reflectors/white boards to conquer deep shadows and reflect light back on to your food is highly recommended.

  1. Creating the mood – it is important to create a mood with your food photo. You can choose to go dark, moody and dim lit or bright and sunny based on the nature of your dish.

For example, I have chosen a black background for the chocolate cake shot below because it was a rainy day and I wanted to capture that mood in the photo. I used a black tablemat, strawberries that perfectly match the color of the red bowls which gives it a very coordinated look. It gives viewer a feeling of sitting down with the bowl and spoon on a rainy day by a window.

Instant microwave chocolate cake

Instant microwave chocolate cake with strawberries

For the photo below, I wanted the mood of the photo to be very Sunday morning breakfast like.

Blueberry muffins

  1. Props – A lot of food photographers prefer shooting food in a completely white setting (white crockery, white background) as it makes the colour of the food pop out in the picture but you can get adventurous while choosing your props.

For a rustic look, use a wooden chopping board that serves as a great background or a woven basket that shows that the dish is freshly cooked or baked.

Crusty hazelnut loaf cake


  1. Choose the hero of the dish – It is important to choose one aspect of the dish that should be the hero, your centre of focus. It could be a dripping chocolate sauce or syrup drizzled on pancakes in the picture below.

American style pancakes with maple syrup

Depicting movement in food photos creates a sensation of the dish being in progress and brings a human touch.

Some dishes can look very boring without any contrasting colors or elements. In those cases, it is important to bring some burst of color, texture or layers with the help of crockery, rustic background elements.
In the picture below, I placed the pudding glasses on bright blue plates incorporate interesting colors into an otherwise ordinary looking glass.

Coffee and rum panna cotta

  1. Create symmetry – This not only works with food but with any genre of photography, symmetry is always well received. It engages people. You can create symmetry in food by placing dishes in a symmetrical manner or by creating lines.

Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

Red velvet cupcakes

  1. Depth of field – A shallow depth of field works best when creating symmetrical food shots or while getting really close to the food and capturing the details.

The best part about food photography is you can experiment and be creative with several different set ups till you get the desired results. The only challenge is shooting short shelf life items like icecreams in severe heat. Molten icecream will not make for a very pretty picture. So it is important to be prepared with your set up before you decide to shoot such dishes.

And don’t forget to enjoy shooting and eating!

About me:


I am a Marketing Analyst by profession. An amateur baker, food blogger and photography enthusiast by passion.

I began my journey in photography about an year and a half back casually clicking photos of interesting meals I ate at different places. Saurabh’s session taught me some finer nuances of photography and also the importance of composition. I have a long way to go but I can definitely see my approach towards photography is evolving and Saurabh has a huge role to play in it.

I also am extremely grateful to Satish Chelluri, who is part of the SIA group and an excellent photographer himself. He has always encouraged me by giving his inputs on my photographs and teaching me some basics and I am very thankful for that.


About Saurabh Chatterjee

About Saurabh Chatterjee’s photography classes


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