Photoberfest Week 1: food

Welcome to week 1 of Photoberfest! Let's talk food...

Before I jump into it I first want to take a second and say that this is ALL FOR FUN! Please do not feel intimidated or shy to enter. We are all learning and growing when it comes to photography. And some of the best way to improve are to do things like that that make you stretch and possible feel a little uncomfortable. So don't think, just enter. :)

phew. glad I got that off my chest. :)

When it comes to photographing food there is soooooo much to be said. Everything from lighting and shutter speed to staging and composition. Some photographers devote their entire work to food, like Michael Ray or Lou Manna. (* WILL be hungry by the time you finish looking at their photos!)

But I like to take an easy, natural approach to food. If there is one thing you need to know about me it's that I like to keep things simple. If something takes too much time, set up or clean-up, I tend to stay away. Could this be a form of laziness? Perhaps...but because I'm not a fan of elaborate set-up I've found quick, easy and stunning ways to do things. 

So let's start.

Food Photography Tip #1
The way to get natural looking pictures is to only use natural light. So turn off all of your overhead lights and only use what is coming in from the windows. 

With that said let me show you my set-up for most of my pictures in this post:
I was taking pictures around 8:30 in the morning when the sun shines right smack dab on the table at this time of day. I didn't want to completely shut the blinds because I needed the light but I also didn't want to see the sun rays in my pictures. So to remedy the situation I put up sheets of tissue paper to still allow the sun to shine through but to soften the direct rays.

Here's a shot from this set-up:

Food Photography Tip #2:
Take care to notice the details. 

I don't know about you but I'm someone who notices when there is something a little off in a picture. For example, an article accidentally left in a picture, a smudge on a plate, or in this case a wrinkly tablecloth. After my first few shots I noticed this:
 ...a very wrinkled tablecloth.

So then I had to do this:
...ahhh, much better.

Food Photography Tip #3:
If you are having a hard time getting enough light from your windows OR if you find that the background looks too cluttered and distracting, try using a large piece of white foam board.

Take this shot, for example:

I used the foam board for the background as shown below because I didn't want to distract from the subject. 

Food Photography Tip #4:
Capture your subject from many different angles. 

Don't just get a head on shot and call it good. Take pictures from above, the side, up close, far away, and even from behind. Also try many different styles of groupings and ways to display your subject. That way when you are editing and looking for the best picture to portray that certain something you will have lots of options to choose from. Often times I end up choosing the very last shot of a sequence of 40 frames because it turned out to be my favorite ones which makes me glad I didn't stop at #10 and call it good. 

Here are some examples of taking pictures from many angles and groupings:

Who's in the mood for a chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting? Come on over, I've got plenty. :)

Okay, now that you have some tips and tricks up your sleeve it's time for you to do some of your own!

Let's review how to submit a photo for the contest...

Step 1: Upload your photos on your blog. (You can submit up to 3 entries for week) Please clearly label each entry so that I will know what to pin. (i.e. entry #1, entry #2 ...)
*if you don't have a blog email me ( your pictures directly.

Step 2: Send me an email ( with a link to your post containing your entries.

Step 3:  (you don't have to lift a finger for this step!) I will then "pin" your pictures to one of my pinterest boards labeled "Week 1: Food photography Contest". If you've submitted your photos via your blog then your blog address will accompany your photos. woo who...this could lead to perhaps more blog traffic for you!)

Step 4: Notify all your friends and family to vote for you! To vote, a person must have a pinterest account. So if your family and friends do not have accounts, you can send them a pinterest invitation by going to the drop down menu under your name on your pinterest home page. There you will see an "invite friends" tab. Follow their instructions from there.

If YOU do not have a pinterest account, send me an email ( and I will send you an invitation.

Give your friends and family this link:  to vote. It explains how to vote and then gives them a clickable link to the pinterest board.

The way to vote for a picture is to simply "like" the picture. The person with the most "likes" by midnight CST on Friday, October 7th will be the big winner!

The winner will receive:
- a copy of my photography ebook.
- a 30 minute phone consultation with me to ask me any photography questions you might have.
- a $25 Target gift certificate.

There will also be 3 honorable mentions chosen by me who will each receive a copy of my photography ebook. I will post the winner and the 3 honorable mentions on Saturday.

Good luck! I look forward to seeing what you come up with!!

Tune in tomorrow for more tips and inspiration on how to take pictures of food.


dana said...

fun! Wow. That first photo is amazing. Love the colors!

Sandrine said...

Thanks for those tips Katie.Your chocolate cakes make my tummy rumble!
Will join in the Photorbefest!
Sandrine x

Palak said...

I was looking for some tips on photography-- I read the whole post, and all that's running through my head is must. eat. chocolate. cupcake.

I'll have to read it again.... after I finish my cupcake, of course!

Andrew P. Agosto said...

tips on food photography are very rare.thanks for your precious post.
clipping path

Anonymous said...

the trick you have done with tissue paper by the window is awesome.
thanks for such genius post.
clipping path

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