How to Photograph Food
I often get asked for food photography tips, and I’ve been meaning to put together a post on what I’ve learned that might be helpful. And so here I am, actually doing it. I have no recipe today, but –
To celebrate my birthday I’m giving away a Canon EOS Rebel SL1. Canon Canada supplied me with a Rebel SL1 and lenses to try out myself, as well as one to give away to one of you! And just in time – my old camera was dying a slow death.
Photos are obviously a big part of what I do – food is so visual, and blogs tend to be reflections of ourselves, our personalities showing through our photographs. I shoot for my blogs as well as my cookbooks, and take photos to accompany articles in newspapers and magazines – my cameras are well used (and abused). I’ve been working as a food stylist for print and TV for years (those posters at Jugo Juice? I get paid to grill and stuff wraps and create smoothie swirls!) – but bloggers tend to have different challenges than corporate photographers, shooting in their kitchens without portable studios and stylists on set. I’ve taught a few food styling and photography sessions at the Calgary Public Library this fall, and facilitated a session at the Food Bloggers of Canada conference this spring, and after many requests for a day of playing with cameras and food and light, I had a few friends over for a food photography session on the weekend. Because I couldn’t invite everyone over, I thought I’d share some of our ideas and tips here. (Disclaimer: I am not the best food photographer I know.)
Pay attention to the light. I’ve worked in studios with artificial light, and own a set of strobe lights that have not been out of the basement in 10 years. But luckily natural light is the best for food – and it’s free, and everywhere. You just need to know how to find it, and manipulate it if you need to. Sometimes you need to create your own, especially during the winter months when it gets dark before dinner. To simulate natural light, pick up a rice paper lamp at IKEA (under $10) and a daylight balanced bulb at Home Depot (around $10) and you have a portable light source that’s diffused and daylight balanced, meaning your photos will not wind up with a green or orange cast.
Avoid flash at all costs. Seriously, it just never does food any favours. If you can bounce it off something, that helps – but if you can pick up your plate and find a window, even better. The SL1 takes amazing, detailed photos in low light conditions, which are inevitable – especially in restaurants.
Find a set that works. It might be your coffee table or even your bathroom – wherever the light is best. I shoot almost everything on my kitchen table. As you might have seen, it has a wrap around window, but mostly my food winds up back lit. This may not sound ideal, but it works. Side light works well too, but full frontal can flatten your food.
Direct sunlight is almost always too harsh. Look at the shadows – hold your hand over the table – if they are dark with a defined edge, that’s what you’ll see in your photos. (It can work – just make sure the shadows are what you want.) An overcast day is perfect for taking pictures if you’re outside; inside you can diffuse sunlight coming in your window with a white curtain or even a piece of waxed paper or parchment. You could make your own lightbox, but I never got around to it.
Reflectors are effective ways of controlling the light. Buy a piece of white card stock from the dollar store and a couple heavy-duty clamps from Home Depot – you can use this to block direct sun (shooting in the shadow works) or to bounce the light around. Treat it as a wide, diffused light source and move it around your food, watching as it fills in the shadows.
Pay attention to what you wear. I have a red David Bowie shirt I wear all the time. One day as I was editing photos, wondering why so many of them had a pink cast, it occurred to me that the light was bouncing off me, onto my food. It does. Now I always wear a white t-shirt – if I’m standing in front of my subject, I act as a big bounce card, filling in any shadows at the front as the light comes from the back.
Know the rule of thirds. And then forget it – it’s good to understand the compositional premise but not focus too much on it, or you’ll get too hung up trying to arrange your photos. The idea is to divide your image in three rows of three, like a tic-tac-toe board, with something going on (roughly) at each intersection, because your eye naturally wants something to happen there. Essentially, it keeps things from being too symmetrical or as we food stylists put it, too samey-same.
Pay attention to negative space. People tend to focus so much on their food that they don’t notice what’s going on around it. A few ingredients, a water glass or the cheese that goes with the crackers you’re focusing on adds visual appeal and context. Any lines in the background can draw your eyes in or make an appealing shape for them to follow.
Tell a story. You could take a picture of a piece of lasagna, and it could be a really great photo of a piece of lasagna, but what makes it distinctively yours? Adding context with surroundings, especially people (or even the suggestion of them, with a hand reaching for something or people blurred in the background) will draw the viewer in, make it more personal, tell a broader story.
Avoid stress. (Duh.) What I mean by this is pay attention to points that intersect – don’t let a spoon sit right up against the side of a bowl, for example, leave a small amount of breathing room between items, or let them overlap slightly – it’s easier on the eye.
Change your perspective. Get up on a chair or put your food on the floor – Sometimes W asks for the camera, and the angles he comes up with are ones I’d never think of. And sometimes, they work.
Play with depth of field. This refers to the portion of your photo that’s in focus – a shallow depth of field can create a more dramatic look, when just a point of an image is in focus and the rest is blurred, or you can have a deep depth of field with the whole shot in focus. Shooting top-down shot flattens the image, making it easy for everything to be in focus, as if it was on a canvas. You can control your depth of field with your lens, aperture, and the distance you are from your subject. Changing your lens can change your perspective and create an entirely new effect.
Have a good camera. Yes – a good camera is important. Phones are great for instagramming, but a digital SLR takes the best food photos, and the Canon SL1 is lighter than a water bottle, so not at all awkward to tote around.
4) Foodstyling tricks.
Know a few. In the corporate foodstyling world there are plenty of tricks – on set, typically you’d find at least one food stylist and even a props stylist, and an arrangement of food might sit out on the light box for hours. You may have heard of stylists using Elmer’s glue instead of milk in cereal shots or mashed potatoes instead of ice cream. I learned this spring that if you soak a tampon in water and microwave it, it will steam for ages – and you can tuck it into or behind whatever you want to look steamy. (Seriously – straight from the pros.) But most of us are shooting real food, and want to eat it afterward, so the trick is to make it look as good as it can without messing with it too much.
Use white plates. Or solid ones in muted colours – and choose those that don’t have wide rims, which can create too much white/unused space in a photo. Decorative dishes can work, but can be tricky, and easily overwhelm the food.
Get a few props to play with. Buy single placemats and napkins and such – I grab vintage cutlery and little dishes from garage sales and Value Village. And if you have a recognizable tabletop, as I do, pick up some white card stock to throw underneath or some wood – rough pieces are in vogue right now, but Mike picked up a few planks at Home Depot and a small pot of sample paint and painted them, then distressed them with sandpaper to make a blue background. The other sides were stained dark – two looks under ten bucks.
Pour beverages right before you shoot, so that there are bubbles – without at least a few, milk and coffee look like flat cups of paint.
(This shot was for the Almond Board of California)
Shoot food warm. Food just looks better when it’s freshly cooked; especially meat and baked goods, and particularly chocolate chip cookies.
Add some action. Mike and W are used to being called into the kitchen to pour syrup or shake powdered sugar over something or other. Movement can make things more interesting.
Create steam if you want to. This shot isn’t great – it looks a bit naked without a linen and a spoon, and the rim of the bowl needs to be cleaned up, but because it came straight from the pot, the steam is great. If it’s not hot, pop it into the microwave as soon as you have everything else set up. The continuous shooting action of the SL1 allows you to capture 4 frames per second – and all those lovely curls of steam.
I use Photoshop Elements – which is like Photoshop Lite – and I still use only a fraction of it. If you don’t have software, Picmonkey is online and free. Typically I crop, lighten a bit, and bump up the contrast and saturation, which makes most images look better. The editing part is not my forte. The SL1 has the option to edit in-camera, with filters and everything, so there’s that.
And the best advice, I think, is to get out there and take pictures – the more you shoot, the better you’ll get. Check back in the archives of your favourite food blogs and watch how they’ve improved over the years. You get better by doing.
While you’re at it, need a new camera? Perhaps the world’s smallest and lightest digital SLR?
Up for grabs: a brand-spanking-new Canon EOS Rebel SL1 with an 18-55mm IS STM Lens and a Canon EF 40mm f2.8 STM Lens – with a total retail value of $1009.98! This camera has passed the kitchen test with flying colours – 4 trillion colours, to be exact. I’m very much looking forward to getting to know mine better.
To enter, leave a comment here. Say Anything. Just once per person, please – I’ll do a random draw on November 11th. Good luck!
The small print: This giveaway is open to Canadian residents only (excluding Quebec, sorry!); the contest will close at 11:59pm EST on November 10th, 2013 and a winner selected the next day. Canon is not the sponsor of this contest.
1,143 comments on “How to Photograph Food”
I love your blog, great food & wonderful photos.
Great tips! Food photography will definitely be a common artifact from the Instagram generation! :S Future archeologists will know a lot about our diet.
Hi Julie. It was nice to meet you at the Woods Homes Iron Chef Day. Hope all is awesome
My camera just died, too. Your food pics always look good enough to ear!
I’m finally admitting that I need to get into the digital age, much as I enjoy my film cameras – this would certainly make the transition easier 😉
I promise to avoid the flash at all costs, should I be the lucky winner. 🙂
Your photos are amazing. These are great tips. If only I could manage to focus (literally).
Pick me please! As light as a water bottle sound lovely!
I found this completely fascinating especially since I have heard so often that fake food is often used in ad photos. Be so interesting to try some of your advice on dishes we prepare here at home.
Great tips, thank you!
I have been reading about food photos lately and this was a great comprehensive starting point for me. thanks Julie!
I’m awestruck – your post is a course in itself. Beautiful photos, great clear instructions. Now all I’d love is a camera to match 🙂 Please include me in your draw!
Happy Birthday! I’m glad you are enjoying your new camera; you have given us great advice to become better photographers should I be lucky enough to win the other one!
I have followed your blog for awhile, i love your suggestions and ideas. Your photography tips are great for many applications, not just for photographing food.
Love this! I just started getting into photography and these are great tips! Thanks
thanks for sharing all your great photo tips and recipes too!
Mmmmmm, Now I am hungry too! Thank you for the tips. I have been looking at getting into photography for a while now!
Awesome post Julie! I’ve been a follower for years and not only do you take awesome food pics, I’ve consistently loved every recipe I’ve tried from your blog and books 🙂 We make your breakfast bean cookies all the time, and your banana bread recipe with the yogurt in it has become our new staple recipe. Some other recent faves were skillet jam and a recipe for caramelized onion dip in your Grazing cookbook.
My 7 year old Canon Rebel just went to camera heaven recently so it would be awesome to win a new camera in time to capture Christmas and my daughters 1st birthday on Boxing Day!
Crossing my fingers!
Happy, happy, happy birthday! Hope you truly have a most wonderful day!!!
Great tips Julie! So glad you are getting a new camera to keep sharing your yummy creations!
Every snow day my daughter and I pull out One Smart Cookie and try a new recipe!
Love the fact that your son’s angles are good! I love to take pictures of food. These are great tips!
Love the tips, Julie! And the pictures are making me hungry, even on the other side if the world. Since I’m taking pictures if a lot of our meals on vacation, this info will come in handy.
Great tips! Especially the PicMonkey site – I’ll have to take a peek, and see if it’s better than Pixlr, my current free online goto for photo manipulation!
My boss meditates for 15 minutes every morning. I read your blog. Same difference to me. Appreciate the photo tips!
Great tips and I love the egg photo. Cameras are a never-ending learning experience and food is such a great subject to capture.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE your recipes (and I think your food photos are great!) thanks for sharing and being there for us!
I have one of the first digital cameras that came out and it’s dying fast, the battery does not hold the power any more.
Would love a new camera.
Oh my Julie, these are amazing tips! You have just ended years if frustration on why my pics never turn out the way I imagine. I can hardly wait to try these out 🙂
Julie I love your blog! and if you ever check out my own amateurish one in comparison you will see I need this camera! Love the tips esp the tampon one…;)
Would love to win! Thanks for the tips! You are always my first stop when recipie hunting.
This would be way better than camera phone photos!!
I love the hint about warm food. I can see how the melted chocolate looks way more scrumptious than solidified chocolate would. Yum. Can I have one for breakfast right now?
These are fantastic tips! They go beyond just food photography as well. I love your blog, Julie and it’s one of my usual ‘go to’ sites when I don’t know what to make. I haven’t found one recipe yet that I didn’t like. Thanks!
Great tips! I switched to Pentax but really miss my old canon
Hello Julie! Happy Birthday!!! Thank you for all the amazing tips and for the generous contest. Enjoy 🙂
Thanks, Julie. Really interesting and useful post.
Juilie – Happy Birthday! Thank you for these tips! You are so multi-talented!
Love your blog. Can’t wait to try your photo tips on my Christmas baking!
Happy Birthday! Looking forward to meeting you in Jasper.
I laughed when I read the tip about buying wood and painting it to look like different tables – I’d been wondering how many different tables you had lying around the house.
I would absolutely love a new camera. My previous camera is so old that it doesn’t hold a charge for longer than a few hours.
I typically use my camera for shooting pictures when I travel. I love to look back at all the fun I had and remember things as though they were just yesterday.
Love the tips. Typically don’t photograph my food, but perhaps I should be reminding myself of what I’ve been eating.
Thanks for the chance and happy birthday!
Those are great tips! I always find myself instagramming and wishing I had some clue how to actually make food look like something I want to eat?
Fabulous tips! I like taking food pics but 1/2 of them never seem to capture what I want, or convey what I am hoping for so your tips will really help!
Happy birthday Julie! Thanks for the tutorial and beautiful photos.
Wow. What a great primer on food photography — jammed full of tips and guidance. Thank-you.
Sure would love to replace my old Canon: really, a great giveaway.
Thanks and Happy Birthday!
Happy Birthday! I can’t wait to read your blog everyday!
Great looking camera. Love the tips on shooting the food.
Julie – thank-you so much for the great photo tips – I will be back again and again to study them. My food photo are pretty…meh.
Love your tips, your photos, and of course your blog. A new (real) camera would be so amazing. I like to share some food photos with friends on Facebook and take zillons of pics of my three beautiful daughters.
Good morning and thank you. Your recipes got me through the first few years of my relationship with my guy. I honestly would not know how to roast a chicken without your directions. Thanks for helping me feed us!
I love your blog. I have never had a Julie recipe fail and I recommend it to friends all the time. Thank you for the insights above as well as your practical and inspired recipes. Yesterday you made me want to purchase a pressure cooker. Happy birthday!
Great information! Would love a new camera!!
Great photography tips (I definitely need them) and photos! I’d love to win the SL1.
Love the tips. Have a great birthday.
Love your books – we made your oven fries last night. I would love to have a new camera to practice being a Momarrazi and take better photos of my son and his surroundings (and food).
Happy Birthday Julie! Thanks for the tips – I am now inspired to take more good pictures!
Thanks for the tips! You’ve created a feast for the eyes (and tummies, I’m sure!)
Love your pictures. Inspires me in the kitchen – Thank you !
I love your kitchen! And the tips. Thanks!
This post is brilliant! I have recently been asking some friends about tips for food photography, and here I got a little bit of extra knowledge, so thanks! 😀
My flatmate actually also mentioned the cheap lamps in Ikea, ingenius ^ ^ I particularly liked the sections on the different backgrounds and the layers, inspiring! x
Great post , Julie! Love your blog and all the yummy recipes and wonderful stories! A new camera would be amazing….would love to catch our 9 month old daughter in action. I think she’s a future cook for sure!
Great tips! Your photos are gorgeous.
Fabulous post. Too bad it’s not kosher for your mom to enter your contest!
great post, i’m DROOOLING with each photo.
i would love to win a gorgeous camera, i take all my food pictures with my iphone.
what a great bunch of photo’s. yumm.
Julie, happy birthday! What a great contest! I love your site, and hearing you on CBC radio. Thanks for the tips above too, many sound like they apply outside of food photography too.
Love your cookbooks and hearing you on cbc radio! Happy birthday!
Your pictures make me so excited to get into my own kitchen and start cooking! Thanks for all the tips.
Love your cookbooks and hearing you on cbc radio! Happy birthday! Cheers!
happy birthday julie. love the website.
Your pictures in this post are gorgeous, food porn at its best. ha.
These are great tips, I’ll use them for taking pictures of the snacks I serve for my dayhome. If I win though, I’ll give it to my daughter who is a baking and pastry arts chef.
Thanks for the contest Julie.
Man this would be such an upgrade from current method of taking food pictures…. My iphone.
These are great! As I’m just starting out in the food bloggin’ world, I’m learning all this as I go. The light one is the MOST frustrating – why must Canada have such dark winters? But I will definitely try the IKEA light trick!
Thank goodness you said say anything because I haven’t had my coffee yet, my brain isn’t up to anything witty. Happy Halloween eve!
Thanks Julie for the great tips! I like the painted wooden blank idea.
Giveaway or not, I just love this post! Great photos and great tips. Thanks!
Thanks for all the wonderful tips and happy birthday!!
Happy Birthday! Thanks for sharing these amazing tips. Your photos are beautiful. I would love to win this camera as I only have a point and shoot.
Happy Birthday, Julie! Thanks for the photography tips, can’t wait to try them out!
I do enjoy reading your blog and I love the creations you make. Your site is my first point of contact when looking for something to make for dinner.
Thanks for the great photography tips! LOVE your blog!!
Keep loving what you do. It makes it easy for your audience to love what you do. Your passion for food is contagious. 🙂
Amazing post, Julie, and one of the most instructive food photography posts I’ve seen. Thank you! My food photography has come a long way, but has much farther to go. I’d love to win this camera and continue my journey of improvement!
Great tips! Happy Birthday!!!
Happy birthday, Julie! Thanks for sharing! I’d love to test out your tips and tricks with a new camera! Keep up the great work!
Great article! Thanks!
Have been following for awhile – Live this blog and your food philosophy~
Your blog is so inspiring!
Now I know why your photos are so beautiful! I will practice with my little digital camera.
Thanks for the tips.
Love your blog!
Wonderful post! You’ve covered all points to photographing good beautifully.
Happy birthday! Delicious pics!
Great tips – I have an orangey-yellow kitchen with hardly any natural light, so I guess I’ll be taking my photos in the living room from now on!! Thanks!
Those were awesome tips, thank you!
It is amazing how simple little things can completely change the look of your pictures. Thanks for the tips! And you have a BEAUTIFUL kitchen!
Great tips for great pics!
Great article!! Loved this
Love reading your posts. Thanks!
Fantastic tips Julie! I need to step up my photo game big time.
Now I’m hungry.
Happy birthday Julie!
Happy birthday! Great tips!
Those are all amazing tips. I would love to be able to take photos like that. Or even just nice shots of my kids. my Blackberry camera just isn’t cutting it 🙂
Great tips and your food photos make me hungry AND inspire me to cook. Thanks for that and the opportunity to win such a lovely camera.
I enjoy drooling over your blog photos and reading your anecdotes.
Great shots and tips Julie!
Great post, so many useful tips in here! I tried, most unsuccessfully, to take some photos of a soup I made last night. With this advice (and perhaps a new camera!) I know I’ll get the shot I’m looking for! Thanks so much for the opportunity to win!
Very useful tips! Thank you!!
Hope I win! I’ve been trying to photograph my pottery with a point and shoot and “shoot!” (or similar) is what I usually say when I see the results. Great tips and info in this post for me to try. Thx :>).
Great article Julie! Always enjoy reading your posts!
Love this and it explains so much about your gorgeous shots. Still can’t believe the tampon trick 😉
Thanks for the tips Julie! My kitchen would be really boring without you.
Love your colorful photo’s! And your recipes continue to be amazing! Thank you 🙂
Happy birthday julie. My 13 year old daughter who loves to cook is also obsessed with taking pictures. We went to Europe last year and she took over 3000 pictures in 3 weeks she took pictures of every detail that most people would miss. Her birthday is November 24 and she has asked every family member and grandparent to please just give money so she can add to her savings and buy a good camera! Wow she would love this camera. Cooking and photography……. Sounds like 2 people with the same passion! Hope you have a great day filled with great food and lots of pictures to capture the memories.
Great information, thank you
Thank you for these great tips. And also Happy Birthday!!
Fantastic tips on photography. Agree so much about using natural light and avoiding flash. Fingers crossed for the camera giveaway.
Thanks for the great tips! And happy birthday!
These are great tips, Julie! My daughter is at SAIT in the culinary arts programme and in the past she has had me photograph her accomplishments. Your tips are really helpful.
Happy Birthday! Thank You for sharing so much of what you do with all of us, your photos are beautiful and although I love blogs from all of this wonderful world, it’s so nice to have a fellow Canadian.
Looking forward to more from you….
Your photographs always make me hungry! Thanks for all the photography tips, love your blog!!! Happy Birthday to you!
These are great tips for everyone- thanks so much for sharing. Happy Birthday too
Love the food photo tips – thanks Julie!
everyone needs to learn how to photograph food as every other post on social media is food related. thanks for the tips
This would be awesome for taking still lifes that I can paint! My fingers are crossed! (And thank you for all the photo hints…. lots of good info)
Thanks for all the helpful tips!
Please let me win the camera! And ps I love the pic of those cookies the best.
Great tips and tricks!
wow, camera upgrade would be awesome.
per your comment “I am not the best food photographer I know.”, for myself I would beg to differ, you are the best food photographer I know. lol. Your pictures always look so amazing, and I’ve definitely mentioned it before. My biggest issue would be the styling. I have white plates. That’s it. lol
You inspire; thank you.
Thanks for the tips. I love my Nikon, but as great as it is, it’s still only a high end point and shoot. I can’t do “depth of field” things with it, for example. I’d love a DSLR, but the only way that’s happening is by winning one. Thanks for the opportunity!
Hi Julie, e have been listening to you on CBC for awhile now and thoroughly enjoy it. Now that you have your blog it’s even better, being a vegetarian your cook book about beans is on my wish list this x-mas . Hope you had a great birthday! All the best in the future and look forward listening and reading about your creations.
I love your photos and recipes! This is exactly the camera I want for my birthday too! Happy birthday to you!!
Always love your pics, comments and stories. And your recipes! Have tried quite a few and they always turn out! Will see you at Christmas in November this year!!
I laughed out loud at the steaming tampon idea. That’s pretty funny! I just use my iPhone for my photography and it would be great to have a real camera!
I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks for the tips! Oh and Happy Birthday!!
Always great pics on your site. What a great gift idea!
thank you for the information on this post – I would love the chance to improve my food photography skills with the canon ! and happy birthday !!!!!
Your photographs always make the food look mouthwatering. Thanks for the tips.
I didn’t realize there was so much to it! Thanks for the tips Julie!
Julie, what a great giveaway! After reading that post, I’m hungry now!
Happy birthday! You’re my hero, seriously, you are. I think you’re amazing – both photography wise and just in general. Have a great day!
I always love your blogs Julie! Great photo tips too!
Happy Birthday Julie!
I love to read your posts and drool over your fantastic food photos!
Great tips, love your blog!
Great tips and tricks Julie’s, thanks. You made it fun to learn.
Hope you have a good birthday!
I love your blog, I have been following it from the beginning. Great photos, suddenly I’m craving scones and pancakes!
Great tips! Thanks for making me more brave in my own kitchen!
Beautiful pics….makes me hungry to see them!
Love your blog and have tried many recipes. Thank you for the great tips on photography. Keep up the great work!
Rule of thirds, light, good food, and a good camera! Great ideas and Happy Birthday.
Love your blog, love your recipes, love your photography, and am really appreciating the food photography tips.
And I love that you are Canadian, keep up the amazing work.
I would LOVE this! Love your blog too!
Great points, thanks for sharing!
Thanks for all the photography tips!
Great tips and ideas for background and propping.
Thanks for sharing the points on photography.. love your Kitchen
Happy Birthday Julie!!!
This is a great post.
I so need to take better photos of my food/creations. Of course, maybe a lesson from you on how to cook would be better solution – lol
But a new camera to replace my first generation DSLR that is 13 years old would be a big help too 🙂
Thanks for the wonderful photography tips, Julie. Will definitely put them into action with my own baking!
What an awesome and informative post! I’ve sort of gotten away from food photography because I got really frustrated but your post has inspired me to try, try again! The camera would be an awesome way to get a jump start on my learning! 🙂 Thanks so much.
Love this – going to be looking to buy props at the next estate sale!
I am making your Orzo Feta Spinach salad for our Hallowee’n potluck at work tomorrow. I’ve made this salad 3 times and it is definitely a winner. Yum. and as other people seem to know it is your birthday – Happy day from me too!!
Thanks for the tips. Great!
People don’t understand why I take photos of food. We eat with our eyes first! The camera would be fab!
This is an amazing post. I have bookmarked it so I can refer to it often. Thank you for the giveaway too!
Happy Birthday, Julie!
Point, shoot, click!
Thanks enjoyed this
Awesome giveaway! And helpful post! Some of those are just plain old good tips, whether you’re photographing food or not.
Those are really useul tips. Thanks so much. I am going to go play with my food now (and my camera).
Thanks for this post. Excellent ideas and a lot I’d say are applicable to all types of photography. And your photos are gorgeous and make me hungry!
I’m a photographer but my camera is dying a slow death too. I’d be stoked to win this! fingers crossed etc.
And, more importantly- Happy Birthday!
Thank you for these tips, and your right just keep
taking more pictures!
Thanks for all the tips – I don’t photograph food all that often, but I struggle to even get a decent picture of the birthday cakes and cupcakes that I slave over so hopefully I will do better now!
Fantastic contest — you make food photography look sooo easy !!! I know there have been recipes (on dinner with julie) I have tried because of the picture, we eat with our eyes !!!
Happy Birthday, Julie!
Thanks for the tips! Also bookmarking for future reference!
Happy Birthday! I love following your blog.
Julie always check your blog first thing in morning, makes my day, have it bookmarked for quick referral. Your pictures and recipes are an inspiration.
Hi Julie! I LOVE your blog and have cooked many recipes from it! A new camera would be fantastic and hopefully improve my photography skills.
Happy birthday! And thanks for the tips. What a great giveaway!
Great tips! Thank you. I’d love a new camera!
This post made me hungry for brownies and chocolate chip cookies!
My toddler’s life has been documented almost exclusively with phone photos. A proper camera would be awesome!
Some really great tips, thanks Julie!!
Loved seeing all of the support you provided following the yyc floods. You rock!
Thanks for the tips. The camera looks amazing. Happy Birthday to you. It’s my birthday too.
Those are awesome tips! Thanks for sharing.
Loved seeing all of the support you provided following the yyc floods. You rock!…
What a great contest! Thanks for the tip about the simulated natural light option – I’d already discovered that flash makes food look horrible, but that just meant that I stopped taking food photos in the winter!
Great contest, my old camera is definitely about ready to retire…!
Mmmmmm……food. Mmmmmmm…..camera! Thanks J!
I wait hungrily for all your posts and now I know why. Your food photos are so intriguing and mouth watering. Having the right tools (camera) makes such a difference. Happy birthday.
Love your blog! Thanks for the photo tips.
Fantastic post Julie! Your lessons are awesome. I am a Canon lover. My old prosumer Canon 10D is ancient and sloooooow. It needs to retire. Happy birthday!
Julie, these re the best food photograhy tips I have read. Thank you for these.
Cheer and happy birthday!
I have a 6 month old and am interested in documenting her first adventures with food. Now that she’s so active the iPhone camera just isn’t cutting it anymore, winning this would be great!
Happy birthday! Thanks for the great tips!
This was a fascinating post! Excellent advise for photographing non-food items too! Thanks
Really great tips here! Not just for photographing food, but for photographing anything really! Thanks so much!
Julie you’re amazing! Keep up the great work.
Oooooh! Pick me! Pick me!!!
Your food photos (and descriptions) are always drool worthy! And you make it look so easy!
What a great post! I love all the natural light in your kitchen!
Happy Birthday, wonderful photography lesson! You’re an inspiration, as always 🙂
Love your recipes, your food, your pictures.
First of all, happy birthday! Secondly, this is a great piece. I have read a lot of articles on food styling and you pretty much summed it up. I guess the other factor is your creativity. Like you say, just get out and take pictures. Thank you.
Always love reading your blog…..pictures are so tempting!!! Keep up the GREAT work!!!
Thanks for the inspiration – always love your work! Epic birthday wishes to you!
Spectacular photos, Julie! My stomach growled throughout this post. Always a treat to tour through your website. Oh, and I could reeeeeeeeeally use a new SLR. Like, REEEEEEEEALLY. xoxo
🙂 Absolutely Incredible Article & Photo’s!!! 🙂 Thank you for sharing the tips of the trade! I LOVE to take a ton of photo’s with my old slr camera, unfortunately it has had its better days. I desperately need a new one to use all your fabulous tips. Thanks for all you do, I love your posts & wish I could sample all the wonderfully photographed food dishes, they look absolutely Divine! 🙂 God Bless YOU!
I think it’s time for me (5 years of blogging) to upgrade my camera from a point and shoot little thing to a real camera!
Your photos are beautiful and you are still my favorite blog!
Happy and Healthy Birthday!
Great photographs, and excellent tips! Learned a lot. I would love a new camera–mine broke a few months ago and haven’t been able to replace it, and I miss it a lot. Thanks for the draw
My problem with food photography is shooting in the winter. I work every day except Sunday, but I cannot make all of my meals on Sunday for the blog. Taking photo in low light skills is what I need.
Thanks for the opportunity to win! Great post, the pics have made me hungry!! Cheers.
Love your blog, keep up the great work.
Great post Julie: I’m coming up on my 50th column and was just thinking of a giveaway. Not being “quite” as popular as your column, I suspect it might be a pinhole camera kit!
Amazing article, thanks Julie!
Wow, those photos are fantastic and great tips. I am going to share your post with my following who travel and well, we ALL take photos of our food when we travel! I love that kitchen too!
Great pictures, they are making me hungry!
I love all the textures you use for the background of your photos. These are great tips for and I’m officially hungry!
Wow. So great! ! My camera just kicked it….
Wow! Very cool tips!
Great post. Lots of helpful tips.
Thank you for the photo tips! Very helpful.
These tips are amazing! Thank you so much. I have been taking photos with my iphone as I don’t have a camera and they photos were horrible. I had to hire someone to do a few shots for me. I would love, love, love to win this camera and sign up for photography course, wish I lived in Calgary. Good luck everyone!
Love your blog Julie! I’ve made many of your recipes and always enjoy the great photos.
What a awesome prize 🙂
I would love to win this
Great article Julie!
I love food, photography and this post. Than for taking the time to put it all together.
I’m learning all about the ins and outs of interior photo shooting as each job site we complete I muddle the efforts to use my SLR and get the best images possible. We built the Gravity cafe and are currently in the midst of the Bite Groceria reno.
Julie, I was in your kitchen for one of your cookie exchanges a few years ago. Admired the wrap around windows then and knew most of your shots were taken there, how lucky you are. A food blog is just as much about the photographs as it is about the recipe. Well done.
Julie you are such an inspiration! Since meeting you and reading your blog, I like cooking again. Your blog is so fun to read! Happy Birthday!
That one photo of the bread trays – beautiful! That lighting!
Thanks for the great post + entry.
Love all your food (and life) reporting. Thanks for all the tips on photography as well – they can apply to other subjects as well, not just food. Thanks!
Lovely post and pics as usual!!
Your photos always look so amazing!!!!
Hey Julie! Your pictures are gorgeous… and I’m very glad to pick up some tips for making my food photos look less… barfy, would be the appropriate word.
I’m crossing my fingers so hard for this one! 🙂
Great post, your photos are fantastic. 🙂
This is a great post Julie! I never really realized how what I wear could be affecting light bouncing around. Your recipes are always delicious so I keep coming back for more!
Happy Birthday Julie. Looking forward to seeing you at Christmas In November next week.
Thank you for the tips! Love your site. I visit it weekly.
Just love your blog Julie! It has inspired more dinners at my house than I can count. Not saying that I always follow the recipe exactly… but your ideas get me going. Thanks!
Great post. I’d love to win that camera!
I love your photos, Julie. And your energy!!! 🙂
Hi! Happy birthday 🙂
Great tips for photographing anything! Would love to win the camera for my hubby! thanks for a great blog and recipes that turn out all the time!
Love the tip about natural light (but not too much)
Congrats on your book and all of your success! I love seeing how active you are in the community.
Ever the genius Julie. Happy birthday 😉
Hi Julie! Great tips, thank you. Freelance writers (like me) are being asked more often to provide photos, and although I do my best I know there’s always room for improvement. Happy contesting!
Your photos make me want to photograph everything I eat from now on. Also, I am starving now.
Great tips, always love it when we try out your recipes.
Happy birthday! These are great tips! I love reading your stuff, and I’ve had success with every recipe I’ve tried! Thanks!
Love reading your blog and try your recipes all the time! Thanks for the great food photo tips! Happy Birthday!!!
Great to see you combining your photography skills with your cooking skills Julie. Always enjoy what you post.
Thanks for the great tips! Love your blog.
Love the rice paper lamp from IKEA tip! Happy Birthday!
Great tips for photographing food, even if it is just to help someone who posts the occasional foodie photo on Facebook!
Thanks for all the great tips
Gorgeous pics! I wish I had this when I shot my cookbook! 🙂
SHOOTS… EATS… LEAVES. 🙂
Happy Birthday, Julie!
What fantastic tips, thanks so much for sharing your expertise. Can’t wait to have my own practise session in the kitchen and try these out!
Excellent tips. I will try some out next time I photograph food.
I’ve been looking on kijiji for a rebel…. please send it to me….. I really really really want one.. thanks
I’ll be waiting…..
Great tips! People keep asking me for pictures of my kitchen creations and I have stumbled in so many ways… this should help!
oooooh pick me! pick me!!
I have been wanting a digital Rebel for years!
and Happy Birthday!
Love your food photos, Julie. Great photos truly make the difference in a great food blog. And happy birthday!
Hi Julie, I love these tips and I never thought that what I wear could have an effect on my photos. I’ll be picking up a big white t-shirt the next time I’m out. Your photos are always fantastic. I currently use my phone for mine and you are right, I’d love to own the Canon to improve my photos.
Great post! Btw love your Alice Eats!
What great tips and tricks…love your blog!
SHOOTS… EATS… LEAVES… and forgets to add a name!! lol.
great tips and not overly technical, which is great when you are learning how to make a food photo look as delicious as the food tastes! thanks.
Great and easy to follow food photography tips. Thank you for the giveaway. Happy Birthday!
Excellent article – very informative. Now you’ve made me want a digital SLR camera.!! I’ve been a lazy photographer since I got a smartphone.
Such a helpful article Julie! And I need to shoot with more than an iPhone these days so that Rebel would be lovely.
Loved the article and could put that camera to good use.
Wonderful photos and so many great tips .
Have an amazing day … Happy Birthday Julie 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful pictures, delicious recipes, and this lovely post on how to photograph! I can’t wait to try these tips out!
Those Garlic Cheese Fries are KILLING me! And your Naan on a pizza stone n the BBQ is delish! I have dabbled in the Food Photos but they never turn out quite right. Now I know I need to get to HD to get some new light bulbs, now that its winter, I’ll rarely get to shoot in the daylight. Oh, and a new camera too. I hope the person who stole mine (on Thanksgiving no less) is enjoying looking at the photos of my kids first day of kindergarten. For now I am using my phone to capture the memories.
Happy Happy Birthday!
Happy Birthday Julie!
Thanks for the tutorial. I’ve always admired your wonderful food pics. Like all things done well, it seems effortless (i.e., when you look at the pics). It’s great to know a few tips for taking pics.
Thanks also for all the great recipes you’ve given us over the years!
Gosh, my camera is SO old my iPhone takes better pictures! I desperately need a new one to get into the nitty gritty of amazing food photos… I LOVE all the shots you’ve included in this post!
Thanks for the great tips! I love your little nook in the kitchen.
Awesome tips! I love taking photos of Holiday meals, or my dining table when it’s all set up for a party, but they rarely capture the true experience. Thanks for sharing!
Genius idea to wear a white shirt and become a human light-bounce! I’ll do that from now on.
Thanks for the great tips. I do photoshop – quite heavily.
Sorry I missed you in Langley – so near, yet so far.
Think of how great my cupcake photos will be!!!
Some great tips here- I would love to have an slr camera- all my pics are now with a phone!
Wowee! so much to know and so much to learn. Looking forward to seeing more pics now that I know what’s happening in the background!
Thanks for the great tips! I love taking photos of my meals and the meals my amazing boyfriend makes and these tips are really helpful. We eat with our eyes.
OOH – I could so use a new camera! My girls pulled mine off the table while the lens was open – and bam – no more nice digital pictures of my food creations or the twins – just good ole iPhone photos.
Thanks for the tips!
Thanks for the tips. I see so much beauty in food pictures, and find it is a form of art. Sadly I broke my good camera, so iphone photos is all I do at the moment.
Thank you so much for the food photography tips! I’m bookmarking this page and using it! GOLD I say 🙂 All the recipes I’ve tried from your website are amazing! Thank you for doing what you do! Happy birthday!!!
Great tips. I need to start using my camera more. I default to my phone more often than not. My photos don’t suck but they aren’t the best. Oh and Happy Birthday!
I’m trying to teach my two boys to cook, and your blog and books are fantastic tools.
Have you seen this? People only use their iPhones to take pictures of food. http://youtu.be/uIRBxRlsYR0
Happy birthday! You do amazing things, I love following your adventures in food.
Heh- these tips fit for garden photography as well. Good job
Happy birthday, Julie! My nephew is in the Photography Club at WCHS, and he’s got an amazing eye for things, already. He’s already shot a wedding! I think a new camera would make the greatest Channukah gift (and solidify my status as Greatest Auntie Ever). Great post.
Great tips, thank you!
This blog post just made me very hungry. Love the photos and thanks for the tips Julie!
I celebrated my birthday last week so both born in a good month! I think you have to have an innate ability to understand how to compose really good photographs. You have the “eye”.
I had the immense pleasure of attending your session at FBC and my photos have improved dramatically. I will be sharing this post with tips…
Happy Birthday Julie!
If I don’t win the camera can I get some of your sourdough starter ; )
Love this site and look at it daily. Your food photos are always fabulous. I have always owned Canon cameras and have had great success with them over the years and am now in desperate need of a new one.
How do you not eat it
BEFORE you shoot it?? It all looks soo yummy!
Great article and great photos!
Happy Birthday. I love your accessible view on both food and blogging.
I’m doing a painting series involving food. Would be great to get some decent photos.
Julie – Happy Birthday! Thank you for such a detailed description of photographing food. Your photos always make the food so delicious and have caused me to make many, many of your recipes.
I have been following your blog for years and have made countless number of your recipes. Also love hearing you on CBC.
Hi Julie – just want to say I love your blog. I enjoy following your adventures which are so “close to home” in places that are familiar (I live in Central AB). I so enjoy your recipes, which are comforting, homey and obviously created with love – which is the only way to cook! I have made several of them, most recently your Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. It was a hit!! Thank you!
Long-time reader (but first-time commenting I think) here. Wonderful tips.
Very exciting to see how you work 🙂 Love the info.
I just love taking pictures of food! My instagram friends love it too.
Thanks for the tips!
Thank you so much for those helpful food shooting advice, especially the action shot tip!
Your photography is great! Thank you for sharing!
Thanks for the tips! I missed your talk with the Calgary Public library on this, so getting to hear what you had to say was awesome!
(and please please please pick me for the camera draw. Mine is quite literally falling apart)
Wonderful tips – thank you Julie! You should teach a class about food photography!
These are fabulous tips and I can’t wait to put them into practice.
I’m dying for a camera!!! I currently use my crappy phone to take even crappier photos.
Love your site!
Awesome tips! I am always trying to take good pictures of my food that most of time it gets cold before I get a good shot! Thanks!!
Great tips! Thanks for sharing!!
Thanks so much for the tips! I’m a big fan of yours and appreciate all the food tips you offer. All of the recipes of yours I’ve tried have always been a huge success at my table. Cheers!
Happy Birthday Julie! A Scorpio like me ????. Love the tampon in the microwave idea!! Great article.
I love taking great photos of food. My birthday is on November 9th, this would be a rad gift!
Cheers Julie, love your blog.
Love your blog, and lots of your recipes!
Great information! I’ve shared this post on Facebook for my friends who are interested in photography.
I take most food shots with my iPhone (because it’s always with me), but would love to up my game with a real camera. Please put me in the draw! Thanks 🙂
I just love your blog and I really could use a new camera. BTW saw you on Global TV when you were in Vancouver last week.
I love shooting food, though most of my work is nature and wildlife, with a little portrait work thrown in. Thanks for the awesome tips!
Lovely photos all the time.
Great food, great pictures, great lady!
What more do you need?!
Cookery books/food blogs are my story books! Lovely photos of even lovelier food. Bless x
I love your blog – your recipes are amazing! Also, thanks for the photo tips – I like to take pics of food when I’m out and about, so will keep your ideas in mind! Thanks so much!
Love your blog <3
Loved this! Such good ideas; I’ll definitely have to go find a few props for myself.
This post made me hungry!
I’ve been thinking about starting my own food blog for quite some time. If I get the camera I might actually do it! Thank you for the tips and your great recipes!
Excellent post, really informative.
Also, pick me!
Thank you for the excellent tips!
Love your website!
I’ll throw my hat into this ring. I enjoy the blog with all its great information and especially your great personal style!
My digital camer’s CCD broke and now makes everything look like The Scream…a new one would be great 🙂
Great tips, Julie! I can use them for non-food photography too!
Wow Julie – what a great post, really informative and inspiring! And … now I am hungry 🙂
Happy birthday! Love your blog and your segments on cbc radio. Great tips for photographing food. Thank you Julie!
Say anything? Would a lot of flattery work, beautiful lady? 🙂
I just wanted to say how much I love your blog and cookbooks. Although I love cooking and am really getting into photography, I haven’t thought much about photographing food until I saw your blog today. Thanks so much for the tips!
Great tips Julie! Thanks for sharing!
Happy Birthday, Julie! Great tips!
I’ve been refinding my love of cooking lately after school cramped my style for many years…I’ve been taking photos using a camera phone but they aren’t very good. I’m excited to use your tips to get better! Although I suspect no amount of tips can help a picture of greyish risotto look good….
Photographing food runs a very distant third to eating and preparing food, yet I find myself doing it on large family occasions or whenever I am full of hubris regarding my culinary creation. Thanks for the very applicable tips.
avoid flash at all costs & ‘steaming tampon’ are my favourites! but great tips overall! thanks for the insight.
You are such a generous and beautiful soul.
Hi Julie, great tips for us amateurs who just like to post pictures of our delicious adventures. Cheers!
as always, beautiful photos and fantastic recipes!
Thanks for the helpful tips. I must get one of those rice paper lamps.
Would love to win that camera!
Great tip about wearing a neutral shirt. I never thought of that!
Also, I bought some foam-core board from Staples, which has proved very useful at bouncing light. I duct taped two pieces together so they stand up on their own and can bounce light from two different directions. Super cheap and easy.
I love the advice you laid out here!
Julie! I’m glad to see a well written “How To” Article.. you offer really great practical tips that are feasible for just about any photog- from consumer to pro. As a foodie who spends lotsa time shooting food photos while traveling, its a passion that many don’t understand when they see me languishing over a photo…sometimes letting my food get a bit cooler, but when the photo communicates how amazing the meal is…then they get it.
Steamy article! Thanks for all the “bright” ideas! Hope it’s the Happiest Birthday Ever!
now i know how you do such a good job of photographing of food. :)) Thanks for sharing!
You’ve seen my photos and you know I need the help! Thanks for the tips and pulease pick me! 😉
Great photo tips, great photos, and a great camera!
Happy Birthday Julie from a long time Lurker. I really enjoy your blog and read it daily.
Great photography tips
Great photo tips. Thanks!
Happy birthday! I wish Canon would give everyone a free camera for their birthday.
Oh Julie!! Pick ME! Pick ME!
Very helpful! Thank you Julie.
Thank you! I love reading your blog and trying your recipes!
Great tips Julie! Thank you!
I have more recipes bookmarked from your blog than any other. I just added some scone recipes after being inspired to search thanks to the photo in this entry. Happy birthday, and thanks for the photography tips!
Great blog, Julie. We have birthdays in the same month!
Hi Julie, I enjoyed your tips and tricks that you shared on the art of photographing food. I recently made your easy strawberry jam and it was devine! Thanks for the contest!
Awesome giveaway! Our camera has also shuttered for the last time.
Happy birthday Julie.
Love the article on photo tips – simply awesome.
How typical and kind of you to offer up a “present” or at least a chance at one on YOUR birthday! Your many tips on shooting food are very helpful, even to those of us in other fields that use photography as a visual resource…think “still life” etc. I would love a chance to try the Canon EOS Rebel SL 1. My film camera is a Canon EOS and it has proven to be a workhorse even though digital is leaving it “in the dust”.
Love your cookbooks and blog!
Great tips for photos! Always look forward to your blog…your recipes have never failed me!
Not a week goes by that we don’t eat something courtesy of a JVR recipe (the name you go by on my menu plan)!
Thanks so much for the tips Julie. I see a trip to IKEA this week!
Thanks for sharing all these tips, Julie! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find myself some key lime pie to satisfy a sudden craving…
excellent photo tips! Can’t wait to try them 🙂
I would love to be a food photographer!
Thanks for the tips! I’ve been wanting to get more into food photography – a new camera would be a great starting point!
Thanks for all the wonderful advice and the tricks great advice!!!
Very useful tips, Julie. I hadn’t even thought about the effect your clothing colour could have a on a shot. Thank you!
Thanks for all the tips Julie!
I love taking pictures of my creations and looking to get into basic photography as a project for my 30th year!
I will be asking Santa for a new camera or my 30th birthday in January 2014!
Perfect article to keep for my reference!!
Great and informative post, especially the tampon trick, haha! I’m jealous of all the beautiful light in your kitchen, and those wooden counter tops.
Thanks Julie! Your food photos are always gorgeous and enticing, and probably 95% of what makes me decide to make your recipe! Sadly my photos never match up, but I hope I can get better with your tips and an awesome new camera 😉
I’ve been using your recipes for a long time, some many times over. My husband will now never look at a photo of steaming food the same way!
Happy Birthday fellow Scorpian! I loved your article, very informative and great job on the photos.
great post – thanks! I wish I were canadian -!