3 Things That Changed My Food Photography Forever

3 Things That Changed My Food Photography Forever

So you wanna take great pictures of food that will make your viewer’s jaw drop and leave a bit of drool on their keyboard huh? Well, I am definitely not an expert in photography of any kind, but after a year of food blogging and working my buns off (pardon my French), I’ve learned a few things. I’ve debated for months whether or not to write a post like this. What if no one reads it? What if someone hates it?? What if everyone boycotts my blog because they think I have no right to be speaking in any authority on the subject of food photography??? A little farfetched? Maybe. But I worry about these things you guys. But you’re my friends, and friends share. So, I’m sharing a few tips with you today. Take it or leave it, totally up to you! And if you hate everything I have to say, that’s okay. We can still be foodie-lovin’ pals.

food photography tips and tricks

Alrighty then. Since you’re still here… Let’s get down to business. This food photography stuff, it can be tricky. But there are three things that really made “the big difference” for me. . .

ONE: LEARNING THE NUTS AND BOLTS OF FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY – (aka: Where on earth do I start?!)

The first thing you have to do is learn the basics. There are scads of decent sources out there for learning how to take pictures of food. I’ve read hundreds of blog posts (um, sorta like this one, except written by people who actually know what they’re talking about), watched dozens of videos and tutorials, talked to professionals, and spent ridiculous amounts of time researching food photography – but the very first thing I would recommend to anyone and everyone who wants to take a picture of a cupcake, or pickles, or whatever food your little heart desires to photograph, is a book. Boring? No. This book will knock your socks off, promise. Lindsay from Pinch of Yum wrote this super awesome eBook called Tasty Food Photography.

Tasty Food Photography eBook  - Tips and Tricks for Food Photography and Bloggers

(Already convinced?? Click on this link to learn more and purchase the book! – – – > Buy Now )

This book breaks down food photography into small, easily digestible bite-size pieces that anyone can swallow. (wow, that’s a lot of punnage in one sentence) Like I said before, there are a lot of sources out there, but I believe that Tasty Food Photography is one of the absolute best resources for learning the fundamentals of food photography. Everything from how to work your new camera (aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and more) to how to pick props and plate your food. This book you guys. Get it. You will not regret it.

Photography Tips For Bloggers
Fun fact: the picture on the left was the very first photograph I shot and published on Creme de la Crumb. 

TWO: HOW TO GET UP-CLOSE, SUPER SHARP PHOTOS

Photography is an expensive hobby. If I had unlimited funds (which I don’t) I would have quite a different setup than I have now. I’d get the top of the line in everything imaginable, because I love photography and I want to have the best quality in my photographs as possible. But I don’t have unlimited funds. And when I began Creme de la Crumb a year ago, I had even more-limited funds than I do now. But I really really wanted my pictures to look like those up-close, super sharp photos you see in magazines. A lot of food photographers will suggest purchasing a macro lens, and that was my first plan. Until I realized they are 2 thousand dollars! (deflated sigh). However, I found the key – the SECRET to really close-up awesome photos. I bought the cheapest (but totally fantastic) fixed lens I could find for my camera – click HERE to check it out –
and then I found these Macro Lens Filters.
(Because each camera and lens are different, this link will take you to a page where you can search through the different options and find the lens filters that will fit YOUR specific camera lens – if you need help finding the right ones for your lens – leave a comment, I’m happy to help!)

The Secret To Super Sharp, Up-Close Photos Without Breaking The Bank

Tips for Food Photography

***The picture above is a help for finding your thread size – the number you will need when ordering the correct lens filter for your lens. Find the symbol and number on your own lens like the one you see circled in red in the image above. This is the number you need to match when purchasing your filters.***

***For those with the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens
this is the exact set of filters I use with that lens***

This little trick has been one of the best things I’ve ever done for my photography. For what, less than 20 dollars? you can take your photos from – “oh that looks yummy” to “WOAH! It looks like I could grab it right out of the screen! Those little macro lens filters allow you to get up close and personal with your food without losing clarity and focus. I LOVE them. How do they work? Piece of cake. You just screw them onto the front of your lens and they magnify your subject without distorting it at all, so you can get exactly the image you’re imagining! Best. Trick. EVER.

Tips & Tricks for Getting Super Sharp Up-Close Food Photos

Food Photography Tips & Tricks

THREE: TAKING YOUR FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY TO THE NEXT LEVEL OF AWESOME aka: the WOW factor

So once you’ve got the basics down, and you have some tools to help you get up close and personal with your food, you want the “wow factor”. How do you get it? You keep learning. A while back I found myself in a photography “rut” so to speak. I felt like every photograph looked the same and my photography was becoming dull and boring. I found this book called Plate to Pixel: Digital Food Photography & Styling.

plate to pixel

I’d heard this book mentioned a million times by other food photographers but thought, meh – I’ve read a couple of photography books, I don’t need another one. WRONG-O. This book is awesome! I only wished I’d read it sooner. It takes you back through a lot of the things that Lindsay talks about in her book Tasty Food Photography, but more in depth, and dives a little deeper into the feeling and stories behind photographs, and how to really deliver your message to your audience. The author, Helen Dujardin,  does a stellar job at explaining how to get past the “Oh, yeah that looks good” and really get into the “Oh my gosh I NEED that taco!” with your food photographs.

Photography Tips for Food Bloggers

Thanks so much for sticking it out to the end – you’re my best buds! I hope you found this post useful! If I get some positive feedback on this post and it seems like you guys want more, I’ve got scads of fun tips, tricks, and useful tidbits to share with you! If you have any questions, leave a comment – I’m an open book and I love to share!!

 

 

There are affiliate links included in this post. If you follow the links and do end up purchasing the items I’ve suggested, I will get a percent of the sale (yayyy) but I only suggest these items because I purchased them myself and use them regularly – they have improved my food photography dramatically and I believe they can do the same for you. 

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Comments

I am so, so, SO happy you wrote this post Tiffany. And don’t sell yourself short – you have TONS to offer; you are my photography idol! You take amazing pictures and I’m sure everyone is excited to learn from you and your advice. Also you should know if you ever write a photography book I will be the first to purchase it. Maybe I’ll even buy two 😉 Thanks for the tips and great, great post!

    Ha!!! Oh Chels, you are the best – like seriously. The best. Ha! If I do ever write a book, you’ll be one of the first people to know – you can’t count on it!!! Thanks for all of your support, can’t tell you how much it means to me !!! <3

Great job on this post! I’ve also done a lot of reading up on how to improve my food photography, and I’m slowly getting there. I think I do need to break down and buy a book. Those lens are an awesome tip! I’ll definitely check that out. Just wondering what kind of camera you use and if they’ll work on mine. I have a Canon Rebel T4 with a 18-135 lens and a separate 50 mm lens.

    They have ones that will definitely fit the T4 – just be sure to check the thread size on your lenses ( I updated the post this afternoon with a photo showing how to do that! ) Food photography can be so tough, it’s different than any other kind of photography (people, action, sports, weddings, etc) but it is so rewarding and these books helped me out a TON!

This is so useful – thank you so much! I’m still getting to know my camera, but I’ve been enjoying every second if it 🙂

    Getting to know your camera is tough – they can be so complicated! But I found that Tasty Food Photography was a miracle book, breaking it down into easily understandable concepts and lessons! Thanks for reading and for your comment Nazia! 🙂

SO that is how you can do it without breaking the bank! ($2300 lens, I’m looking at you) I’m checking those out as soon as I finish commenting. Both of those books sound like incredible resources, too. This is such a hard topic to cover succinctly, but you did it!

    Exactly! Those crazy lenses (although amazing I’m sure) are SO expensive! These filters are a great way to bridge that gap without taking out a second mortgage on your home!! Thanks so much Mary!! 🙂

Thanks for the tips! I didn’t even know macro lens filters existed!

    Crazy right?? When I heard about them I was blown away! They’re amazing and save you tons of money!! 🙂

Ummm, I loved this post!??!? Can’t believe you even questioned it. I’ll take all the hints I can get so keep them coming. Your photography is really great. I’ll take that cupcake above thank you very much.

So glad I stumbled upon this post! Your pics are awesome so that in it self qualifies you. 🙂 I literally JUST ordered a fixed lens for my camera because I couldn’t afford the crazy expensive macro lenses. Sooooo excited for your tip about the filter!!

SERIOUSLY! I have that lens and now I can buy those macro filters and get better clarity?! SUPER EXCITED RIGHT NOW!

    Genius right?!? I love them!!

Such a great post!! And I have had both of those books on my amazon wish list for months- you’ve inspired me to do it! I LOVE your foodtography,you are amazing! And lens filters? Genius. Doing that!

    The lens filters make a huge difference! You still have to plate well and execute the shot obviously but they allow you to get close to the food without losing clarity – AWESOME! Thanks so much Meg!!! 🙂

Tiffany, this is amazing info! I’ve read Helen’s book and it really did change the way I’ve handled my food photography (long way to go, though) Your photography is amazing and I would definitely say that you are more than able to hand out advice like this! Keep up the awesome work. — You go girl! 🙂

    Hi Sarah! Thank you so much, I was so nervous to publish this post and your feedback is so encouraging! Photography is definitely a learning process – I’m nowhere near the photographer I want to be, but patience and hard work make all the difference in the world!!

Tiffany! This was such a great post!! Loved it! I have loved your pics so much. Your food photography is amazing and I’ve always loved it! You are such an inspiration to me. I recently purchased a macro lens but didn’t know about the filters. Looking into them, asap!!

By the way, hope all is well. It was so fun getting to know you at BYBC! 🙂 xoxo

    Hi Holly! I am so glad I was able to meet and get you know you a bit at the conference, we’ll have to do it again! Thank you so much for your positive feedback and encouragement, I get soooo nervous about these things and it’s positive reassurance like yours that keeps me going!

Thanks for the great info! I had no idea about those lens filters. Just ordered a set for myself and can’t wait to try them out!

    They were definitely a key in taking my photography to the next level – I hope you love them as much as I do! 🙂

What a great post and thanks for sharing what you do! I have always admired your tack-sharp, crystal-clear mouthwatering images and it’s nice to know what has helped you. I have both Lindsay and Helene’s books and both are excellent – agreed! Pinned to my food photog. board!

    Can I just say you’re the nicest person in the whole world?? Ha! Seriously though, I am so critical of my own work and you always leave the kindest, most thoughtful comments! You’re a blogging inspiration to me!!

Wow! Tiffany this is a great post!! I’m so glad you convinced yourself to write it 🙂 I’ve followed your blog from afar for a little while now. And I absolutely LOVE your photographs! So to me you are definitely qualified to give some tips. Thanks again!!

    Serene! Thank you so much for your sweet comment – I was soooo nervous to publish this post and it is so reassuring to hear that you enjoy my photographs and found this post worth reading! Thank you so much for your support!! 🙂

Gasp! Those macro filters are my answer! I was just looking at macro lenses today and so sad at how expensive they are. You are a mind reader! Thanks for this post!

    P.S. I have your same 50mm 1.8 lens so will you give me the link to what filter you use? Thanks!

    Definitely a mind reader here, it’s one of my most amiable qualities. 😉 ha! I’m glad I could help out! I’ve actually received a few questions like yours so I updated the post with a new link just for the exact filters I have – so you don’t have to do any searching to find the one for the 1.8 lens. Hope that’s helpful!! 🙂

wow thanks so much for these awesome tips 🙂 I feel my food photography is good, but not I-need-it-right-now-good. Ill check out those resources thanks 🙂 You are awesome!

    Trine- thank you so much!!! Photography is tough and so subjective but it’s little things like learning the ins and outs and investing the time that make all the difference! Thanks for your support, I can’t tell you how much it means to me!! 🙂 🙂

These are great tips!!! Thank you very much. I have always admired your beautiful photos! I have both the ebook and plates to pixels but as you said, reading as much as possible on the subject always helps as you learn something new each time. And I just did from this post! I ordered that lens filter set even before I finished reading!!

Thanks for this post! I am always on the lookout for any info I can find on food photography. Your tip about the macro filter – awesome!

Awesome! Ordering these!

Great post! Your photos are always beautiful.
Also? Plate to Pixel is one of the best investments I ever made!!

Confession: I’ve been secretly admiring and lusting after your photos on Pinterest for a couple of months now… Those macro close-up shots make me weak at the knees every time! I couldn’t pull the trigger on a new lens either — think of all of the chocolate chip cookies I could bake with that money instead! — but I’m definitely looking into those fixed lenses ASAP. Thank you SO much for sharing your tips and tricks; they’re really, really helpful!

    P.S. I just ordered the same lens and filters that you used and recommended! I clicked on your links to get to Amazon, so hopefully you earn a little extra commission. 🙂 Thanks again for posting this and sharing your tips — I’m so excited to try them out!

Woah, woah, woah, thank you SOOOO much for this post!! Although I’m taking a break from blogging at the moment (finals at college) I am in awe of so many bloggers and their photography, yours included, I honestly had no idea that I could get a macro lens filter which would mean I don’t have to save hundreds for a macro lens! Thank you! 🙂

Tiffany,

I just wanted to say that I absolutely LOVE your photos. I pin them immediately and they always inspire to me to cook because they look so gosh darn good! I’ve been meaning to tell you this, but every recipe I’ve made from your blog is a hit. My boyfriend says ” can we put this in the rotation?” whenever I make a good meal to make sure it’s routinely made – and he says that a lot about your recipes!

I am not at all a photographer and will often attempt to snap photos of the food that I make from my phone…I know, not that professional. And I never really know what I’m doing, I will literally turn my phone at an angle in hopes that it will look more interesting. And then I feel like my food is not getting the justice it deserves. Do you think these books would be helpful for just basic tips? Eventually I will get a fancy camera, but not anytime soon. Thanks!

Great Post! I did read it all the way to the end. LOL
I am learning so much on photography for my blog as well. Just wanted to share I have a MAC and I bought the aperture app. I know that a great photo begins with a great idea and a great image. But I have played with aperture app for just a short time and it has made a huge difference in my photos! I am still learning.. but wanted to pass on this info.
Carrie

Hi!
I’m writing from Italy, and I want to thank you for this post!
I’m learning food photography for my first recipes book and your “3 things” give me a great help!
xxx
Eleonora

Tiffany I can remember when you first started, because we both started around the same time, and I thought wow her photography is so awesome!

I just stumbled across this post yesterday night when I was on pinterest and clicked to see how you were doing! LOVE this girl! You did an awesome job writing about this and with such clarity. You photos have improved a ton.

I have been going back and forth about buying the plate to pixel book lately. But after reading this post I just went on and bought it, I have been feeling in a slump lately too. Thanks for the inspiration girl!

    Isn’t it crazy how fast it goes by?? I feel like this year has flown by, and I’ve grown a ton but I have soooo much more to learn! Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments – I definitely get down on myself and my photography and it’s your kind of encouragement that keeps me plugging along!!! Thanks girl!!! Oh and plate to pixel – you will LOVE it! Worth every penny. 🙂

I purchased the filters you recommended. Thanks! Do you find yourself using one filter over another? Thanks for all your tips and help!

    Hi Lesley! These filters are wonderful – I use the +1 filter with almost every single shot for my blog, unless I am doing a really wide shot of a whole table setting or something. Sometimes I up it to the +2 filter. The +1 and +2 are the ones I use most often!

      Thanks so much for your response! Your work and blog are beautiful!

Wow! Your photos looks so beautiful – I’m so excited for you! Thanks for the shout out! 🙂

What kind of camera do you use? I’m looking to get a dslr but there are soo many choices… it’s pretty intimidating!

I am so glad that you wrote this post! Just orderd the book! I have that same 50mm lens for my food photography and I put it on my Canon 70D. I am stumped though as to which macro lens filter to buy. Any suggestions for what will fit?

    Hi Crystal! That book was life changing for me – I absolutely love it! That lens is great, I have the same one and actually there is a link above to the exact lens filters that work for that lens!

      I cannot thank you enough for sharing those tips with your readers! Right after I read this post, I purchased the books, and the lens + lens filters, and you were right! The tips in the books helped so much, and the macro filters with the fixed lens gave my food photography that “Wow!” factor! (I used the +1 size on my Canon 7D). I’ve been a lurker on your site since January, and I’ve always thought your food photography was so amazing! Keep up the great work! And thanks again!

        Jazmine! Congrats on upping your photography skills, I’m so glad that my post was helpful to you! 🙂

Thanks so much for writing this Tiffany! You are awesome to share your tips and tricks with us as you have some of the best photography around! It is simply stunning! I am excited to check out the book and the lenses. THANK YOU!

Excellent post! I have both those books too and they are incredible. I took your advice about the lens filters and bought myself a set too. They fit perfectly, but when one is on, my camera won’t take a picture. (I use my camera’s kit lens.) Did you run into this problem at all?

Thanks for sharing this! I am off to buy a macro filter! I can’t wait to take better pictures!

Great post! I can’t wait to check out the books you suggested as well as the filters! I love your pictures and found your site from a google image search involving s’mores. 🙂 I will definitely be spending some time browsing your recipes! The dessert recipes look especially delicious. S’mores….cookie dough…yum!

Thank you!

Thank you so much for this info. I just ordered the macro lens filters. Yay! 🙂

Thank you so much for this post! You have nothing to worry about, we all love and respect your advice, you take such amazing photos. I just started a blog a month or so ago and I know my photos are NOT up to par. I have been researching and learning as much as I can and am buying my first “big girl” DSLR camera tomorrow (I feel like a kid on Christmas morning, haha) Up until now, I have been using mostly my smart phone (which sadly takes “better” photos than the point and shoot I have) I have bought and read Plate to Pixel this past week and absolutely second your recommendation on it. It has already opened my eyes SO MUCH and I wait to put it to use on my blog. I am thinking I am going to get Linsday’s book also once I get my camera and get to learn it a little better. I will use your link when I get it : )

much love,
Heather

Hello!
I shoot with a Nikon D800 and have a Nikon 50 mm 1.8 and also a Nikon 24-70. Do you know which of those Macro Lens Filters I should buy? Or do you think my 24-70 would be ok?! Thanks so much!

Love these tips! Can’t wait to try them. I’ve wondered about those books and never heard about the filters. I know my food is good, but one does have to get people to take a look-so to speak! Thanks so much!

THANK YOU!! I had no idea there was such a thing as those filters! Ordered within 5 minutes of reading. Can’t wait to try them out.

Love your blog, first time reader:)

Thank you very much!

Have a wonderful day 🙂

I’m just starting and these tips are great! just the right stuff to get me started without breaking the bank. So grateful to you for sharing these invaluable tips! site bookmarked!

OK, I’m very intrigued by the lens filters, but also super stumped on how to find them for my lens! The main lens I use is the 50mm: Nikon 50mm f/1.8D Autofocus Lens. I’ve tried to search for macro filters for this, but don’t think I have found the right thing…can you help? 🙂

thanks so much for this! I really want these filters but can’t seem to figure out the set i need for my camera. I have a Pentax K-S1 with a pentax 50mm lens. The filter I currently have on it is a Kenko Pro1D 49 MM UV filter.
I also need it to ship to Canada!Thanks for your help! [email protected] I’m not sure why this is in all caps, can’t seem to change it

Nice write up, and beautiful blog by the way!

    Thank you! 🙂

Hello, what edting sOftware do you use?
Love your stuff and thanjs so much for keeping it real!

    Hi Amy- thanks for the sweet compliment! I use photoshop for all my editing.

Great post! I own a DSLR and I still use my iPhone 95% of the time 🙂