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How to Take Great Food Photos



The blog contains little bits of my life, my passions, and my work. I update it daily so there is always something new to come see.





We recently had a pizza party night with friends and family, so I thought I would take the opportunity to show How to Take Great Food Photos. You’ve heard a lot about JP, best buddy and best man at my wedding. We try to go to Troy, NY, every year to stay with him and his family for a fun family+friend getaway. This year is the first time we visited since being not vegan, so I asked him if he would make us his famous pizzas. I see them about once a month on his Instagram, and every time it makes my tummy rumble. He obliged and I knew I wanted to document the process.

As we go through the process of JP making his pizzas, I’m going to talk about my approach to each shot. I’ll discuss my composition and techniques so you know How to Take Great Food Photos.

How to Take Great Food Photos Using Composition Tools

This first photo is my scene-setting shot. I use the rule of thirds to set up the composition, and a low angle, so I can get his full reaction as he measures out his ingredients. Rule of thirds, essentially, means don’t center-bullseye your subject. By diving the image into thirds, you can place your subject on one of those third lines for a stronger composition. It also allowed me to pull the stand mixer into the shot.

Pizza chef prepping pizza dough using a kitchenaid stand mixer

For these two images I use a contrast in focal length. A tight shot paired with a wide angle shot sets up a nice contrast. Also, for the flour shot, I used a slow shutter speed to show motion. On the right, I used a whisk to frame JP’s eyes and also add a unique aspect to the foreground while having my main subject in the background.

I’ve often talked about action and reaction as a photographer. It’s important to capture both. I love Pixel as the main focus of this shot, watching her dad intently. Also, dogs are the best.

Dog watching Pizza chef prepping pizza dough using a kitchenaid stand mixer

Here is another example of shooting both tight and wide shots of the same scene. Both are important to tell the entire story with impact. And again, I slowed the shutter for the bottom image to show motion.

After he mixed the dough, he let it rise for a bit and then balled it up. I love this shot using a repeated pattern. Patterns are one of the harder composition tools to find. However, when you do find it, it creates such fun images.

Prepped pizza dough with flour / how to take great food photos of pizza

How to Take Great Food Photos by Manipulating Your Camera’s Settings.

Let’s compare two images. By comparing images, we learn How to Take Great Food Photos. The shot on the left has a beautifully blurred background because I was shooting with my aperture wide open at 1.2. That also gave me a fast shutter speed, resulting in a really sharp image. On the right, I slowed the shutter speed way down to capture motion, but in doing so I also changed my aperture. Notice the deeper depth of field? When you are shooting, pay attention to how deep your depth of field is. Understanding how f-stops and shutter speeds work to your advantage are key concepts in How to Take Great Food Photos.

Back on the composition front, Look at how I shot this dough stretching from three different angles. I usually shoot like this, and if you’ve seen me work a wedding you’ll notice that I’m everywhere at the same time. I’m like a photo ninja, as I was recently called by a wedding planner.

Here are most shots where I change up the composition by changing my angle. I used both low + high angles to show a contrast in the images and get different elements in the shot.

I call this angle the P.O.V shot. That stands for point of view, which makes it look like you’re the subject performing the action. This is a cool type of shot used in movies all the time. Bringing it in to photography gives the viewer a sense of involvement.

pizza chef slides the pizza into the ooni outdoor pizza oven, showing how to take great food photos of pizza night

Notice how many shots you can get of nearly the same moment. I didn’t have 5 different cameras set up. I used a single camera, and locked in my exposure. Then, I moved around to create a variety of images from a single setup.

This image is one of my favorites because it includes the family in the background. They’re blurred on purpose because I didn’t want it to be distracting. However, I wanted to include them because of course they’re part of the story.

how to take great food photos for pizza party night by shooting the pizza chef cooking the pizza in the ooni outdoor pizza oven

Scout loved the pizza. LOVED it.

how to take great food photos for pizza party night by shooting the final pizza shot as a overhead flatlay

This final shot is my favorite. What I love is that it shows the pizzas in different stages. One just came from the oven, one is sliced, and one is devoured. Not all food photo shoots have a shot like this. However, if you want to know How to Take Great Food Photos, taking a shot like this is great advice.

how to take great food photos for pizza party night by shooting the final pizza shot as a overhead flatlay

JP, thanks for your hospitality and for treating my family to a great pizza night! It was worth the wait, and can’t wait to do it again.

Hungry for more tips? Check out this post that explains how to take family photos with my iPhone.

Talk to you soon,

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