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Essential tools for food photographers

Essential tools for food photographers

Fab Giovanetti

This post contains affiliate links to Etsy and Amazon. If you take action after clicking one of those links, we’ll be getting some coffee money at no extra cost to you ☕ – which we promise to drink whilst creating more incredible content for you.

We love taking photos of food, just like most of our influencers. The team learned so much about taking photos of food and products, and we have been working hard to create our own style and find the best tools of the trade. We get asked time and time again what does it take to take incredible photos, and this is what we’ll be unveiling today.

We’ll be talking about some of the best tools that can simplify our life when it comes to photography.

An effective way to create beautiful images worthy of your portfolio (and the brand’s money) are flatlays and compositions.

However, not all flat lays were made equal. In fact, in order to stand out, you want to make sure that your flatlay tells a story. A good composition collates the visual assets of your brand as well as your unique personality.

Today, we are focusing on five tips to create visually stunning flatlays.

Use consistent light and textures

It doesn’t matter if you are taking your photos with an iPhone or an SLR, you want to make sure you nail the lighting. Ultimately, you do not want to use a flash, but instead, opt for a natural light source next to a window.

One of the easiest ways to give your photo a consistent appearance is to use objects that fit in with the same colour theme and textures.

Depending on your style, you may resonate with earthy textures and colours, white and sleek surfaces, or rustic and dark (think marble and old trays). You can pick up most textures, boards and linen materials at art supply and pound stores.

Craft your style

A good exercise is to focus on what you’re naturally drawn to — most of the time all you need to do is go to your own feed to check in with yourself and find out what this is. Or, to shake up things, you may want to follow new accounts.

It’s an unspoken secret that most people have been collecting screenshots of ideas in the early stages for when they were feeling uninspired.

Bring it to life

Photos feel more alive when you introduce live elements. For more lifestyle-oriented photos, think plants, freshly cut flowers, or crystals, if you feel inclined. Food bloggers will be more likely to use raw ingredients and herbs as well as colourful spices.

Less is more

Especially when focusing on a product for a sponsored post, first decide where you want to place the object of focus and then build around it. White space allows the objects to breathe.

Think about your photo as a canvas — pop-up art is beautiful, but the whole point of it is to be loud. You want to be compelling and memorable.

Be prepared

If you are set to create a series of posts for similar brands, shoot a variety of photos in the same setting: switch out a few key items and shoot again so you get a few variations. Make sure you have an easy way to transfer images to your laptop or phone for optimal editing. These little hacks save time, and since your flatlays were shot in the same lighting and style, they’ll be more consistent.

Ultimately, getting the perfect flatlay involves practise, trial and error and a good set of props. The more compelling your photos are, the better opportunities you’ll find in the future.

Learn about food photography

We recommend looking for some beginners resources to learn more about food photography.

Our lovely blogger Emma from Essentially Emma decided to write an eBook to help other budding food photographers learn in an easy, concise way. Food to Photo is designed specifically for beginners and breaks down all the different aspects of photography in a simple way that is specific to food photography.

Food to Photo is designed specifically for beginners and breaks down all the different aspects of photography in a simple way that is specific to food photography.

It covers everything from gear to lighting, styling, editing and more. It even contains information specific for smartphone photographers, to help you take professional looking photos with your phone. Each chapter has an activity at the end to help you consolidate the information and put it in to practice.

Essential tools for getting started

Credits: Photo Backdrop Club


We recommend a premium vinyl backdrop for product and flat lay, food photography since spillage can happen often and ruin your shots. Also, vinyl backdrops are best to be carried around, and there are different styles to choose from depending on your style. Start with one first.

Check Photo Backdrop Club for some options

Lighting reflectors

Most people will get started by using a simple piece of white cardboard to bounce light into shadow. The next upgrade tends to be still quite affordable and comes in the form of light and collapsible reflectors. Gold warms up the picture, silver brighten the picture whilst black blocks out unwanted light.

See Also

Here’s an affordable reflector

Tripod for flat lays

A tripod for food photography will help us to capture sharp images. Camera shake is the biggest contributor to blurry or out of focus shots also having your hands free when shooting food photography or still life photography can help improve our compositions.

Starter tripod option


We recommend you heading to Etsy to have a look at our favourite presets. Presets are optimised for a range of purposes including flatlays, food photography, product photography or lifestyle photos. If you are not sure about how to install a preset, check our post on the matter.

As an example here’s a preset called Foodie 6 Food Presets

Choose a minimalist preset for products instead


If you are looking for more information about photography, we recommend you learn how to take photos and which are the best cameras for bloggers

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