Different Types of Food Photography

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Before capturing that perfect shot, the photographers often ask you to dress up and smile for the camera. When it comes to food photography, it’s almost the same. They either style the food themselves or have another person, a food stylist, to do it. The food is prepared and composed before taking that irresistible shot. These images may appear in newspapers, magazines, or a menu card of a restaurant.

Whatever the purpose of food photography is, food styling will make food look fresh, tempting, and appealing for the photograph. However, food styling will entirely depend on where the image is used.

A tempting food shot on the cover of a cookbook can enhance the sales. Moreover, in a restaurant menu, the photos of the food can tempt the customer to order a specific dish. Here the food stylist plays a vital role in visualizing the various elements that make a dish appealing. A good food photograph will be more than just a visual aspect. It conveys more information to the customers and communicates directly with their senses.

Different Types of Food Photography


As the name goes, the food photographs clicked for this purpose will be used in cookbooks, recipe books, magazines, newspapers, and other editorials. This kind of food styling and photography is quite popular and one of the favorites of many food photographers. There is simply no limit to creativity in editorial food photography and styling. The photographs used in editorials are often about the recipe, or the cooking-related products, or the raw ingredients used in the method. It provides the stylists and the food photographers the freedom to think and imagine beyond limits. They can make use of all kinds of props available, depending on the brand guidelines. Lighting plays a significant role in editorial food photography, as is the case with any style of photography. Since the photos are printed on paper, the image quality needs to be excellent.


This type of food styling appears in newspaper or magazine

advertisements. The food photos thus clicked are also used for menus, brochures, flyers, and billboards. The food stylists can utilize the props and other supporting objects in a creative manner. Since the stylists are required to work with the ad agency or marketing team, the accessories and visual direction are provided by the company. The stylist tries to understand the client’s requirement and briefing and work towards using the appropriate color, props, and visuals based on the storyboard. Whatever accessories or techniques they use, the result should convey the brand value with the product shot. The quality of the image again needs to be very high as these pictures may be used on billboards and ads in magazines.

Packaging and Labeling

We are exposed to food packaging in our daily lives and often skip to notice the effort put in by the food stylists and photographers to take that food shot displayed on the packaging. Whether it’s a breakfast cereal or the frozen processed food that we buy almost every day, we are often tempted by looking at the food photo on the packaging. It needs to show whatever the customer gets inside the packaging.

Legal technicalities are also involved in this type of photography. This kind of food photography and styling is quite technical. It requires the stylists to have particular technical know-how and follow the meticulous details about the food being photographed. The props used must not overshadow the main product. It should be presented clearly in the best possible light. Because the photo is used in the package of the food product, it must clearly show what is inside the box.

TV or Film

Here the food stylists and photographers need to work with the creative director or an art director. Unlike the types mentioned above, this involves a very different approach where the food needs to look natural as well as edible. It is more of food videography than still photography. The food photographers or stylists need to work directly on the sets and need to understand the concept or idea behind the shot. This kind of motion food styling is quite challenging as the stylists need to be ready with as much food used in the shooting as possible, plus it needs to be as identical as possible. The quantity of the food used depends upon the takes and re-takes required for a particular scene.

Stock Photography

This type of food photography has gained hype among both professional and food photography enthusiasts. It is a brilliant way to a modest income. The food stylists can style the food in as many ways as possible and can click the photos with a DSLR. The images that are not used for a commissioned shoot can be submitted to a stock agency. The stock agencies will again look for good quality images to pay a reasonable sum of money. Therefore, using a good camera is recommended for such type of food photography. Moreover, keeping an ISO at 100 and minimum editing can help you to contribute to a premium or a custom stock agency like Shutterstock custom. There are many premium stock agencies.

Websites, Blogs, and eBooks

This kind is quite similar to editorial photography and styling. This kind does not require many props and can be quickly done with the least number of props and lighting. The quality of the food photos has to be reasonably good in this case. Natural light is mostly the preferred method for bloggers, websites, and ebooks since the setup is simple. Using the best direction of light, and the timing of the day, it’s possible to get a beautiful image without a lot of expensive equipment. A north-facing window generally has the best lighting for food photography.

Teena Agnel is a renowned food stylist and photographer in Dubai. She has the skills and expertise when it comes to food photography and styling. She keeps herself updated with the latest food photography trends.

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