7 Tips for Great Food Photos without Fancy equipment + a Giveaway

A while ago I wrote about my experience at a professional food photography shoot, when Hanna asked for tips on how to take great food pictures without having a studio or owning tons of pretty props. So I want to share 6 tips with you today that I’ve found helpful myself for getting some professional and great looking food photos without any fancy equipment. This post goes hand in hand with another post on food photography I wrote a while ago.

1. Learn the basics. Start to learn as much as you can about photography - composition, light, framing, focusing, etc. You won’t be able to take great food photos without mastering the basics of photography.

2. Collect props. You might not have millions of plates, cutlery, towels, and other props - but I’m sure you do have some. Start with what you have and make good use of it. Whenever you see something that you think would work well, keep it. This doesn’t mean you have to buy stuff, sometimes you already own a prop that you just didn’t think you could use for a food photography shoot. Keep your eyes open, it could be anything from an old piece of fabric to a bowl you’ve kept jewellery in before.

3. Get inspired & learn from others. What do you like about certain food photos? Have a look on Pinterest, and create a board with your favourite food images. What attracts your eye? Is it the styling? Or the colours? Or the type of food? Do what they do.

4. Find what works for you. Find the best spot in your home to shoot in - it will probably be somewhere by a window, as there’s lots of light. The same goes for backdrops and anything else - find whatever works best for you, and keep doing it. E.g. get some wood and paint it white (or whatever colour you prefer), and use it as your ‘go-to’ backdrop.

5. Always shoot in good light conditions! Shoot during the day, and use natural light.

6. Be creative. Experiment. Play. This one is similar to tip number 2 - you might not think of a certain prop or backdrop in relation to food photography, but be as creative as you possibly can be. Here’s an example: I sometimes use a wardrobe door that I can easily take off, and place it on the floor as a backdrop - who would have thought a wardrobe door could come in handy for a food photography shoot?
It’s the same with styling - rearrange, play around with your props, have fun. When I shot the muffins in this post for example, I tried lots of different options - I used different coloured towels, put the muffins on a plate, … you never know what works (or doesn’t work) until you try.

7. Edit your photos. Please do! Edit your photos! You’ll be surprised at how much of a difference it makes.

It all comes back to basics and making the most of what you have. Be creative.
I hope these tips help. If you want to read more about my thoughts on food photography, check out this feature on Shutterhub.

Shutterhub are also giving away a free one year membership to their site which let’s you create your own portfolio, be part of their community, and showcase your work in exhibitions. To enter simply comment and let me know your biggest problem when it comes to food photography (or anything else you’re struggling with in photography, if photographing food isn’t your thing).
The giveaway closes on 16 April at 11.59pm GMT, I’ll randomly draw a winner.

AND, Shutterhub are also offering 50% off their one year membership, if you want to create your portfolio right now - just sign up by 20 April and enter the discount code HELENA50.
Thank you Shutterhub team for being so generous!

P.S. I used this muffin recipe and slightly adapted it.


  1. my biggest problem is the light, when I shoot indoors.

  2. 'Get some wood and paint it white and use it as your ‘go-to’ backdrop.' What an eye opener! I've been wanting a nice white backdrop for ages =) Thanks!

  3. A great post Helena. I guess the hardest part I find is the backdrop, and finding somewhere uncluttered enough! Your photos are fantastic, and it's lovely to read your tips, thank you.

  4. I'm don't take food photos but these tips also helps a lot for the people who take pictures of beauty products and other things.

    Thank you so much!


  5. Great post! I'm definitely going to try out your suggestions. My biggest problem is finding the right light and using it correctly.

  6. My biggest problem in photography is light. If I don''t have good light it is hard to take a good picture, cause my camera's iso isn't amazing. It can only go up to 1600.

  7. Lovely post Helena! These are such great tips and I'm really glad you liked the muffin recipe. Yours turned out beautifully! xxx

  8. My biggest problem is working out where to take the shot and making the food look as good in photography as in 'real life'. Plus not just giving up and eating the food before I have finished! :-)

  9. Like so many others, my problem is the light. I only get daylight at the weekends, which isn't realistic for me as I often want to photograph the meals I prepare during the week. Frustrating! I am thinking of getting a light box - do you have any experience of those?

  10. Good advice - though I always feel that I lack in the props departement, one always want something new..! :-)

  11. My problem is not being able to get that cool, rustic look! I always lean towards simple, matte and light and I would love to be able to create that. Hopefully one day. When I get my hands on Photoshop :((

  12. I'm sure that using natural light is KEY. I love these tips! I've been thinking about doing more recipes on the blog, so I'll be checking this checklist when I shoot. =]

  13. I am having trouble bringing it all come together. I want it to look meaningful, natural, and intriguing but it seems to look forced or silly. And light. We need more natural day light.

  14. My trouble is post processing. I find it difficult to adjust the lighting - the brightness and exposure to make the picture look more natural!

    - Chaitra | PinkPot

  15. Since I usually want to photograph something I prepared in the evening, I find the light isn't so great. Now if my breakfast was more interesting, that would solve my problem!

  16. My biggest problem is that I really only cook at night when I don't have natural lighting! Our kitchen lighting makes the food looks so yellow.

  17. Wow!! I came across your blog and I instantly fell in love with your photography!!! My trouble is the light and photo editing but I am working on it!!!

  18. You are so generous! I just love finding beautiful and artistic freebies like this. They really brighten up my day, thank you!