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12 Ways To Make Better Food Photographs

Find your style: Shoot what you enjoy. Experiment with lighting, lens, shooting positions, subjects and situations until you find a style that expresses how you feel about food. Credit: Copyright David Hagerman

Find your style: Shoot what you enjoy. Experiment with lighting, lens, shooting positions, subjects and situations until you find a style that expresses how you feel about food. Credit: Copyright David Hagerman

How many times have you been inspired to photograph a dish only to find that the image captured on your camera’s LCD screen is nowhere near as beautiful, or appetizing, as the dish sitting in front of you? Unwilling to give up you shoot another, and another — until your dinner companion, or a waiter, taps you on the shoulder and says, “You better eat that before it gets cold.”

Great food photography is mostly about technique, and with a little practice you can master the basics. Once you’ve developed technical skills, add inspiration and passion (because every photographer should love his or her subject). You’ll be amazed at the results.

To advance your food photographs, check out the slideshow.

More Zester Daily stories with slideshows from David Hagerman:

» A professional’s tips for shooting photos of markets

» The heart of Lao cuisine

» Food and the open flame

» Endangered Thai treasure

Main photo: Find your style: Shoot what you enjoy. Experiment with lighting, lens, shooting positions, subjects and situations until you find a style that expresses how you feel about food. Credit: Copyright David Hagerman



Penang, Malaysia-based American photographer David Hagerman shoots food and travel for Saveur, the New York Times Travel Section, Wall Street Journal Asia, SBS Feast and other publications. Over the past year he has been photographing in home kitchens and traditional bakeries for the cookbook "Istanbul and Beyond,'' forthcoming from Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. When not on assignment, David teaches food and travel photography workshops in Turkey and Asia. Follow him on Instagram at @DaveHagerman.

4 COMMENTS
  • David Latt 2·17·15

    Lovely photographs and excellent advice, explained clearly. Thanks! Now if only it were possible to taste what the photographs show so clearly (without traveling to Malaysia!).

  • Julia della Croce 2·20·15

    Great lessons, David!

  • Joy Rosal-Sumagaysay 2·21·15

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge David. Hope to enroll in one of your workshops someday.

  • David 2·21·15

    Hi Joy – Thanks for stopping by. I hope you can join a future workshop. Stay tuned!

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