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Food Photography Tips for Food Bloggers


Food Photography Tips for Food Bloggers | Nutrition Stripped

Interested in starting a food blog, blogging in general, or just want to learn how to take great food pictures for your Instagram? I share my tips I’ve learned since I started the NS Blog here!

To get the basics, hop over to this post for my Top 5 Tips for Starting a Food Blog — I’m so happy that it helped you, I got a flood of emails and kind comments about how it was a simple and straightforward advice post for starting your blog. Many of you followed up and were asking about food photography, especially after I shared my “before and after”; so today I’m sharing with you all Food Photography Tips for Food Bloggers:

Make, shoot, eat.


I know this isn’t something many of you want to hear because it takes a lot of time, hard work, and effort to practice photography, but I promise you this is the only way you’ll hone in on your own style, craft, and skills. Use this time to also experiment, play around with lighting, colors, backgrounds, food styling, and anything else that calls to you as a style you enjoy.


You don’t have to get over-ambitious and order tons of expensive equipment but be mindful of what pieces of equipment are going to be the most fruitful for your work. For example, when I first starting blogging I was using an iPhone 4 with phone editing software and uploading it into the blog, it looked like a mess and the start but this was the natural progression of practicing. My first major piece of equipment was my Canon Rebel DSLR with a 100mm lens. I’ve evolved greatly in my photography but also my editorial needs, therefore, my equipment had a massive upgrade. Here are my favorites:


  1. My first camera was the Canon DSLR Rebel. I used this for the first 3 years of blogging, it’s easy to use and a great first camera.
  2. My second camera is the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens. This is the king of cameras, it’s insanely efficient, the quality is the best I’ve ever seen, video capabilities, wi-fi connection to my laptop and iPhone for quick edits, and so much more. This is definitely an investment but so worth it – I love it and see myself using this for the next 5+ years.
  3. My on-the-go camera and video Vlogging camera is the Canon Powershot G7 X Mark II Digital Camera 


  1. With the Canon DSLR Rebel, I shot primarily with a 50mm or 100mm. Other options are the Canon macro 60mm lens to get really great up close and detailed shots or and Canon 24-70mm Zoom lens
  2. With the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, I use a couple: EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens  and my baby Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens. This one is an investment lens, but it has produced the best shots I’ve ever taken so much so that it’s cut my post-editing time down by half.


For the longest time I was a bit stubborn or maybe it was too resourceful and would do all overhead shots handheld. If you’ve ever tried that, it can be so hard to keep the shot steady. You need stability for crisp shots! So, I invested and use these tripods to make my life so much easier:

  1. Mini tripod for handheld camera use (like when I Vlog), the JOBY gorilla 
  2. Tripod for overhead and in general if I’m filming myself on the Mark IV, the manfrotto. This was is awesome because it’s easy for me to put together by myself and it has an overhead pole!


  1. Memory card! This is a must-have, you need storage and the worst thing to happen is when you’re in the flow of a shoot and you’ve run out of memory. SanDisk 64GB Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I Memory Card and the 16GB is what I use.
  2. Hard drive: it’s imperative that you back up your work, I have about 5 hard drives running on my iMac at all times to back up my backups! I like this G drive for portable use (when I’m on the go), and this G drive is my big guy that’s attached to my desktop all the time backing up on Time Machine.
  3. Batteries to stay charged up. I use Watson LP-E6N Lithium-Ion Battery Pack (7.2V, 1900mAh) for my Mark IV


I use a lot to edit. From loading images to my computer, to editing the actual photo, to drawing on top of it. I use the following:

  1. Lightroom for primary editing with filters. I like the VSCO filters for LR
  2. Photoshop for adding text to images, massive editing, collages, etc.
  3. Drawing tablet. This isn’t for everyone, but having an art background I like to draw right on top of my images and in the computer, I use this Wacom Intuos Draw CTL490DW Digital Drawing and Graphics Tablet


Find the best light you like to work with. For me, I only use natural lighting partially because it yields the most beautiful images in my opinion, but it’s also because I’m lazy and don’t want to fuss with artificial lighting. Here’s my tip, take a day to just play around with your camera and a bowl of fruit- take that bowl of fruit around your house or studio during different times of days and shot at different angles, make note of the time of day that produces the best quality shot in your opinion. Because let’s face it, it’s YOUR work, your photography and it doesn’t matter what you “think” it should look like. It’s art and it’s personal so have fun with it.


Experiment with different food props like utensils, plates, bowls, cutting boards, backdrops, etc.; and use what fits your unique style. The more that you find your own style and own it, the more your readers will enjoy reading your blog and be able to identify your work from a group of images. This cycles back to my whole philosophy of “be yourself, everyone else is already taken”. A couple of my favorite resources for food props West Elm, Sur La Table, craft stores, flea markets, your own home!


You’re writing a food blog, guess what, you kind of have to make the food look “extra” special and styled. As much as I have fun with styling food, when it comes to actually eating these recipes that I make and remake again, I don’t style them. We eat with our eyes and if you’re encouraging your reader to enjoy the recipe you’ve made, you’ll need to play around with food styling to make it look it’s best!

Resources to help you with food styling:

More blogging posts…

I hope that helps get you started! Comment below with any other questions you have about food photography and I’ll make a part II if needed!

xx McKel

*this blog post has been updated, 10/2017

Share your thoughts

  • Thanks for sharing your great tips! I’ve always loved your photos, so it’s great to see what goes into them 🙂 I’ve actually got 2 questions for you:
    1. Do you have a marble countertop you shoot on, or is it a portable slab?
    2. I’d love to see your setup for shooting-could you post or send a photo?

    • I have both a marble table and a small slab that I use to move around with for natural lighting purposes and if you follow me on snapchat I’m always posting behind the scenes videos! I may even dive into doing some YouTube videos about how I shoot if that’s interesting for you all?!

      • yes! Thanks! I’ll follow you on snap 🙂

  • Well, I think I love you McKel. 😀 you were actually the one who gave me the kick in the arse to finally start what I’ve been dreaming about for month. I’m so thankful for this! You’re such inspiring to me and your advices are always helpful. I would really like to get some tips to receive more viewer on my blog. Hopefully this will be something you will tell in your next post. Love, Kathi

    • I’m so glad it helped Kathi! Thank you for the kind words! It’s fun to practice and get into your own groove and find your style 😉

  • Love these tips! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Thank your for sharing so generously all your knowledge with newbies like me. Highly appreciated!!!

  • Thank you so much for sharing these tips! Like you, I am starting with an iphone and I am really finding the photography to be the most frustrating thing with blogging. I WANT high quality images, but I just can’t get them with the equipment I have. I would definitely be interested in youtube videos of you working in action!!

  • Hi McKel Thanks for these tips. I totally agree with you about taking photos right after you make your food. It’s been really hard for me to learn how to use my Iphone 5 to take beautiful shots but everytime I eat something I want on my blog I take pictures before I sit down and have my own meal. I can definately see my progress and I look forward to having a place with more natural light and having money to buy a nice camera. Until then keep the tips going and please visit my blog I would love your feedback if you have some time! Cheers Lauryn

    • Well said! It just takes time and a lot of practice, but that’s the best thing about it- you’ll never “perfect” it, it’s always changing

  • Great tips, thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • Alyssa

    Thank you so much for sharing this!!! It’s so helpful. I am just getting started as a health coach and with starting my blog (also here in Nashville 🙂 ), photographing has most definitely been the most frustrating part. This has helped me narrow it down and getting a couple of the books you suggest has also been super helpful. Thanks so much again!

  • sana

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write up this post in so much detail.

    I absolutely love your blog and its design. do you mind sharing if this is a wordpress theme or how you went about designing this blog. its just so clean , bright and visual <3

    • You’re so welcome Sana, that’s what I’m here for! I love connecting with you guys so thank YOU 😉

  • Maggie

    Wow! So much in love with your blog! Is there any books/websites/blogs themselves that you would recommend?

  • Megha

    You have wonderful blog with aw-some photographs. You are also generous with sharing your photography learning. I aim to learn through viewing your drool worthy clicks.

    • McKel Hill

      You’re so kind, thank you Megha! So happy you’re here in the NS community 🙂

  • Pingback: Foodtography Research()


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