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Photo Contest Insider Blog

5 Tips for Getting Started in Food Photography

February 1, 2018

Have you ever wanted to try your hand at food photography? There are plenty of professional photographers making a living from this industry, so we thought we’d share our five tips for getting started with food photography today!

While becoming a reputable and paid food photographer won’t happen overnight, it’s certainly something you can work towards over the next few weeks and months to make happen. So, whether you’re seeking a change in careers, want to add another field of photography to your skill set, or simply just love food – keep reading!

Know Your Food

While you don’t need to become as knowledgeable about cuisine as Jamie Oliver, it certainly helps to at least have an interest in food. After all, you’ll want to know what you’re photographing. When people are passionate about certain topics or areas, they find themselves turning a ‘job’ into something they’d happily jump out of bed for.

In order to brush up on your food skills, ensure that you embrace the role it plays in our lives. Make it a habit to eat at a new restaurant once a week or dedicate more time to looking through cookbooks. There are also plenty of food related documentaries, podcasts, or magazines you can incorporate into your daily schedule to quickly educate (and inspire) yourself.

Master your Camera

Let’s be honest. Unless you understand how to use your camera properly, then your photography will never be at the level required to truly become a pro. This is why’s it’s very important to focus on mastering how to take a great photo first, especially before you start marketing your paid services to others.

Thankfully, there are plenty of courses – both online and in-person – that will help you to do just that! You can also immerse yourself in endless YouTube videos, photographer Facebook groups, eBooks, and photography meet-ups to brush up on your camera skills.

Focus on Composition and Styling

Anyone can take a quick photo of their lunch, but it takes a food photographer to truly make that photo shine. There’s a lot more to food photography than meets the eye, and people often forget just how much styling and composition planning goes into achieving the perfect shot.

This is why it’s a great idea to practice these two elements in relation to food photography as much as you can. Use every chance possible to plan your best food photo yet and soon you’ll have a portfolio filled with beautiful and eye-catching shots that make companies want to employ you! Which brings us to the next point…

Add to Your Portfolio

When you’re serious about breaking into food photography, you’ll need a stunning portfolio to match. After all, the aim here is to begin getting paid for your work, but the only way you can do this is by impressing potential clients. In the beginning, you’ll want to be setting time aside each day or week to practice your food photography – even if these images never make it to your portfolio or social media. It’s true what they say, practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to test out different angles, focal points, backgrounds, compositions, or camera settings. After a while, you start to know what works and what simply doesn’t, helping you to build a portfolio that’s cohesive and shows you’re a pro!

Build Related Contacts

While some food photographers have mastered all areas of their craft, many choose to collaborate with others in the field to take their work to wonderful heights. That’s why it can be extremely beneficial to get to know others within the industry, including food stylists, photo retouchers, and more.

Additionally, you’ll want to start networking with people such as restaurant owners, food bloggers, recipe website editors, and more. These careers all require the services of a food photographer on many occasions, if not, full-time! Remember, sometimes it’s not about what you know, but who you know, so building relationships with related contacts ensures you always have a foot in the door.

You can easily search for foodie networking events in your city on Google, plus you can use the platform to find food stylists, bloggers, and more within your local area. Why not send them a friendly email asking to grab a coffee together and discuss all things food-related? You’ve got nothing to lose!

There you have it – our five tips for getting started in food photography! Are you hoping to break into the food photography industry this year? Best of luck to you if you are!

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