The Serious Eats Guide to Food Photography

Taking great photographs of food is a hard-earned skill—after all, that’s why some people are lucky enough to get paid for it. But it’s also a lot easier to hone these days, no matter who you are; even a smartphone can yield gorgeous, high-quality images.

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Sure, professional cameras and lenses—provided you know how to use them—can make taking a great photo easier, but they’re by no means necessary to the process. Just think of all the amazing Instagram feeds out there. What separates magazine-worthy photos from their less impressive counterparts isn’t a fancy camera or expensive equipment. It’s an understanding of what it takes to compose an appealing image and the confidence to execute your vision.

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A great photograph is never a fluke—you may not know why it’s special or how you made it that way, but the fact remains that certain fundamentals still came together to make it happen. Details like composition, lighting, and styling, which apply regardless of whether you’re using a digital single lens reflex camera (DSLR), a simple point-and-shoot, or an iPhone.

The takeaway? There’s just some basic knowledge and practice standing between you and some seriously mouthwatering food photos. Read on or jump to one of the sections in our index to get started!

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