I wish I had a list of food photography resources for beginners when I first started in food photography because honestly, I didn’t have a clue. With a basic Samsung mobile phone, I’d point and shoot and hoped for the best. I might as well have had my eyes closed! If you’re in food photography, and you are thinking about ways to improve, here are my seven must-have resources that will help you get streets ahead.
Food photography resources for beginners I wish I had when I started
I first played around with food photography about three years ago. I would put my food out on a plate, make it look kind of pretty – and snap. Sometimes I would add a filter, but that was pretty much it.
I had no idea about lighting, how to use and manipulate natural light, how to position my food, how to style it, how to edit my pictures. I knew very little about cameras. Everything I know now has been trial and error. Believe me, I have made lots of mistakes on my food photography journey.
Get started with these food photography resources for beginners
If you are starting out on your food photography journey, I’m here to give you a helping hand. Take a look at my curated list of food photography resources to get you on your way.
1. Challenge yourself with a food photography challenge
A food photography challenge is a great way to improve your skills. It helps you focus on a theme, a subject matter or a technique. You also get to see some incredible images from other amazing food photographers. Along the way, you can pick up Instagram followers. Instagram food photography challenges are a great way of helping to plan content.
There are so many food photography challenges at the moment, but these are my absolute favourites.
Eat Capture Share food photography challenge
Vegan food blogger and food photographer Kimberly Espinel runs this food photography challenge. The three-week challenge has three themes per week. The challenge is well organised and each week you are sent detailed notes and inspirational Pinterest mood boards. There are external judges and free Instagram tutorials. It like doing a mini-course, for free.
The Food Capture Collective
The Food Capture Collective run a monthly #monthlytechniquecollab, each one focuses on a photographic technique to help hone your skills. There’s a private Instagram group that runs alongside the challenge with tips to help with your creations. What I like about this challenge is that it runs for a month and you can go at our own pace, while absorbing fellow participants creativity.
On Our Creative Table
#onourcreativetable is another monthly Instagram challenge. Again each month a theme is selected and you can submit your image along with the hashtag. There’s free reign in terms of creativity and you’ll be submitting our work alongside skilled photographers from around the world.
2. Get your hands on How to Photograph Food by Bea Lubus
Bea Lubus is another amazing food photographer. She’s got an amazing Instagram feed that I can spend hours getting lost in. She’s distilled all her knowledge and talent and dropped it into her new book, How to Photograph Food. The book starts with the basics and walks you through all aspects of food photography. What I love is the Bea talks about the mindset you need for a creative career. If you’re venturing into food photography, this is essential reading at £25.
3. Go and grab yourself a Foodie Bag
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In collaboration with phone photographer @matt_inwood Inwood and stylist Sophie Purser we have created a very special bag for those who enjoy combining a love of food with a passion for photography. If you enjoy styling and sharing your breakfast, lunch and dinner creations on social media, then #TheFoodieBag is just the thing for you. Inside our handsome bag you’ll find all you need to create beautiful photos of your food. #makingbagsbeautiful #bagsforlife #foodiebag #cottonbags #canvasbags #canvasbag #printedbags #ditchtheplastic
I was recently sent a Foodie Bag. Created by the Cotton Bag Company, The Foodie Bag is a great idea if you are getting into food photography, or you are a food blogger who is out and about reviewing and photographing food on the go. The Foodie Bag contains a mini diffuser – to help you manage the light around your food. It also contains four vinyl, wipe-clean backdrops by Black Velvet Styling. In the bag, you will also find ten beautiful postcards, with tips on the reverse of each explaining how to use light, think about composition, choose your background and much, much more. These have been created by renowned phone photographer Matt Inwood. It’s a steal at £39.95 incl P&P.
4. Light up your images with Lightroom
This is one of my favourite food photography apps. I have the full pro version but if you are starting out, then you can create some great images with the free version designed for the mobile phone photography. This little app will help you adjust the exposure, contrast and fine-tune your colours to create a photo that pops and lights up your Instagram feed. The mobile version is free, paid for subscriptions start at £9.99 a month.
5. Up your Instagram game with Planoly
Once you get into Instagram you realise it’s all about your feed, and your grid. There’s a lot of art in curating your feed. What I love about Planoly is that you can start to plan your grid and feed, schedule in advance your posts (great for me!). It tells you the best time to post – when your people are hanging out on Instagram. And you can store your favourite hashtags. There are plenty of tutorials on curating a great feed – these are worth taking a look. There’s both a free version and a pro version. The free version has pretty much everything you need to start with to create a beautiful need. The pro version starts from £7 per month.
6. Eat up the free resources with the Bite Shot
Joanie Simon is an amazing woman. She has an amazing YouTube channel which is filled with free tutorials on every aspect of food photography. It doesn’t matter whether you are starting out and want to learn the basics. Alternatively, if you are advanced, and want to push your creativity further, there’s a tutorial for you. This is where you’ll find me, soaking up Joanie’s amazing knowledge. If you want to get into food photography then subscribe to the Bite Shot, yes it’s totally free.
7. Take the plunge and do a course
I’ve taken at least four food photography workshops and courses. After each one, I have learned so much more and really grown in my art and my creative thought. If you really want to progress in food photography then it’s time to make the investment in your creativity. There are so many courses and workshops to choose from. I can highly recommend the Online Food Styling, Food Photography and Visual Story Telling eCourse run by vegan food blogger Kimberly Espinel. You can read my review here. Courses start at £249.