The 4 Ingredients of Food Photography

The image-food union is a long-standing association. If it is difficult to establish its beginning, we can certainly say that "eating with the eyes" is a practice that has reached its highest expression with contemporary photography. Nothing could be truer in a country like Italy where gastronomic richness is recognized as a symbol of excellence of Made in Italy all over the world.

Food photography is, for a professional photographer and those who work in the restaurant industry, an indispensable resource to enter the market and to put in place a good communication strategy that conveys corporate and personal brand identity. If the communicative power of photographic art is combined with the immediacy and effectiveness of social media such as Instagram and Pinterest, the revolution is done!

To try your hand at this what is considered a true art, you only need to know and master 4 basic ingredients:


Good use of light is perhaps the essential ingredient, the one without which the dish will not live up to the client's expectations. The ideal for food photography is natural light, as long as it is not direct. It is always best to use a diffuser (a simple sheet will perform the function best) between the light source and the center of the scene, so as to soften shadows and highlights and disperse the sun's rays to the desired spots.

Ideally, you should have a studio with a large window that illuminates the room, but sometimes you will find yourself working in dark, cramped quarters. In this case, the advice is to use flash: close, diffused light will give three-dimensionality to the plate


Unlike in photography tout court, in the field of food the preferable angle is from above, which is more flexible and impactful, and allows the geometry and care of the setting to stand out. Ideal for telling stories on social media, it is preferable when, in addition to the dish, you also want to tell about the set: the table and the set of geometries composed of tableware and details, when present.

The right angle, on the other hand, the famous straight on, is great if the subject to be photographed is spread out in height, a dimension much appreciated by chefs. Absolutely avoid, on the other hand, diagonal shots and slopes that would create an uninteresting visual effect. Remember: always keep the horizon line fixed!


The importance of color matching in the representation of food was already known to Caravaggio, author of the "Fruit Basket," the first known work in which food is not an accessory but the absolute protagonist of the canvas. From canvas to pixels, color and texture matching define the aesthetics of food photography. Creating a consistent color palette and matching foods with similar textures (smooth, woody, jagged, etc.) will make your shots true works of art.


Choosing as a background a surface that suits the dish, not only chromatically but also thematically, can prove to be the detail that makes the difference. Using a wooden base rather than a stone wall will also allow you to enhance the context in which the dish is placed, adding originality and uniqueness to the shot. But remember, as with interior photography, the "less is more" rule applies. The undisputed protagonist is the food, so prefer a shot that is as unobstructed as possible. Word to the plate!

These were the 4 basic ingredients recommended by Wesual for taking the best photos of a dish. If you are a restaurateur and need professional photos, we at Wesual are the right partner for you! Comment below or write us on our social media!

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