6 tips to improve your food styling & photography

I started taking pictures of my food (and other people’s ??) well before I started a blog, and even before Instagram was a thing. Obviously, the obsession’s only gotten worse since then.

So trust me when I say, I understand how difficult it can be to make food look beautiful. Making things tasty is quite a challenge in itself, but making it look good is even harder.

But, whether you’re an avid food blogger yourself, or a teeny-tiny bit addicted to Instagram, sometimes, making home-cooked dishes look supermodel-perfect in front of the camera does matter.

If you’re not sure where to start, below are a few easy tips* to up your food styling & photography game (and achieve that drool-worthy shot every time!)

1. Get inspired

When you’re eating out, flicking through your favourite food mag or reading your favourite food blogs, take note of what looks appealing and what doesn’t.

Salted Caramel Brownies | Cake + Whisky

As for any form of art, there’s a lot you can pick up from looking at and analysing other people’s work.

Angles,composition, props… there’s so much going into a beautiful food pictures and finding what makes you hungry is the first step to being able to create that feeling in your own pictures.

I like to save my favourite pictures onto a Pinterest board so I can refer to it for inspiration or for times I struggle to put things together.

2. Tell the story of the dish through its picture

As the proverb goes, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, which is why you should try to let the picture express as much as possible about the dish it features.

Food Styling Tips

An easy way to do that is to feature some of the ingredients in their whole, pre-cooked shape in the picture.

Autumnal Hazelnut Torte recipe | Cake + Whisky

Another way to go about it is to include elements that inspired the recipe, the way food stylist Mademoiselle Poirot did, including cobnuts, autumn leaves and even garden scissors in the styling of this autumnal hazelnut torte at an event I recently attended.

Food Styling Tips

No matter what you go for, make sure you keep your props, colors, and serving sizes consistent with the atmosphere the dish is meant to evoke, and that you get a few ‘in progress’ shots as well as they’re often more inviting than the final set.

3. Favour natural light

There’s nothing better than natural light when it comes to food photography.

Quinoa Fried Rice

Now, I know that can be a little bit tricky at times (looking at you, night-at-4-PM-November!), but it truly is worth it. Ideally, you want the light to come from a large-ish window, from the side of your frame.

It’s best to take a few test shots around your flat/house until you find the best spot for you to settle in for ultimate results!

4. Let’s get messy!

Pouring, dripping, overflowing… sometimes, a little mess is all you need to take your picture to the next delicious level!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Pancakes | Cake + Whisky

Melting ice cream, crumbled up cookies, pancakes dripping with syrup… in many cases, a bit of a mess communicates movement, dynamism, and the pleasure of eating.

So if it makes you hungry, get messy (just keep in mind you’ll also be the one cleaning it up later though!)

5. Use a tripod

Angle, composition, movement, and possibly a bit of pouring action on the side… food photography is serious work and more often than not, two hands are simply not enough.

Curried Cauliflower Salad | Cake + Whisky

A tripod is an unexpensive piece of equipment (I payed about £30 for mine) that’s well worth investing in as it will make your job much easier!

6.  An extra set of hands (or several) is always good

Even with a tripod, I find it much easier to control the outcome if I’m not trying to balance everything up all by myself.

Food styling tips

Whether it’s to sprinkle icing sugar on top of your latest GBBO-worthy masterpiece or to help you polish it all off post-photography, an extra steady pair of hands, fresh eyes and tastebuds are the very best tool you could have on your food styling & photography set!

*This article & tips were inspired by an event I recently attended with Curry’s and Neff but wasn’t in any way sponsored and all words, pictures and opinion my own.

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6 tips to improve your food styling & photography

Postcard from Paris – Bleu, Blanc, Rouge

(Just a quick ‘postcard from Paris’-type post today while I unpack my bags & go through my pictures, but expect a lot more of French-flavoured content coming to Cake + Whisky very soon!)

Bleu. Blanc. Rouge.

Blue for honour, white for purity, red for passion. Blue for the king, white for light, red for blood.

And of course, blue skies, white cheese and red wine!

Bleu, Blanc, Rouge in Paris | Cake + WhiskyBleu, Blanc, Rouge in Paris | Cake + WhiskyBleu, Blanc, Rouge in Paris | Cake + Whisky

As it happens, blue and red are also the time-honored colors of Paris, while white is the color of the Royal House of Bourbon (including Louis XIV, XV & XVI, whose reigns have fundamentaly marked the French capital).

Bleu, Blanc, Rouge in Paris | Cake + WhiskyBleu, Blanc, Rouge in Paris | Cake + WhiskyBleu, Blanc, Rouge in Paris | Cake + Whisky

No wonder then that blue, white and red are everywhere in Paris… especially on Bastille Day!

Bleu, Blanc, Rouge in Paris | Cake + WhiskyBleu, Blanc, Rouge in Paris | Cake + WhiskyBleu, Blanc, Rouge in Paris | Cake + Whisky

France may have lost the Euros, and we may have had the saddest of Bastille Day, but the tricolore colours still shine high and proud. Love will prevail.

Together with blue skies, white cheese & red wine, of course!

Postcard from Paris – Bleu, Blanc, Rouge

Christmas is coming to town

? ‘Tis the season. ?

The fairy lights twinkling all over town, the red cups, the smell of cinnamon in the air…

Nothing makes London quite as pretty as Christmas sneaking its way into town!

But the proof is in the pudding pictures, so here we go!

Christmas in London | Cake + Whisky Continue reading “Christmas is coming to town”

Christmas is coming to town

Postcard from London | Sunny days and lovely doors

I spent most of last weekend walking around London (partly because I was desperate for ice cream, partly because I had nothing better to do). It was so nice and sunny, I couldn’t resist clicking a thousand pictures. Most of which were of doors. #WeirdObsessions

Cake + Whisky | A walk around London | Sunny Days & Pretty DoorsThese Repetto ballerinas are the best investment I have EVER made!Cake + Whisky | A walk around London | Sunny Days & Pretty DoorsCake + Whisky | A walk around London | Sunny Days & Pretty DoorsCake + Whisky | A walk around London | Sunny Days & Pretty DoorsDream house window shopping.
Cake + Whisky | A walk around London | Sunny Days & Pretty DoorsI love the superposition effect here. You?Cake + Whisky | A walk around London | Sunny Days & Pretty DoorsOh, hello there!Cake + Whisky | A walk around London | Sunny Days & Pretty DoorsCake + Whisky | A walk around London | Sunny Days & Pretty DoorsBricks are also an obsession of mine btw.Cake + Whisky | A walk around London | Sunny Days & Pretty DoorsMore lions.Cake + Whisky | A walk around London | Sunny Days & Pretty DoorsCovent Garden looking mighty fine in the sun!Cake + Whisky | A walk around London | Sunny Days & Pretty DoorsUp, up and away?

Postcard from London | Sunny days and lovely doors

Postcard from Brighton

I ❤ Brighton.

I know I keep talking about how much I love living in London, but there’s this little spot in my heart for cities on the seaside.Cake + Whisky | Postcard from BrightonCake + Whisky | Postcard from BrightonCake + Whisky | Postcard from BrightonCake + Whisky | Postcard from BrightonI always want to bring all the pebbles home. I’m such a kid. Cake + Whisky | Postcard from BrightonCake + Whisky | Postcard from BrightonCake + Whisky | Postcard from BrightonCake + Whisky | Postcard from BrightonCake + Whisky | Postcard from BrightonCake + Whisky | Postcard from BrightonSomeone KNITTED the Royal Pavilion. How crazy is that? Cake + Whisky | Postcard from BrightonThe said-pavilion is really worth a look, it looks so strange and out of place, but so pretty at the same time.
Cake + Whisky | Postcard from BrightonCake + Whisky | Postcard from BrightonBut Brighton’s not all about the beach. What I was most impressed by was the new breed of creative, socially- and environmentally-responsible businesses that have popped-up since the last time I visited. Double thumbs-up to Silo, hisBe and BlueBird Tea Co for all their hard-work and proving it can be done. I left very inspired. 👍👍Cake + Whisky | Postcard from BrightonWhat’s your favourite thing to see/eat/do in Brighton? Already looking for things to do on my next visit!

Postcard from Brighton

#FiftyChefs: The Hands that feed London | Photography | Shoreditch

I grew up in a family where food was very very important. It was never just fuel. Food is social. It’s an import  moment in the day where you should get together with friends, family or someone else.” says Michel Roux Jr on the introductory picture of Fifty Chefs: The Hands That feed London.

From that moment on, I knew I’d love it. 50 or so chefs, facing the objective of the talented Katie Wilson, revealing how they came to cooking and showing how a lifetime behind the pots and pans has changed them. Showing their scars, reminding us that despite it looking like a very glamourous choice of carreer, life in a kitchen is tough, loud, tiring. But in the honest eyes and the tired smiles, each one of them still shows that cooking is their life and no matter how hard, they wouldn’t exchange it for the world.

Cake + Whisky | #FiftyChefs Exibition | PhotographyCake + Whisky | #FiftyChefs Exibition | PhotographySome of the UK’s top chefs and some not-so-well-known, yet still top-knotch restauranteurs.Cake + Whisky | #FiftyChefs Exibition | PhotographyI especially liked reading about Nuno Mendes‘ (of the Chiltern Firehouse fame) tatoos (and how they remind him where he comes from and went through).
Cake + Whisky | #FiftyChefs Exibition | Photographyfifty-chefs-7Also very touching where those stories about those places which became some of London’s top dining spots almost by accident. Because the people who created them worked hard, day and night, and cared about the quality of the food and the service they were providing to their customers.Cake + Whisky | #FiftyChefs Exibition | PhotographyCake + Whisky | #FiftyChefs Exibition | PhotographySo many hands, so many faces, so many stories making up London’s exciting, incredibly diverse food scene.Cake + Whisky | #FiftyChefs Exibition | PhotographyMy favourite of the pictures was probably that of Bread Ahead‘s Justin Gellatly, which reminded me of my dad’s (who started working as a pastry chef when he was 15). I guess when it comes to food, we never really forget what we grew up with…Cake + Whisky | #FiftyChefs Exibition | PhotographyFrom Shoreditch, with love! ❤

#FiftyChefs: The Hands that feed London | Photography | Shoreditch