If You’re Into Food Photography and Styling…

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If you have your own blog, especially one that features food, you’re likely dabbling in a bit of photography.  I do a lot of it myself.  I’m definitely no expert.  I’m constantly learning from others– nibbles and bits and tricks of the trade.  I shoot with a Canon 40D and a variety of lenses.  Sometimes I use a tri-pod and sometimes I shoot hand-held.  I read, I go to workshops, and I test things out at home.  My blog is about food first, and if I happen to capture a good photograph, that’s great too.  Here are a a few of the things I do to help me along with my food photography and styling…

I saw an awesome tutorial on the blog Love & Olive Oil for making your own background boards.  I didn’t follow the tutorial exactly, but I decided to make some of my own.  I purchased 6 large scrap boards from Home Depot (about $6.00 each), brown wood stain and various colored paint samples.

The wood stain goes on dark but then it tends to fade.  I used a throw-away sponge applicator to apply the stain.  It gets pretty sticky on a paintbrush and is tough to clean.

To create an old “washed” look on one of my boards, I took a brush and randomly brushed gray with the grain in smooth, soft strokes.

And here’s what I did with the rest of my boards- I painted both sides of each board to create 12 new surfaces on which to shoot my food.

Here’s my usual set-up in natural light.  I have a set of French doors in my kitchen that let in great natural light from 10am until about 4pm.  I set a table up next to it, place a board on top, and sometimes I place a white board behind my subject (if needed) to bounce the light back onto the food.

These awesome clips (also at Home Depot) help a board to stand up and stay in place.

I have a zillion white dishes of every shape and size.  I have several bookshelves in my kitchen, dining room and office, and they’re all filled with dishes.  HomeGoods and Crate and Barrel Outlet are my favorite places for finding new pieces.

A colorful array of dishes and bowls line my shelves too… as well as an assortment of utensils.

Fabrics in all shapes and sizes and colors and textures are nice to have around too.  I pick those up at fabric stores, usually scouring the remnant’s section for some good deals.

Piles of single placemats can be found around my house.  I’m not sure what I’d do with them if I ever chose another profession, but it’s fun to be able to use a variety for photos.

I also keep a good number of rolls of ribbon- hanging on hangers so they’re easy to access.

When natural light is cruddy- on cloudy days or at night, I pull out the Lowel EGO lights.  If you don’t already have these on hand, they’re worth purchasing on Amazon.

And for inspiration and tutorials, I go to websites like White on Rice Couple, Matt Bites and  KevinandAmanda.com.

Lori Lange of Recipe Girl

Meet The Author: Lori Lange

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  • Agnieszka Potocka wrote:

    I just start my own way with food photography and I catched your blog. I find it helpful and beside me is a ‘ready to prepare’ wooden floor wood pieces to make my table-board 🙂

  • Monika wrote:

    Great tips, thank you!

  • Sujhey wrote:

    Thank you so much for the great tips! I have trouble with lighting because most of my cooking happens at night when I get home from work. These ideas will help tremendously. I already bought some boards and stain to start having a nice background. Thanks again for all the recommendations!!!!

  • Miss Food Fairy wrote:

    Thank you so much for this information. I have just recently started my food blog and always looking for great, inspiring ideas.

  • buttercream bakehouse wrote:

    Thanks for much for posting your tips on food photography. I struggle with this the most on my blog because it takes me hours of editing 100’s of pictures per post because I am not taking good photos to begin with . Love your blog.

  • Mike @ Food Blog Life wrote:

    This is a great post, thanks for sharing. I’ve been looking for some ideas to add some variety to my food photos. Looks like I’ll be heading to home depot this weekend 🙂

  • Ruta wrote:

    THANK YOU! I am seriously in love with this post. I’m always looking for ways to improve my photography, and this has some really great tips.

    Next time I visit home depot I will definitely pick up some wooden boards. They look great and sound SO easy to make.

  • Carla wrote:

    So glad I’m not the only one with a ridiculous amount of props, place mats, and ribbons (especially after reading 2012 trends that must go haha). I do love your version of buying a piece of wood without having to glue.