Recommended settings for food photography
Food Photography
December 18, 2016

A high quality food photograph has to have passion spread all over it. The love for food must come from within. While in post-production, if you don't start craving for it, you have not done a good enough work! Off all kinds of photography, I find this the most challenging. This may surprise a lot of people given that the subjects here are still and the photographer has everything in control, right from the background to the lighting. However the very purpose of food photography, which is to bring about lip-licking reactions from the audience, is the biggest challenge of all.


No matter what kind of photography you are doing, remember that it’s all a game of combinations; combinations of ISO, aperture, frame and shutter speed.

Here are a few recommendations from my side:

  1. Lighting — Use as much of natural light as possible. However do not keep the subject in direct sunlight as this will result in harsh and distracting shadows. Use a diffuser to soften the natural light. Lighting is extremely crucial in food photography.
  2. ISO — Try not to have an ISO greater than 400. The lower the ISO, crisper the image.


  1. Shutter Speed — Keep a shutter speed at around 1/60 sec. This will help you in avoiding motion blur when you use a hand held camera.
  2. White balance — you are in the year 2016. You have Photoshop and Lightroom. Set your white balance to auto and rectify anything and everything using these two life rescuers.



  1. Aperture — the aperture or the eye of the camera will perhaps play the most vital role. Use Aperture priority mode while doing food photography. This will make sure that the camera adjusts the shutter speed on its own while you vary the aperture. Use a large aperture (f/2.8 —f/4) to get a blurry background and a smaller aperture (f/11) to get a good depth of This will depend a lot on the background that you have and the number of subjects you have chosen to keep in the frame.
  2. Contents – Contents are extremely vital in food photography. A plain and boring subject will render your photograph unusable even if your technical settings are perfect. Try to spice up things a little bit. With a bowl of soup, you may add a nice spoon and a colourful napkin to add to the contrast. Adding a few extra ingredients to your soup will also help in spicing up your final product.



Do not follow the settings blindly. Explore your creative freedom. It’s a process so you will learn to capture the best foodporn moments. Until you do remember to use every bit of creativity that comes out of from within. Go ahead and cook a delicacy for your wife or your friends of family. But the difference here is that you will of course cook with your camera. So what if you can’t cook in kitchen! They will lick lips regardless.

Food Photography
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