When you're starting our your food photography journey, any help is welcome. This is why I decided to write down my 5 best tips for new food photographers. These will be relevant for everyone - beginner photographers, those looking to start working with clients and anyone that's been feeling a little bit stuck lately.
My Best Tips For New Food Photographers
1. SCREW THE NUMBERS
Not everyone might agree with me on this one. However, I absolutely insist.
Forget about the Insta following and stop playing that dirty follow-unfollow game. What you need to focus on instead is improving your WORK. Getting those STUNNING photos done and setting up all your shoots like a pro.
Imagine if you spent all the time you spend trying to grow your socials on actually trying to improve your photography.
Want proof? I worked with brands when I had around 2500 Instagram followers and about as much monthly page-views. This is virtually nothing on a global scale, but because my photography was good enough, I was able to convert that into work.
2. INSTAGRAM IS YOUR BEST PORTFOLIO
Only post your BEST work on Instagram. One of the biggest reasons clients will turn you down is inconsistency. They'll see incredible photos on your feed, but also see those quick snaps you took of your breakfast smoothie bowl. Having worked with influencers as a social media manager in the food industry and beyond, I can tell you this is a massive mistake. I know you’re trying to ‘beat the algorithm’ and keep your followers engaged. After all, people do say you need to post at least once a day to have any chances of growing your account.
For me, the most important tip is to PLAN YOUR CONTENT ahead and make sure you make it visually STUNNING. The only way to do that is by planning at least a few (preferably at least 6) posts ahead. I use Later and I'm super happy with their planner.
3. KEEP IT PROFESSIONAL
Remember – you always want to look more professional than you are! Get your own domain as early as possible and, please, do stop using that gmail email address in your bio. You can’t expect clients to take you seriously if you’re not taking yourself seriously!
If you're already working with clients, be professional in your communication and GET A CONTRACT straight away. I repeat, never work without a contract!
For those of you working with brands in return for products, make sure you establish a great, professional relationship early on.
4. SHOW VERSATILITY
Get out of your comfort zone as much as possible. If you're only just starting out, offer restaurants and cafes a free shoot. When taking photos at home (or in a studio environment), try shoot a huge variety of dishes. Play around with different backgrounds and unusual props.
I know the feeling – your photos of muffins or cupcakes always turn out the best so you want to shoot those constantly. Shoot your way out of your comfort zone by choosing a large variety of subjects – go for soups, salads, drinks and snacks.
The benefit of this is two-fold: a.) you will be growing as a photographer and b.) you will show brands that you can shoot ANYTHING. This opens up opportunities to work with a larger variety of clients and ultimately diversifies your stream of income.
5. IT'S A MARATHON - NOT A SPRINT
Photography can be so discouraging - especially so when you start comparing yourself to others. You see your blogger friend working with your dream brands. You see another blogger friend whose following just blew up within a few months and is now an Insta-superstar. And then you see a photography friend whose work is constantly getting reposted by massive accounts.
This can make you feel like everything comes so easily to everyone else. I can assure you that isn't the case. What helped me more than anything else on this journey is knowing that I'm in it for the long-run. Yes, I might not be growing as fast as someone else. But guess what?
Your photography dream will wait for you.
This is one of my best tips for new food photographers. It can take years, decades even, but you will get there.
Looking For More Tips for New Food Photographers?
This concludes my 5 best tips for food photographers! Thank you so much for reading it and don't forget to check out the rest of my food photography tips!
- How To Create Light & Airy Food Photos
- How To Find Inspiration As a Food Photographer
- How To Improve Your Food Photography - 5 Tips
P.S. - I often take you behind-the-scenes and give quick styling and editing tips on my Instagram!
Tajda - thank you SO much for this! It is so easy to feel disheartened one day and on a complete high the next with food photography, so thanks for some Monday motivation! Hope you have a great week x
My Vegan Minimalist
Ahh you're so welcome Shivani! I love your work and adore seeing your photography grow over the years. Can't wait to see what the future has in store for you!
These tips are brilliant! Thank you for such an informative post. I was always interested in photography and now I finally have an ability to start doing what I love. Can I ask what equipment you usually use for your photos? Specifically - camera and lenses. I have been doing my research and there is just so many options out there — I am lost! Thank you!
My Vegan Minimalist
Hi Linda, thanks so much for your lovely comment. Happy to hear you enjoyed the post so much. I currently use a Canon 6D with a 50 mm lens. I can imagine you feel super overwhelmed by all the options - I felt exactly the same. When I first started out, I shot everything on my Nikon D3300. It's a great, affordable, entry-level camera that I recommend to everyone. Overall, I suggest getting something decent, but not spending a ton of money on it. Let me know if you have any other questions at all (The Bite Shot on YouTube has some amazing free content on food photography!) x
Hi Tajda, thanks so much for this post! It's really motivating and inspiring to see how wonderful your photography has gotten! I saw in a previous comment that you shoot with a 50mm lens - do you use a f/1.4 or f/1.8? I'm trying to decide between the two and am feeling really stuck and a bit overwhelmed on which I should start with. Thanks! xx
Hi lovely, thanks for reaching out! I'm so happy to hear you felt inspired after reading this - it means a lot! I currently use a f/1.4 50mm lens, but considering the vast price difference, I would definitely go for the f/1.8 if buying again! I don't think the f./1.4 is particularly relevant for the kind of photography I do. Hope this helps!
This is so helpful thanks! So if I could choose just one, you'd recommend f/1.4 50mm lens then?
Actually, if I was starting out and could choose just one, I would go for the f/1.8 50 mm instead. It's significantly cheaper and I don't think the f./1.4 really justifies the vast price difference especially when it comes to food photography. I could use what I've saved by purchasing the f./1.8 to put towards a second lens which would help make my photography more diverse. Obviously that's just my personal experience and someone might disagree so it all depends on the person 🙂 Hope this helps a little! xx