Food Photography Tips For Your Culinary Tour

Food photography tips

Learn about our award-winning culinary tours and explore culture through cuisine.

Food Photography

This subject is worth exploring over and over again. Being a foodie just doesn’t seem complete without the perfect photos to accompany your culinary explorations and adventures. On a cuisine tour with Access Culinary Trips, you’ll want to capture so much of your experience, including but not limited to incredible regional dishes, local farms, and the delightful personalities who will be part of your food learning experience. Whether you’re bringing your SLR or just your smartphone, here are some tips for taking excellent food photography on tour so you can savor your trip for years to come. We’ve included a photo from Access Culinary Trips guest Laura Hobbs, who used excellent food photography skills while on tour with us in Cuba last year.


iPhone, or SLR, the same rules apply to food photography that apply to any kind of photo experience. Good lighting, camera angle and capturing the moment are each a component of a great shot. According to the website, a smart novice photographer’s tool is the rule of thirds. Here’s how it works:

“Imagine your frame is divided into a nine-part grid (like sudoku). The rule of thirds says that your main subject—a plate, a slice of cake, an olive—should be placed either along those lines or at their intersections…But framing your food is just one element of composition—you’ll also need to decide what angle best suits your subject. A flat, round pizza will usually look best shot from directly above, while a tall dish of ice cream might benefit from a 45° angle to keep the focus on the three-dimensional contours of the scoop. Meanwhile, a burger stacked tall with all the fixin’s will look great directly at eye level, so bring your camera down close to the table. Just make sure you have something in the background like a wall or a board to block out unwanted items in your kitchen. And remember, even food wants you to capture its good side. One side of a burger might look more appetizing than the other, and you might want to focus on the side or top of a roast turkey rather than, say, its backside. The best way to learn? Shoot from multiple angles until you’ve honed your instincts.”


Natural light will always provide you with the best food photography, but sometimes it’s just not available, or perhaps there’s too much. Standing in direct sunlight will render harsh hues and washed out pictures, and not enough light will give you grainy unclear shots. Finding a balance on the go will help you savor your pics. Here are some tricks for manipulating the light you have while on tour without stopping the whole program to get the perfect shot.

Face north – on a bright day, turn away from direct sunlight and instead seek a filtered northern approach (the sun rises in the east and sets in the west). You can also ask a friend or fellow traveler to hold up a linen or napkin (quickly) for you to get a filtered shot when there is just too much sun. If the opposite is true and you have no sunlight at all, try a steady hand with no flash, or a slow exposure on your SLR, using any available light.

Give Up Perfection:

Sometimes the story around the food is more exciting (literally and visually), than the actual finished dish.  If it’s too dark to capture a beautiful pot of paella, why not get some action shots of chefs tossing the ingredients in? Sometimes the finished product is only part of the story.


Not just appetizers, but apps for your phone. Filters and editors offer you fun ways to get creative with your food photography. Don’t have good light? Throw a filter on for a romantic twist on the fresh meal you’re enjoying. Try Camera360 for iPhone and Android, Filtergrid or Afterlight which costs around $1.72.