How to Frame a Foodie Picture

Food is a major part of life. Without it and water, we’d have a difficult time existing.

It’s no wonder, then, we spend a lifetime thinking about eating. Restaurants dot every major area. Neighborhoods have access to grocery stores. And millions of blogs dedicate their themes to meal plans, food reviews, and new recipes.

I have recipes on this blog, even though they are not its main point.

In ruminating on this idea one morning, I looked down at my breakfast plate. I laughed. This was not a plate one would post in a magazine or on a blog. This was my breakfast, meant for eating.


However, I realized that all the cute photos I see online are just food. Just people. Just flowers. I wondered: could I make my sloppy mess of pancakes into something beautiful?

I thought I just might:

  1. Choice of food. From organic produce at grocery stores to the perfectly-symmetrical cakes of blog pictures, foodie photographers know that choosing perfect products is the first step.
    Surprisingly, optimal photography subjects are not mandatory. Out of curiosity and laziness, I opted to keep the same pile of mismatched pancakes for mine throughout the process.
  2. Choice of plate. Plate, however, is imperative -unless you manage to not capture it in any shots. Choose something bright and crafty if you have it; otherwise just stick with plain white or grey.
  3. Choice of garnish. Since my photograph involved breakfast; I knew my available garnishes needed to be items related to pancakes: fresh fruits, nuts, syrups or sugars, etc. I didn’t have anything laying around except the nuts and sugar, so I used those.
  4. Placement of garnish. Food photos may look like the parsley rained down randomly, but it didn’t. I therefore stuck each walnut in an artistic location, even using two to prop up some of the pancakes.
    The powdered sugar is a similar beast; it looks much better dusted than dumped. So, I dug out our fancy sugar sifter.
  5. Surroundings. Where you snap the photo is vital. As they say in real estate: location, location, location. As silly as it may be to find a plate of flapjacks in a field of lavender, people love how it looks.


Focus is fun to play with as well. This final shot is focused on the lavender; the one before is on the front nut. You also need good lighting, a steady hand, and a bit of an off-center placement of the subject matter.

If you don’t want to worry about all that, just follow the basic 5 steps I outlined. Or, just eat the darned pancakes before they get cold.


©2019 Chelsea Owens

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