Food styling: how to take photos that look appetizing

When we talk about photography in social networks, it is inevitable to think about food (well, ignoring that the throne is occupied by incomparable selfies). This is how the concept of food styling was born, a trend that more than a few of us are still unaware of: A post of the dish you ordered at that expensive restaurant, the nephew’s birthday cake, or even an appetizing breakfast, whatever comes to mind!

Food styling aims to capture the essence of food aesthetically and attractively, managing to whet anyone’s appetite with the mere use of their visual perception. Why is the sense of vision so important in food? How can we achieve “delicious photographs”?

This article tells you about food styling and how to take photos that look totally appetizing. Let’s get started!

Food styling: What is it?

What exactly is food styling? In professional terms, it refers to food styling or “makeup.” Food styling is how an artist makes food look more appetizing on camera by increasing ghrelin, the hunger hormone, in viewers.

But what do mortal social media users have to do with food makeup? Not much, really. The truth is that food styling also exists on social networks, only in a more amateurish way.

The positioning of elements, lights, and angles perfected according to the type of food in front of the camera, is precisely food styling. And it can be done by anyone without the need for a professional studio.

You don’t need to have studies to be able to achieve an appetizing photograph. The only requirement to dedicate yourself to this entertaining hobby, apart from having a cell phone, is to consider yourself a foodie; that is, a passionate about food.

I’m a foodie, and you?

Photographic aesthetics mixed with food is undoubtedly a very interesting world. In it, you can guide the viewer through a multi-sensory, engaging, and delicious experience, all through an image.

Food styling was a concept reserved only for chefs or professional photographers. Still, nowadays, a large community of foodies in any profession, whether doctors, lawyers, specialists from essay writer services, or journalists, enjoy sharing their dishes with the world. And, of course, there are also those of us who enjoy watching it.

How to take appetizing photos?

It has happened to all of us: we have a culinary masterpiece in front of us, and we want to share it with the world. But what happens? The photo doesn’t look appetizing at all. What do we do to improve it? Surely it just lacks some small touches in its aesthetics. Let’s see how to carry out food styling.

The perfect angle

When it comes to angles, it’s impossible not to encourage the use of the zenithal shot. Think about it: How do you see the plate of food in front of you? From above! With the overhead shot, you can observe every detail and decoration to perfection. It’s a simple but effective angle.

Now beware, you don’t get the same result with every meal. While it’s perfect for plated lunches, pizzas, or even an appetizing cheese plate, I recommend avoiding it in your photographs of hamburgers or coffee; because of their shape, they don’t stand out when viewed from above.

Star element: Focus attention on a prominent point

Not everything can be the star of your plate. Choose the star element that will be the focal point of your photograph; then, the rest can flow as an aesthetic complement to the main focus. In any photographic sense, the overhanging element gives dynamics and meaning to the image.

Consider that the tallest element of the composition should be at one end of the plate, not in the center. Again we get into issues of movement and visual guidance: In the main course, for example, this element would be the meat or fish.

Color, texture, and shapes: food styling to the next level

A food photograph should awaken a pleasurable feeling in the viewer. This brings two elements together: Delicious food and an aesthetic photographic style. To do this, don’t hesitate to transform yourself into an artist! Certain visual elements can add interest to your photography.


Color is one of the most important elements to consider if you want to attract the attention of your viewers. We all know that social media users are looking for quick and interesting content, so what better way to catch their eye with an explosion of color?

Bright and vivid colors in food give the sensation of fresh and appetizing food. Not so with dull colors; you can imagine what they can represent. Try a little photo editing to get the most out of your photos.


Texture in a photograph refers to visual, tactile sensations that an element can generate. There are soft, fluffy, crunchy, moist, etc. foods in this case. Take advantage of these qualities to give an interesting twist to your sessions.

If your food doesn’t have enough texture or seems a bit boring, you can turn to garnishes: Sauces, dressings, or other ingredients can increase the palatability of your dish.


Shapes within the photographic composition are a visual guide to direct the viewer through your photograph. Good use of shapes makes your food interesting and dynamic, creating points of interest.

Achieve different results by making interesting cuts in your food; diagonal lines generate more movement. You can also innovate with the shapes of your plates, their position, and size, which affects the final perception of the food.

Some of the most used shapes by professionals are the swirl, triangle, and half moon.