Food Photography: How to take Mouth Watering Photos of Food
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Food Photography: How to take Mouth Watering Photos of Food

Learn How to Photograph Food with your Smartphone using professional techniques
4.0 (21 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
1,434 students enrolled
Created by Marguerite Beaty
Last updated 10/2015
Price: $20
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 2 hours on-demand video
  • 14 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • How to photograph mouth watering food photography
  • How to style for food photography
  • How to work with natural light
View Curriculum
  • You will need a smartphone
  • A tripod
  • A boom + stand (photo stores)
  • Boards

Why take this course?

Do you want to photograph food like a pro?

Imagine being able to use your smart phone to photograph like a pro.

Would you like to learn the same lighting skills the pros use to make your photos look professional?

This course is for the social media expert who works with restaurants and the food industry.

This is also a good course for the food blogger, the foodie traveler and the food photographer enthusiast and anyone who enjoys going to different restaurants and photographing their delicious meals!

  • Learn the same techniques that food photographers use in their studios.
  • Learn how to use natural light in different ways.
  • Learn how to change the exposure without having to edit with a software.
  • Discover how to use certain props to make the food look tasty in a photograph.
  • Learn about color and textures to enhance your images.
  • You will find out how to use editing tools to tweak your mobile images and make them look remarkable.

How Long is this course?

This course will take you about 2 hours to watch.

It will take much longer to do the assignments. Some assignments are more elaborate than others.

What will I get from this course?

How to light for food photography.

How to work with dark food and lighter food.

How to do photo sets.

How to work with shiny surfaces.

How to create a visual story.

At the end of the course you will know how to take top quality food photos with your smartphone!

Who is the target audience?
  • Social Media experts who work with the food industry
  • Chefs who want to showcase their creations
  • Food Bloggers
  • Foodies
  • Foodie Photo Traveler enthusiasts
  • Hobbyists
  • Phone Photography Enthusiasts
Compare to Other Food Photography Courses
Curriculum For This Course
48 Lectures
3 Lectures 02:50

Welcome to the Yummy Food Photo Course.

The objective of this course is to teach you how to create top quality food photography

with your smartphone.

The smartphones have great cameras but it's just like photographing in the auto mode.

So when you implement the techniques that you will learn here your photographs will look stunning.

You will start off by learning simple lighting techniques that will get more complex as you go along.

You will learn how to work with diffused and direct sunlight.

The different camera angles and heights that you will use to photograph

will help you create more dynamic photos.

Different camera positions will allow you enhance or create a mood and to change the look of things.

Towards the end the course you will be creating sets and styling your own photographs.

You will also be controlling your exposure with unique techniques

so that you can obtain the best photos ever.

Each section will have from 1 to 4 or 5 assignments for you to do.

This will be super as you will get lots of practice and by the end of class you will be taking very beautiful food photos.

The more you photograph the more you will start to create your own style and your own unique photo language.

I will be showing you my thought process when I create photo sets

and when I style the dishes.

I think that we learn by seeing.

A simple instruction can be misunderstood and that is why I have created a very visual course for you.

Lets get started!

Preview 01:47

Tell us a little about yourself

Let us know why you signed up for the class.

How are you going to use your food photography knowledge?

This is a great place for us all to get to know each other.

Share some of the ideas you have about food photography.

Share your questions.

Go to the chat, select it and leave a comment.

Introduce yourselves!

Photo Equipment and Accessories
3 Lectures 01:20
Photo Equipment for this class
6 pages

You will see a list of the things you need for this class and boards will be one of the things to buy.

By foam boards for this class. 3 white one and 3 black ones.

Get different sizes.

I also use boards that are white on one side and black on the other.

I use these boards to get more out of my phone photography.

The white board will reflect a soft light onto the subject and the subject will be a bit lighter.

The black board will absorb light and the subject will be a bit darker.

The board wrapped with foil or your reflector will reflect a stronger light onto the subject. This is not the same as a light but it can brighten things quite a bit.

Preview 00:46

How to focus with the smartphone

All you need to do is to tap it once and it will focus.

If your boom shakes a bit, wait for it to stop and then use the earphone as a shutter release.

I always have a charger handy in case I need a quick charge. I have worked with it on my phone.

If you want to photograph with macro lenses or telephoto lenses, you can find them for your phone too. Try them out and see which lenses are your favorite.

Do you know how to focus with your smartphone?
Does your Bread look Tasty?
7 Lectures 14:51


  • Learn how to control exposure while you are photographing.
  • Learn how to use the boards in different positions.
  • Discussion: How to place objects according to their brightness.

Your first assignment

Set your bread on a darker background.

The camera will be on a boom and it will be above the bread, parallel to the bread. Insert the earphones in the camera so that you can use them as a shutter release.

You will hold the board over the camera for the first shot. It can be about 3 inches above the camera. Tap on the phone camera to focus well, wait for it to stop shaking if it shakes and use the earphone as your shutter release. So you will press the + button to take the photo.

This first image will be just a tad darker on top and the image will have more depth.

For the next image place 1 board with a clamp on the table on the opposite side of the camera. Place that board as close as you can to the bread so that you will create a shadow on that side of the bread. Tap the phone camera and take a photo.

The next photograph will have the 2 boards. Leave that board in front you – the one you used for the previous photo and add a second one to the left of the bread. Notice that my light source- which was a huge window is to the right. That side will be a bit brighter. Tap the phone and take a photo.

Now you will photograph with 3 boards. Place all the boards on their clamps. Notice that some light was coming in from all the corners? Just close it up. Place the boards as close as you can to the bread. I left too much space here because I wanted to show you what it would look like but if I were photographing I would come in a lot closer.

Compare your images! If you are not seeing the shadows it may be because the boards are not close enough to the bread.

Just a note about how I placed the bread. I looked at all the different sides of the bread and noticed that one side had more flour. I could have easily added more flour all over the bread to even this out but I decided to leave it.

I did notice that when I placed the side with the most flour towards the window: It got too bright, brighter than the other sides because the white reflects light… so I placed that side in the opposite side of the table, the side that had less light and now the bread was a bit more evenly lit.

When you photograph food you will want to study and see if there are any brighter sides and if there are study where you will place it.

Preview 02:52

Your assignment!


  • You will learn how to control your exposure with the use of boards.
  • During this assignment you will learn how + where to place the boards.
  • You will see how each board will give you a different type of light.

Create 5 different photographs of a round bread.

Follow all the tips on the video for best results.

Download the PDF file with the assignment.

I added the photos of bread + board placements at the end of the PDF file.

-Only work with natural light.

Upload images to a platform like Flickr or your own site if you have one and share the link!

I look forward to seeing your photographs.

Activity: Photo Assignment. Become a Food Photographer
8 pages


  • Learn how to use props.
  • Learn how to use the boards for different types of shadows.
  • Learn how to create more depth in the photographs.
  • Learn how to control your exposures with the smartphone.
Add the "DELICIOUS" to your food photos


  • Learn how to use the camera in different positions and heights.
  • Learn how to photograph different shapes of food.
  • Learn about food placement for a more photogenic food photograph.

Change the camera position and the shape of the bread

Camera at bread level

Now lets change the shape of the bread, the camera position, the surface and lets see what we can do to make this look delicious.

This camera position will be a bit more of a challenge. You will need to lower the camera position to the same level as the bread. Take your time finding a good camera position and frame the bread carefully.

I think we get spoiled when we shoot from above. It's easy to frame.

This is cool because it's a challenge and you don't always want to do the same kind of photos right?

Photo Challenge: Delicious and Tempting Bread Photos


  • Learn how to create a mood in food photography.
  • Learn how to create a feeling in food photography.
  • Learn how to work in colors (if you need to work with someone's brand).
  • Learn how to work with a different surface.

By adding just one prop you can create that hot bread just out of the oven ready to eat look.

I wrap the bread with cloth napkins.

Choose colorful colors.

For this assignment you will slice part of the bread.

Choose a different surface so that you can start seeing how the background will affect your photos.

You will use the Phototoaster App to blur part of the image to create the DSLR shallow depth of field technique look.

Preview 04:14

Create your home baked bread, just out of the oven look.


  • Create 2 different exposures of the same subject.
  • See how 1 board can change your image completely!
  • Work with one prop (napkin).
  • Create an emotion: warmth, home, "fuzzy" feeling.... (baked bread always makes me think of warmth!)

Photograph at least 3 different images of the bread.

Activity: Photo Assignment. Home Baked Bread Just out of the oven look
7 pages

The Delicious and Beautiful Dragon Fruit
7 Lectures 14:56

Introduction chat.

Learn about:

  • Presentation
  • Props
  • Shiny and Matte surface
  • Telling a visual story with food: Food stories
  • Reconstructing a fruit (styling)

Presentation is important in food photography.

During this lecture you will see how I create simple presentations to enhance the awesome dragon fruit. You will be using these same techniques on your assignments.

You will learn and then create your photo visual stories.

The visual story that you will create is to show an illusion that someone was around.

The idea of someone just about to eat or someone who just stepped out of the photo set.

Creating stories is what makes the image more interesting.

It makes people wonder about things when they look at your photograph.

You will learn how to minimize reflections on a plate,

how to control reflections on a dark surface and

how to redesign your fruit and create a new piece of art.

Add your photos to your site and share the link with us in class.

I look forward to seeing your images.

Chat with Marguerite: The Dragon Fruit


  • Learn how to photograph a fruit.
  • Learn how to style for a fruit photograph.
  • Learn how to enhance the colors of a fruit.

The Mysterious Dragon Fruit

The Dragon Fruit is one of those awesome fruits because of it's color and the design.

The outside is completely different from the inside as many fruits are.

It has texture, an exquisite shape and the inside has such a beautiful pattern.

If you cannot find a Dragon Fruit to photograph try to find a fruit that has the same elements. An orange can be good, a papaya could be even more interesting. Go to your nearest street market and see what you can find. Buy at least 2 of the same fruit. I always buy more than one fruit because some fruits will start to wilt or change color after you slice them open. They don't looks so fresh.

Get several different surfaces so that you can start learning which ones are the most interesting for what kind of food.

Preview 04:29

Watch the video "The Mysterious Dragon Fruit" and do this assignment.

Get all your props and your fruit ready.

Get your boards ready.

Enjoy this assignment!

Activity: Photo Assignment. Photograph an exotic fruit
4 pages


  • Learn how direct sunlight light will affect the look of the food.
  • Learn how diffused light will affect the look of the food.

Lets chat lighting and the quality of light.

During the lecture you will learn how to work with 2 different types of light: Direct sunlight and diffused light.

At the end of the lecture you will have a sample of three different quality of lights. Your assignment will be to duplicate these different quality of lights.

Learn how to work with direct sunlight and diffused light and you will have professional looking food photos!

Direct sunlight is well direct sunlight.

The best time of the day to photograph with direct sunlight is around 2 hours before sunset. You may get away with 3 depending on the time of the year.

The thing about direct sunlight is that it will create harsh shadows and sometimes the highlights may be too bright. The later in the day it is, the less bright the highlights will be.

Shadows can make a photograph look very cool and very dynamic. The problems is that it does not always make food look yummy.

So this is something you will need to test out. Remember that we all love different things!

Diffused light is when you have something in between the light source, in our case, it's the sun and the subject. So if I'm shooting near a window I will place a translucent fabric on the window and the light will be diffused. It will be softer and the shadows are minimized.

Lights, Awesomeness + Yummy Food Photos!

For this assignment you will photograph with direct sunlight and with diffused light.

Activity: Photo Assignment. Photograph with direct sunlight and diffused light
5 pages


  • Learn how to use camera heights, angles to show a fruit in different ways.
  • Learn how to create a food photo set.
  • Learn how to control the reflections on the shiny surfaces.
  • Learn how style for food photography: Re design a fruit to make a fun photo.

Design your tasty looking fruit.

Time to see what is inside the dragon fruit.

When I am photographing food I try different things. Sometimes I have an idea and sometimes it's intuitive. Some things will work out better than others.

During this lecture you will learn how to do different presentations of your food. Presentation is everything in photography. We will continue to work with the dragon fruit. This time we will look at the inside of the fruit.

    Download Script.
Style your food for cool food photos.

Put everything into practice. Lights, styling, and fun photo sets.

Take your food photography to the next level with this assignment.

Activity: Photo Assignment Styling and re designing your fruit
6 pages
Mouth watering honeycomb!
4 Lectures 07:27

Intro to the honeycomb

During this lecture you will be photographing a shiny surface. That will be the honeycomb.

You will use two different surfaces: A shiny and a matte one.

Images will be done with direct sunlight and with diffused light.

You will also use a reflector to enhance the glare on the honey.

During this lecture you learn how work with different types of shadows on your photo set. You will work with harsh and dynamic shadows and you will work with a softer shadow.

There are two new ways to use the boards.

  • 1)Lift the board 3 inches from the photo set
  • 2)Use the reflector over the honey comb to create a more wet look but this will work best when you are working with diffused light.

Chat with Marguerite: The Honeycomb


  • Learn the about direct sunlight and diffused light.
  • Learn how to use these two different lights for your food photography.

Honeycombs are shiny surfaces that need to be photographed in a certain way for them to look super yummy.

You will work with

  • Direct sunlight
  • Diffused light

Learn how to create very different types of light through the use of the boards and working under direct light and diffused light.

Learn how to use surfaces that will enhance or quiet an image.

Learn how to use the DIY reflector to obtain some awesome reflections on the honeycomb.

This is your photo challenge! Notice that I have used the same techniques that were used to photograph the Dragon Fruit.

When you do this assignment: Take your time and study how you will work with these different types of lighting.

How to photograph a mouth watering honeycomb


  • Learn how to photograph with diffused light and direct sunlight.
  • Learn how to use the reflector to create beautiful reflections.
  • Learn how to use the boards to control the light and to create shadows.
Activity: Photo Assignment Photograph a mouth-watering honeycomb
9 pages

The Red Velvet Cake + Unique Photo Compositions
5 Lectures 07:16

For this lecture you will be learning how to photograph a red velvet cake.

I had a really hard time with this because I have a sweet tooth.

If you are like me, get an extra cake for yourself!

During this lecture you will see how I worked with the diffused light.

The photographs were taken about 2 hours prior to sunset and I got a beautiful golden light that at times was too yellow.

I will show you how I used 2 different Apps to re work my images and get less yellow.

One of the Apps was used to create a very blurry background.

The kind that you get when you take a photo with a dslr and use the shallow depth of field technique.

You will work with different camera positions to learn how to enhance and change the look of the food.

Lets get started with this yummy assignment!

Chat with Marguerite The Red Velvet Cake

Photo Assignment: Use the different angles and camera heights to show different emotions.

Activity: Photo Assignment. The Red Velvet Assignment.
2 pages

Create Gorgeous effects on your photos with these Apps
12 pages

These Apps will make your photos look like they were taken with DSLR camera in the manual mode!

Activity: Assignment. The Red Velvet + Cool Apps!
2 pages
Make it Festive!
2 Lectures 05:03


  • Learn how to create your own photo set around a feeling.
  • Learn how to showcase a cake that will show different feelings: Some will look tasty, others may look weird and funny.
  • Get to know how the camera angle and height will change how you will see something.

How to make a cake look festive.

Lets play around with styling for this lecture.

This is how I set up the photo. I only use one board across from me, so sometimes I used a black board and sometimes a white one. The board was basically there to hide the background clutter. So now the image looks like it was done in a studio.

The Lighting was diffused at all times. That means that all windows were covered and I still had plenty of light to shoot with.

What I am going to show you is an experiment in styling. You will see my thought process with all my errors. I will explain to you as we go along.

Make it Festive! Video.


  • Create a photo set and style according to a word
  • Style your photo set: Create different variations and photograph the good and the bad
  • Learn how to edit: Choose the 3 best images

For this assignment you will be working with a keyword and you will also be working with a theme.

Choose the props and everything that you will need for the photo session.

Enhance the word you chose! Make your image stand out with your styling.

Experiment with the different camera positions.

Experiment with the props.

This will be a fun assignment!

Activity: Make it Festive! Assignment
4 pages
The Art of the Meal: Style a dish, create a meal and photograph it!
3 Lectures 06:56

This lecture is about styling and creating a photo set that will look delicious.

Get different foods and props to create a meal. This is when color is important. How will you use color to enhance the dish? How will texture play out here?

Look how different the texture on the veggie burger is from the texture of the shaved carrots are.

See how light will affect the veggie burger in a different way that it affects the carrots.

The veggie burger absorbs light and remains darker and the carrots reflect light and become brighter.

When you choose your food keep these things in mind.

Different camera position will create different light and different moods.

You will photograph without boards, with boards and with the reflector.

Chat with Marguerite: The Art of the Meal


  • Learn how to work with foods that have different colors.
  • Learn how to enhance dark foods so that they don't look boring.
  • Learn how dark things absorb light and lighter things reflect light and why this is important :)
  • Photograph using different camera angles and heights.

Lets make this challenging by choosing a dark main dish so that you can learn how to enhance it.

I chose a veggie burger. I bought 2 so that I could really play around with it. I like working with the veggie burger because it lasts longer. A real meat burger would need more work in terms of styling.

Get all your props together and here are some or the ones I used. I also use a cutting board that is not here but you will see in few seconds.

My props are different colors of peppers, different colors of carrots, small tomatoes, a few green leaves, red jam in case I need to add a red color. I have a glass of water and a glass or fake wine: It’s cranberry juice that has been watered down. Different plates, place mats + fork. Choose what you want to use and what you have around the house.

One thing that I love to do is to play with the actual props. It helps me get ready for the photo shoot and it allows me to start thinking about shapes and colors.

Preview 06:14


  • You will learn how to prepare for a photo session
  • You will learn how to do beautiful, simple and fun food styling
  • You will learn how to photograph a meal using 2 very different camera angle to create very different and creative images
  • You will learn how to light the food photo set with and without boards

Upon completing your assignment you will have at least 8 beautiful photographs of a meal. Congrats!

Share with us in class.

Activity: Photo Assignment. The Art of the Meal
13 pages
Veggies are Beautiful
4 Lectures 12:00

During this lecture you will be creating a mood and you will be working with color and texture.

Lighting will change the look of the photo sets.

Placement of the food can help your images look more dynamic.

Get a bunch of veggies at a market,

choose cool surfaces, get your boards and start playing with food.

This will be about placing food in different positions,

thinking about color, shapes and surfaces.

Which colors look better together?

How can you place things to enhance them?

Add blur to the background to enhance the veggie.

This lecture is all about experimenting.

Chat with Marguerite: Veggies!

Veggies are beautiful

This lecture is all about creating a mood. The subject is veggies. They have awesome colors and shapes. Go to a market and look for veggies that are fresh and not packaged. They will look more interesting.

  • Learn how to create a mood for your food photography.
  • Learn how to work with different surfaces.
  • Learn how to work with shapes and colors.
  • Learn how to place food in your photo set in an interesting and create dynamic photos.
  • Learn how to work different exposures.
  • Learn how to create a photo set while telling a story.
Very cool veggie photos


  • Just an extra visual to see how the boards work!

I know that I have talked about the boards A LOT! But here is one more demo so that you can feel even more comfortable working with the board and so that you can get amazing exposures every time!

Your best kept secret: The boards! Photograph a Celery Root


  • To review how the boards can be used.
  • See how I work with the board and my thought process.
  • To practice using the boards while you photograph an exotic veggie!
Activity: Taking control of the boards for awesome Celery Root photos
6 pages
Lets Play Chef!
7 Lectures 13:20

Lets Play Chef. Cook a dish, show how it's done with your awesome photos and photograph the final dish. Use simple styling techniques and have a wonderful time with this section!

For this lecture you will be choosing a recipe

and creating photographs to show how to cook, step by step.

You will photograph the different things that are part of the recipe

and then put it all together to create a fun ebook .

It’s a great way to give someone a special recipe as a gift

or to start creating your own cookbook.

You can make this more complex and more interesting than I did by adding more photos of details.

For example the photos of your trip to the market.

The photographs of measuring spoons and small details like that.

I put the recipe ebook together using Canva and I will show you how to do that in the Bonus part of the class.

I chose a simple recipe.

The colors are more earthy.

I kept all the props toned down to go with the food.

They are basically green and brown.

you may want to add bits of color or more texture.

Go for it, get creative and Have fun with your recipe.

When you go to the market choose little things that will add a unique touch to your photos.

Are you ready? Lets start the cook book!

Preview 01:16

Objectives :

  • Practice styling a full meal.
  • Use food as props.
  • Learn how to place things in a plate and use props for enhancement.
  • Use different camera positions.

The script for the whole section "Lets Play Chef" is here. Download it and follow along.


Download it to keep as tips for your future shoots.

How would you show a recipe? You will love this lecture!

A trip to the market + getting all the "stuff".

Fabulous Recipe: Show how to prepare.


  • Just a quick chat about how I use the boards.
  • Reminder of board positions and the creation of shadows for more contrast.
Take a peak at how I did some of these images


  • You will plan a meal around a photo shoot.
  • You will select the best fresh-looking food for that photo shoot. (No wilted veggies! ☺)
  • You will learn how to showcase the food for a recipe.
  • You will learn how to present the food in a very yummy way.

Lets play chef!

Create a recipe and pretend that this will be a cookbook or an editorial photograph.

So lets start from the beginning.

Choose a simple recipe.

Go to a market and get the ingredients for your recipe.

If you go to a street fair you will be able to take some awesome photographs and the colors will inspire you.

Think about how you will want to present your dish. What are the best surfaces to showcase the food? What kind of plates will you use? Will you need utensils? Will you have a napkin in the photo?

When you are preparing for the photo session: Give yourself some options.

On this video you will see an example of my thought process. I started out with an idea that did not work out and then I worked on the props and developed new ideas to rescue my final act. Having several options for a photo shoot is a great way to work.

You will also see things that should not be done. I am a very visual person so when someone tells me something like don't forget to polish your utensils before a shoot I may over look it. When I see how water marks can make a knife look ugly I will remember it more.

So here you will see a little of everything and my final favorite images.

The Final Act

Create a recipe book.

Use Canva to create 1 recipe with your images.

Activity: Create your final act
7 pages
2 More Sections
About the Instructor
Marguerite Beaty
4.1 Average rating
122 Reviews
2,857 Students
4 Courses
Photography Teacher @Udemy

★ I am a photographer and I love to teach photography.

★ Do you want to learn how to use the manual mode in your camera?

★ Do you want to create a photo portfolio to share with friends and family?

♥ Learn how to capture your newborn child's earliest moments with awesome photos?

Some of my past lives: I worked as a stockbroker in São Paulo, Brazil for approximately six years. When I moved to New York City in 1988 I changed careers and returned to school. I studied at the School of Visual Arts for one year and finished my Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Florida International University.

I received a full scholarship from the University of Miami to do my Masters of Fine Arts in Photography. The best 3 years I have ever had! Just imagine: 3 years working on photography projects. What a luxury! ♥

During that time I taught at the university and began to exhibit my work. Upon completing school I continued to teach as an adjunct and to photograph for different corporations.

I taught at the University of Miami, Art Institute, Barry University among other places.

These are some of the places that showed my work:

Naples Museum of Art in Naples, Fl

Museum of Latin America, Long Beach, Ca.

Dot Fiftyone, Miami, Fl

Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, Miami

Michael C Rockefeller Arts Gallery Fredonia NY

These are some of the grants that I received:

Creative Capital, New York Foundation, State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship, Artist Enhancement Grant Miami-Dade County, Florida Breast Cancer Coalition, Travel Grant to Washington DC

These are some of the awards:

MOLAA Award an Invitational Juried Art Competition and Exhibition at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach California

Golden Mouse Award in 2014 for Online Photography Classes.

At this time: I am focusing on teaching one-on-one classes while I develop new online classes. I teach Introduction to photography, studio classes, the business of photography, social media for photographers and baby photography classes.

My photography work has changed directions completely. I am enjoying travel photography and the adventures that come along with traveling. My interest in food photography came from one of those very special trips.