Food photography

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An example of food photography, by A. J. Yao

Food photography is an artistic technique employed to exaggerate or enhance the appearance of food, often for advertising purposes. It is akin to fashion photography in that techniques such as lighting, backgrounds, focus, depth of view, filters are adjusted in ways to glamorize or idealize its often mundane subject. Other tricks of the trade include painting or coloring the photographed objects in order to make them look more appetizing; painting an uncooked chicken or fowl a deep, glistening brown, for instance, is a standard technique. In popular culture, the exaggerated perfection of the photographs, as well as the mouth-watering images of the food itself, is occasionally referred to as "food porn". [1]

There are three main objectives of food photography: packaging, advertising, and editorial.[2] Different objectives exist for photographing food because the techniques employed must illustrate the food in different ways. For example, when food is photographed in order to be printed on packaging, the image must capture as much detail as possible to ensure food is displayed in a "realistic, favorable way." When food is photographed for advertisements, typically there is a specific idea that the designer wants to convey. The focus is more on selling the food, rather than increasing the "beauty" of the product(s) being photographed. However, when food is photographed for editorials, there is a special emphasis placed on the overall appearance of the food; the "attractiveness" factor takes precedence over the realistic representation of the food itself.

As in any field that requires the use photographic techniques, there are many technical aspects that can be employed to create the desired image, including variations on the camera angle, the focus, the lighting, the texture and any brand names or images that must comprise the shot. These elements are supplemental to the modification of the food for correct image capture.


  1. A Website devoted to "Food porn" photography
  2. Ray, Michael (2005). Food Photography - lessons in food photography technique. Retrieved on 2007-14-06.