Recipe for a Successful Food Photo Shoot

Posted by Mitchell Communications Group on September 20, 2016


Photo shoots can be tricky—getting the right people, equipment and props can be a challenge, especially when under deadline and on a budget. When food is the subject of the photo shoot, the job gets even more complex.


Below is a list of some key considerations for your next photo shoot, brought to you by Mitchell art directors Allyson McGuire and Bobby Chamberlain.


1. Be Prepared 

  • Prepare a detailed shot list and have the prop stylist create a prop list and plan for styling each shot. The food styling team will also need to determine a supply list and plan for purchasing fresh produce and food items.
  • Develop a shoot schedule and include some flexibility for expected scheduling changes.


2. Know the Brand 

  • All team members, especially the art directors, need to be brand experts. Know the ins and outs of the brand’s consumer, demographics, color palette, style, objectives and goals.
  • Understand what props, lighting and surfaces to use to engage target customers and ultimately sell product and create brand loyalty.


3. Proper Props

  • If you think you have enough props, think again! Have a planned set of props for each shot on the list, but know that something is always bound to fall short of looking perfect. Having available options that fit into the branding as back-ups are a necessity.
  • You can’t have too many tables. Use small tables for staging upcoming shots. Organize props on longer banquet tables. Keep a table for props that have been used in previous shots to help you avoid reuse.


4. The Crew

  • Analyze the scope and budget for your shoot. In addition to a photographer, consider a prop stylist, food stylist and art director/creative director.
  • Make sure to keep the client involved in the shoot.


5. The shot

  • Shoot when the food is ready. Food surfaces can change and if you’re not ready when the food is, your dish may look unappetizing.
  • Make sure food has the right lighting, reflecting the time of day that it would be served, and make sure food is adequately lit to show proper texture and detail to maximize appetite appeal.


Topics: Creative