Plate to Pixel: Food Photography Tips

by simplylife on May 7, 2012

I recently checked-out Plate to Pixel, by Helene Dujardin, from my local library.  Two weeks was definitely not enough time to absorb all the helpful food photography tips and inspiration, however, I definitely learned a lot from this book and wanted to share what I learned!

picture source

While this book went though many topics such as camera settings, lighting and photo editing programs the section I found most helpful were in regards to composition (remember, I’m using a Point & Shoot camera and the only photo editing equipment I use is iPhoto).  Here are some of my favorite tips about composition:

  • When composing your shot, move things around; try placing things off-center and notice the difference.  What does the same picture look like from a different angle?

Maple Almond Granola

  • When using props, get creative!  I love that in the book, the author often uses a vintage ceiling tile as a background!
  • Try placing your props at different heights.
  • When taking photos, keep in mind what are you trying to tell with your photo?  Is there a mood you’re trying to show or story you’re trying to tell with the photograph?
  • I think my favorite of all tip is: use the ingredients you’re already using in the recipe as a “prop.”  It may be some sliced strawberries next to your strawberry pie, or fresh sprig of thyme next to your Thyme Biscuits.  This doesn’t cost any extra money and can really make a difference in the photo!


Chickpea & Roasted Red Pepper Salad and Apple Brie Quesadilla 

I think that Helene Dujardin does an excellent job of making this book applicable to beginner and advanced food photographers!  If you’re interested in learning more about food photography, I would definitely recommend this book!

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~What are your favorite food photography tips?

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  • Hillary

    Love this!

  • Colleen

    Oh nice!! Great post. I think I may have to check that book out of the BPL. I totally need some tips!

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape

    What an interesting post! I’m also only using a point and shoot, so this was really helpful. I think composition is key for great photos. I never know how to arrange the other items, though. Plus perception from my eye to what the camera sees is always different. Taking photos is challenging for me, but I do have to admit that there is a real sense of accomplishment when you actually take one that’s halfway decent! lol

  • Bianca Garcia

    Thanks for the tips. You produce some seriously awesome pictures!

    • Simply Life

      Thank YOU! 🙂

  • Daisy

    great tips! I definitely enjoy experimenting with different angles.

  • Marissa

    You mentioned some of the same things that I enjoyed in Plate to Pixel – it’s a great read. I’ve tried to mimic some of the book’s exact shots and am humbled by how hard it is to capture great composition – just the right angle, just the right number of props. Great post (and nice photos!) – thanks so much.

    • Simply Life

      Yes! She is SO talented!

  • Bee

    I recently bought a DSLR, but I am hopeless with it, so I’m pretty sure I use it just like a point and shoot. I neeeed to find this book, I imagine it would be endlessly helpful!

  • Erica

    Sounds like an amazing book!!!!

  • Cookie Sleuth

    I need to find this book! I use a point and shoot, too, and am more creative when it comes to baking than photo composition. (Maybe I’m too hungry when I’m taking the photos!).

  • Megan

    Love these tips. I really should invest in a book like that. My photography needs improvement.

  • meri

    I think its fun to have a farther away shot where you see the whole place setting and even table, but the macros are pretty fun too.

    • Simply Life

      Yes! I like those shots as well- ha, but that requires cleaning a larger space 🙂

  • Jolene (

    Great tips! I don’t know much about photography, but I always just look for the best light.

  • Colleen

    Oh I will definitely have to check out that book. I recently bought the book Food Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots and read it cover to cover. I still need help though!

    Also, I didn’t even realize you were using a point and shoot. Your pictures always look great!

    • Simply Life

      I haven’t heard of that book- good to know! Thanks!

  • JoJo

    Hmm since my husband is a photographer, I get a lot of tips. But if I do it the way he advises me to, I would be photographing a plate of muffins for one whole hours!! I also have a hard time deleting photos, so I hate ending up with 50 similar images.. it does help to move thing around, try many different angles until you find something that strikes you 🙂

  • Del Mar Dentist

    Simply beautiful! do you have list of what type of colors and fruits that should go together?

    • Simply Life

      I don’t, but she does give a color wheel in the book that describes complimentary colors.

  • Nicole, RD

    I loved this book! So easy to follow along and so, so helpful!

  • Kari

    What a wonderful book! I’m bookmarking this post – some great tips 🙂

  • Sutapa

    useful and helpful tips…love the post!

  • Emily @ A Cambridge Story

    I loved this book — so much great content!

  • Kristen @ Swanky Dietitian

    This is a great book!
    I purchased it a while back. I love the idea of using food props from the ingredients in your photo. When I have more time, I love to really get my photos set up nice. But sometimes I am just darn lazy. 😉

  • Brittany

    This book looks amazing. I will have to look for it! I love the addition of props that are in your food item.


    Photography is my area of struggle in the blog. I appreciate any tips

  • Mom

    This book sounds cool…I loved seeing the difference of taking things from an angle; how much more enticing 🙂 The props of parts of the meal prep was great too! I think it’s awesome that you learn and share with others!!! That’s my favorite part 🙂

  • Kristy Gardner

    oooh! i’ve been meaning to get my hands on a copy of her book! now i want it more. haha..

    when i take photos of food i try to use the ingredients i am using as well as:

    1. natural light. lots of natural indirect sunlight.
    2. themed colours. i find a color in the dish i want to highlight and then use that in my props and backgrounds.

    • Simply Life

      Great tips!

  • Laura @ Laura Lives Life

    I love these tips – I only use a point & click too and I totally use it as an excuse! I want to get this book!

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