Easy Food Photography

Food photography is fast becoming one of the most popular pastimes for folks on Instagram and other social media sites, and yet many folks think it’s beyond their budget to get professional-looking photos. If this is you, you might change your mind after watching this video by artist and videographer Jenny Woodward; she uses just a cell phone and a few handy items around the house to set up some great shots:

In this video, Woodward focuses mainly on lighting: how to choose your source, fill in the shadows/add highlights, and create softer light–all things that are basic to any kind of photography. What makes this series unique, however, is that Woodward is using only things that you’d find sitting around in a standard household for bounce, reflectors, diffusion, and light source.


  • Light Source: window
  • Camera: cell phone
  • Diffusion: light window dressing
  • Reflectors: napkin, tin foil, a sheet pan, white foam board, cosmetic mirror, etc.
photographing a cupcake

Simple Food Photography Setup

One thing in this video that wasn’t entirely correct, in my opinion, is the treatment of the flash. While it’s true that “automatic” flash photography can often ruin your food shots, the flash is in essence just another source of light. it can actually help augment many shots if you learn how to use it correctly.

food phtoography samples

Either way, you’ll need to play around considerably to get the shots you’re looking for. Let us know if you try any of these techniques and what you think of the results!

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