Beautiful photographs are essential to a successful food blog. We eat with your eyes, so no matter how amazing your chocolate chip cookie recipe is, no one is going to click on it if your picture is dark and blurry. Whether you are just starting out or food blogging full time, you can always benefit from improving your pictures.
Choose Your Camera
You don't need the most expensive camera to take beautiful pictures, but you do need to understand the camera you have. Even if you are just starting out with the camera on your phone, play around with it. Try the different settings and editing options. If you are using a manual camera, review the basic settings and experiment with the aperture and shutter speed.
What lighting you choose will depend on your blogging schedule. Many bloggers (myself included) believe natural light is gold. Taking pictures directly next to a window ensures that you will have bright and airy photographs. However, if you are working a full time job and must do your blogging at night you still have options. A daylight bulb provides natural-looking light in a darkened room.
Rule of Thirds
Create balance and interest in every shot by following the rule of thirds. Basically, your subject should not be in the center of the pictures. When looking through your camera's view finder, imagine a grid of 9 squares (3x3). Ideally your subject should be taking up 2 of the 3 squares, rather than directly in the middle square. This is more pleasing to the eye and makes the picture much more interesting for the viewer.
You can create the mood for your photographs with the right background. Do you want them to be light and airy? Then a plain white background will do. Are you going for romantic and serious? Then maybe a darker background like an espresso wood table is best.
My favorite part of food photography is the styling. Have fun with it, but remember that less is more. You want the focus to be on your dish, not the bright napkins you spread over the table. Try adding props that would naturally be there. For example, if you are including a bottle of wine in the picture, consider keeping the cork and corkscrew present to give your picture an authentic feeling, like the reader is right there having dinner with you.
Share Your Pictures
From Instagram to Pinterest, there are so many avenues for sharing your blog posts, and an eye-catching picture can make all the difference. Make a goal to consistently post your food pictures to your social media accounts, as well as recipe-sharing sites such as Tastespotting, Foodgawker and Healthy Aperture. Many food bloggers have seen a post "go viral" after being accepted to one of these sites.
Most importantly, have fun with your blog's photography. The more you practice, the more you'll improve, so please do not get hung up on creating Pinterest-worthy pictures from day one. My early photographs are certainly cringe-worthy, but it's amazing to see the difference now.