Food Styling

Best Angles For Food Photography

March 2, 2021

Deciding what angle your food should be photographed is key to ensuring a successful image.

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The best angles for food photography can be confusing. Deciding what angle your food should be photographed is key to ensuring a successful image. In fact, the angle is one of the first decisions you want to make. Even before cooking the recipe and food styling. PHOOD takes you through the three main angles used in photography and when to use them.

But before deciding on an angle, here a a few questions to ask yourself:

  1. Does the finished dish have height?
  2. Which angle shows off all the ingredients?
  3. Does the top of the finished dish have an interesting pattern or design that can only be showcased from a higher angle?
  4. How many plates do I need to show?
  5. Do I need to show depth? Eg. portion size.

Once you have the answers to these questions, then deciding which angle to use is pretty simple. Let’s go through the three main angles commonly used.

Overhead, Aerial, or 90° Angle

best angles for food photography
Food shot from an aerial or overhead angle. Camera is parallel to the set up from above.

The aerial, or birds eye angle, is one of the most popular ways to photograph food. This is when the camera is looking down on the food and the angle is 90° to the food. This type of image is also known as a flat lay and works great for the following scenarios:

  • a table scene where you need to capture many dishes together and all of them are in sharp focus
  • food that is flat
  • food that has interesting designs on the top

20°- 80° Angle

best angles for food photography
Any angles between 20-80 degrees works well when you want to show depth of a dish or when the top and side are both interesting.

This is a great angle—if not one of the best angles for food photography—to highlight how three dimensional your food is and includes all the angles between aerial and front on. If your food has an interesting design on top and also has depth, this angle is a perfect in between. This angle works great for:

  • recipes that are in bowls
  • beverages
  • dishes with interest on the top as well as the side

Straight on or 0° Angle

best angles for food photography
For this angle, you camera is shooting straight into your dish and is great to show off height.

This is when the camera is looking straight into the food or parallel to one face of the dish you’re shooting. The whole plane of focus will be perfectly sharp to the camera. In turn, your background will have beautiful bokeh and be blurred out. This angle works great for the following:

  • recipe with multiple layers
  • dishes with height
  • props with depth eg. deep bowls

Whilst some foods look great from any angle, there are some dishes where only a specific angle will work. Deciding on the best angles for food photography can take practice. Always look at your dish from all angles thought the viewfinder to see which looks best to camera. Even once you have a hero angle in mind and have taken a few shots, keep exploring other angles. You never know when you might find something interesting.

If you want to learn more about the best angles for food photography, how to achieve the best compositions, we have a whole module dedicated to this in our course on mastering food photography! We cover everything you’ll ever need to know including shooting in manual mode, essentials of lighting, a professional workflow method and live shoots from start to finish. Make sure you’re on our waitlist because we will only open the doors for a very limited time.

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