Menu Photography Shoot

Fll Menu cover photo

Menu Photography Shoot

I think the key to good commercial food photography is the ability for the food photographer to make the food look as appetizing as possible.  That sounds like a “given”, but most food photographers concentrate more on making a “pretty picture”, than on making the food look as good as possible.

The way for a food photographer to make the food look as good as possible is to create: 1. shape 2. texture 3. pretty picture.  Yes, I’m saying that, especially when making menu-type food photographs, the photographer needs to worry less about making pretty pictures and more about translating what the food actually looks like.  Yes, it helps to make the photo look attractive, but what’s more important is to allow the viewer to see the shape and texture of the food itself.

So, if you’re a food photographer, and the time comes to make a compromise between “pretty and information, it’s a good idea to lean in the direction of conveying information.


  1. Dan Erb · August 5, 2016

    Hi Michael:
    Waw that is a big, complex set. I would like to see the set and lights for that.
    I have a “little 7″ not a ” Big 10″ and I can’t see how I could light all those different items. It looks like there are some mirrors in there.

    I would also like to see you expand on the theme of information sometime.
    Good to see you writing again.

    • Michael Ray · August 8, 2016


      I’m not sure what you mean by “expand on the theme of information”… Please explain. The lighting on this set is a little different than my usual one. The primary light is a medium box and I’m using the 10″ to bounce into the mirrors only. I actually block off the 10” from lighting the set, and make it so the light skims above the set and just hits the mirrors. That way, I get the best of both worlds, a soft main light, and the texture and illumination of the spot ,where I need it.

      And don’t be afraid to let the light fall off and not cover the set sometimes. Look and see if you like it. It might turn out to be one of those “happy accidents”

      Thanks for the comment


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