Finding Inspiration As a Food Photographer

Jan 25 • 2021

You’ve probably felt it before: that “BLAH” feeling you get when you go to shoot a scene and you just…got nothing.

Because SAME.

Sometimes, on full shoot days I panic a little because I think “UM…how am I going to get inspired enough to get through a full shoot day? How am I going to think of enough new, original ideas? How am I going to create something that’s interesting and unique and beautiful?”

And when you put it like that…it may sound like a daunting task. But creativity is kind of like a muscle, and the more you work it out, the stronger it becomes! 

That’s why I’m sharing some of my best tricks for sparking your imagination so you can work out that creativity muscle and become an even better food photographer. Try these techniques out, and you might even see your own unique food photography style develop out of it!!!

1. Stop looking at food photos…STAHP! ✋

If your ONLY source of inspiration is other food photos — it’s easy to get in a serious creative rut. 😬

Only pulling inspiration from images that already exist in the food photography space can make it extra difficult to come up with new concepts (and all too easy to accidentally copy another photographer’s work!). This is why looking at different types of visual media can be soooooo helpful. You’ll create new connections that inspire your own food photography!

For example, try following some graphic designers on Instagram (we are especially in love with :,, and, or watch a beautiful film (like Moonlight, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, or Roma), or even head out of the house to spend an afternoon strolling through a local art museum (there are some WILD paintings in museums…definitely a place to kindle your imagination!!!). 

2. Use our trusty pal, Pinterest!

Ah, Pinterest…a food photographer’s heaven. 😍

Here’s an exercise to try next time you’re feeling particularly stuck: head over to Pinterest and type in the name of the subject of your photo, followed by “photography.” For example: “brownie photography” or “green bean photography.” You’ll end up with a TON of photos in various styles. 

Here’s the trick though: don’t just copy other food photographers work. Pick something specific about a photo that you like and see if there’s a way you can incorporate that *idea* into your own work. Think about colors, shapes, and general ideas! 

Love the way that muffin lays on its side? Don’t just put a muffin on its side in your next photo — think about why you liked it. Because it was playful? Because it added movement? Pick out the WHY and incorporate that into your next shoot. 

3. Give yourself parameters.

Nothing is more daunting than an empty canvas. A blank page. Or in our case: an empty backdrop. 

A simple trick for making yourself more creative is to actually give yourself more rules to follow! For example, I like to pick a specific mood for a shoot so I only have so many options to choose from when it comes to props, styling, and colors. I ask myself: Is this shoot simple and monochromatic? Heavily-styled? Farmhouse-chic? 

Giving yourself parameters means you have less decisions to make, and ultimately makes the whole process easier and more like a fun challenge!

Stoked to try out our tips? Tag us on Instagram @foodtographyschool and let us know if you used them! 

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