Macro Food Photography: The Complete Guide for Beginners

Macro Food Photography: The Complete Guide for Beginners

Macro food photography is now one of the most trendy genres of photography. Many of us love to capture mouthwatering food with our smartphones and then upload it on social media. Apart from foodies, everyone enjoys watching food with their eyes.

If shooting food images is not your passion or hobby but your business, you will not get enough help from a smartphone. Also, you must gain enough knowledge and skills in this specialized field of photography.

Don’t sweat it! This guide will help you learn to take great shots of food. With this guide, you can make your food business much more profitable. Furthermore, the following tips aren’t too hard, and you’ll get everything easily.

Let’s start with the definition of macro food photography first!

What is Macro Food Photography?

When a macro lens takes a photo for a close-up shot of any food item, it is considered macro food photography. It aims to show every detail and texture of the food so viewers can feel as if the food is right in front of their eyes.

Before getting the tips for macro food photography, it would be best to know its importance of it first.

Importance of Macro Food Photography

Food photography comes as a seriously considered issue for those who run food businesses. For example, restaurant owners need to display their menu items to make people curious and hungry for them!

It needs to look mouthwatering to them. So getting close-up shots of food items with full sharpness is important.

Furthermore, customers feel comfortable ordering food online and getting it delivered to their doorstep. The customer is left with nothing but a picture of the food item to make the order.

Therefore, customers require a clear food image that makes them feel as if the food is right in front of them. And macro food photography does exactly meet the requirement.

Unlike any standard lens, a macro lens allows capturing more detail from an extremely close distance. Also, the images come crispy.

High-quality Macro food photography is essential for achieving the following benefits:

  • To create a brand
  • Marketing food items
  • Advertising through leaflets, newspapers, recipe books, etc
  • Win the competition.

Thus, macro lenses have become an integral part of food photography.

What Equipment Do You Need for Macro Food Photography?

To do professional macro food photography for money-making purposes, you’ll need to equip yourself with the necessary gear. So be prepared to invest in food photography equipment.

Plus, you will have to practice shooting food photos with this equipment. So you should know what equipment you need for macro food photography.

Just take a look at the following list. All the essential equipment for shooting food photography is mentioned here. Try to get the equipment as early as possible.

  • Camera
  • 100 mm macro lens
  • Tripod
  • UV lens filter
  • Tethering cord

If you already have the first three gears, you may start applying the following tips for professional high-quality macro food photography.

10 Macro Food Photography Tips

Finally, we have come to the core part of the discussion- the effective tips for taking macro food photography. These can help you avoid slight amateurish mistakes.

With these tips, you will be almost halfway through learning macro food photography. So read up all the following tips one by one carefully.

1. Use A Tripod to Prevent Camera Shakes

Any photo taken with a macro lens requires a steady hand. Especially when you need a higher shutter speed, your hands also need to be super steady. Unfortunately, human hands are shaky! And a slight shake in the capturing moment causes blurry images.

Use A Tripod

Moreover, when smaller objects get larger in the frame with the help of a macro lens, a very slight blur becomes obvious and noticeable. It may cause you a problem.

To avoid this, use a tripod. The best would be to manage a tripod that offers to tilt the camera position vertically downwards. That will help you shoot from the above. Furthermore, don’t forget to use a timer to avoid shaking the camera while pressing the shutter button.

2. Use Autofocus Mode Carefully

For macro food photography, you should be extra-cautious while using autofocus.

The main problem with autofocus is that it can’t lock onto the subject successfully. The solution is to use a focus limiter on the lens while autofocusing the subject. That allows reducing the focusing distance of the lens. Try to use a bigger aperture if you want more of the subject to become sharper than just the focused area.

Another effective trick of using a macro lens is not delaying a long time between grabbing the focus and taking the shot. In short, if you want to use autofocus and make sure it’s focusing perfectly on the subject. Furthermore, make sure you are getting sharp enough in all the areas of the image regarding the demand.

3. Use A Macro Lens

Maybe it was not necessary to mention the point. Since the macro lens is essential for professional macro food photography, let me remind you that you’ll need a good macro lens. For food photography, you’ll need to get closer to the subject. That will allow you to show details of the subject from an extremely low distance.

Use A Macro Lens

A well-efficient 100mm macro lens is capable of focusing from infinity to 1:1 or even higher magnification from a distance of 30 cm. So, you will easily be able to shoot from a close distance as you want. This functionality of the macro lens is so helpful for the professional shooting of food photography.

4. Using Faster Shutter Speed

To get sharper details in food photography, you should opt for a higher shutter speed. Even professional photographers often struggle to shoot a crisp image despite using a macro lens and tripod. If you also face this issue, increase the shutter speed.

To do this accurately, you may need to customize the exposure triangle too. However, it will not be a big issue if you can ensure the proper amount of lighting. Try to get natural daylight. It will help you to maintain a well-balanced exposure triangle despite increasing the shutter speed.

5. Use Mastering Aperture

Mastering the aperture is one of the vital parts of macro food photography. You will have to have at least some sense to maintain the exposure triangle.

Use Mastering Aperture

If you are a newbie, first and foremost, all you need to do is experiment with your lens and camera. Because mastering the perfect aperture will require you to have a good understanding of your lens.

You can start with an aperture of f/4.5 and go up to f/22. and shoot from different distances. Deeply notice the change and get an idea about the range that produces blurry images. Then, you will get to know the appropriate range of aperture considering the distance between the camera and the subject.

6. Understanding Depth of Field

For macro food photography, understanding the depth of field (DOF) is very crucial. Simply put, depth of field refers to the distance between the closest and farthest objects that appear sharp in a photo. For macro photography, DOF mainly depends on just two factors. They are aperture value and magnification.

Depth of Field

The magnification means the ratio between the size of a subject that is projected on the sensor and the actual size of the subject in the real world. If the sensor is larger, the depth of field will be shallower at a given aperture. You need to understand the rule first and then apply it.

7. Background Inspiration

Creative food photography is always appreciable to the foodie people. If you want to entice foodie customers and win the competition, you will have to be tricky. Using creative backgrounds for macro food photography is an effective idea to get eye-catchy photos.

Background Inspiration

Choosing the perfect color as the background for food would also make it appear more delicious. However, try to use different types of colors that don’t match the food color. There are tons of background ideas you can easily find on the internet. Target several great ideas that would work great with the food item you want to display.

8. Be Closer You Get To Your Subject

Getting closer to the subject is the main function of any kind of macro photography. For macro food photography, it is so important to get closer to the food. Simply, the closer you get to the food, the more details you will see. And food customers want to see the food images as if they were in their hands.

Food customers prefer to see food images from a close distance to get more details of the food. Also, close-up shots of food look yummy!

9. To Use Focal Point

The focal point is the main part of an image that draws the viewer’s attention. The focal point allows for highlighting and emphasizing any specific part of the image. So this is very crucial to make the proper use of focal points. For this, choose the right focal point to convey your message to the viewer.

Using a narrow depth of field is an effective way to focus on your subject perfectly.

Everything in the image gets blurry outside of the focal point area. The blurry part of the image helps to emphasize the main subject that remains at the focal point.

10. Macro Food Photography Editing

If your goal is to create a brand, then professional macro food photography won’t be enough. You should use macro food photo editing services too. That will allow you to make your food images even more professional and presentable for newspapers, magazines, and recipe books. That will help you enormously in branding your food business.

There are lots of professional photo editing services available online these days. You can get some magical services from them at a low price. The outsourcing process is also easy. And you can easily obtain high-quality photo editing services from them.


What settings should I use for macro food photography?

Set your camera with a lower ISO, faster shutter speed to increase the sharpness of your macro food photography.

What is the best lens to use for macro food photography?

A 100mm macro lens would be a great option for macro food photography.

What light should I use for food photography?

Natural light is the best lighting option for food photography. However, you may need to diffuse the natural light to avoid unwanted shadows.

Why is composition important in food photography?

With a good composition in mind, you can set the story of your image and draw the viewer’s attention. Thus, you can make people want to check out your food photos.

Final Verdict

We have discussed all the important aspects of macro food photography. Follow the tips, keep practicing and experiment for a few days, you will be knowledgeable enough to teach the same thing to others.

The only thing you need is patience and a sense of interest. This will turn into a play for you once you are done, and you will start to enjoy it. Good Luck.

This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small commission only when you make a purchase using my link. Read the full disclosure here.

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Amy Grace

Amy Grace, a devotee writer of Clipping Path Studio, has long experience in the commercial photography field. Merging competency and skill in her profession, she has nailed the task up to the mark and has helped a lot of entrepreneurs create their brands. Aside from photography, Amy is involved in photo retouching work as well. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram.

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