Food Styling Tips

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A handful of simple food photography styling tips to take your photos to the next level!

Food Styling Tips | Food Bloggers Central

Hey guys! It’s been a couple of months since my last post here!! Still alive and kicking on FBC Facebook, but to be honest, between the FBC Conference in LA in November then the Christmas rush, it’s been madness over at RecipeTin Eats!

So I was taking a bit of a breather from the FBC website. 🙂

Now I’m BACK!!! And to kick off the new year, here are some of my fave styling tips!

I used to – and sometimes still do – fall into the trap of getting too caught up in styling my food. Not only does it drag out the shoot time, but it can make my photos look too staged.

So it’s almost as a reminder to myself that I’m sharing these food styling tips with you guys! Make our lives easier, make our food photos look better. 😉

1. 75/25 rule – Those of you who follow me on SnapChat (Nagi @ RecipeTin Eats) have seen me demonstrate this. 🙂 When piling food onto a plate, what I do is just randomly spoon 3/4 of the food on, without worrying about styling. Then I spoon the remaining 1/4 on with slightly more care, and use chopsticks (it’s my Japanese blood) to rearrange as required.

The key tip here is that I don’t use tweezers to place every item of food in my shots! Dump for 3/4, then take more care for the last part!


2. Au Naturel – Sometimes, real life works out so well. For my Barbecue Ribs post, I actually styled a plate of ribs on a cutting board specifically for the photo. But it looked so fake. There weren’t enough smears, the ribs were too deliberately placed.

I turned around and saw the baking tray that I actually cut the ribs on. They were perfect. Smears and all. 🙂

Barbecue-Ribs_8 SQ

3. THROW. Don’t place! Grab a handful, and throw it on your set. Scoop it up, and drop them, letting it scatter everywhere. Whatever you’re shooting, start by throwing, rolling and dropping, then make minor adjustments as required.

Trust me. It will look so much more natural than placing each item, one at a time.


4. AIM to be able to see all the key ingredients! I know I’ve written about this before. But it’s a key tip! Where possible, make sure you can see all the key ingredients in a dish.

Follow rule #1, then adjust!

Easy Classic Chinese Beef Stir Fry_1

5. SHOW OFF the best feature of the dish! Cheesy, saucy, spicy, melt-in-your-mouth beef, fresh, colourful….whatever the key feature of your dish is, make sure you get a shot that captures the essence of it!

Broccoli-Cheese-Soup_2 Creamy-Lemon-Chicken_2

PS All my Action Shot tips are in my book! 😉

6. Scatter from a height – the best way to create an even scattering of herbs and other garnishes that don’t clump and clutter or hide too much of the food is to scatter from a height.

Sure, you might miss your food. That’s not a bad thing! The sliced scallions and peanuts around this Chinese Chicken Salad are the garnishes that missed. I like…. 😉


So there you have it! A handful of my top styling tips. 🙂

Remember: The most beautiful food photos are those that look completely effortless. Natural and authentic.

So don’t TRY TOO HARD! Go natural, remember these tips. N x

If you liked this post, share it with your friends!

Nagi from @recipe_tin shares her top food photography styling tips! #FBC Click To Tweet

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The Food Photography Book by Nagi from RecipeTin Eats


  1. sugarsaltmagic says

    That photo of the lychees is stunning. I would frame that one. Gorgeous 🙂 Thanks for the great tips too

  2. says

    Nagi, I just want to say that I have read through this entire site, from start to finish, and it has been an absolute gift. My husband and I recently launched our blog, Delicious on a Dime, and I have learned so much from Food Bloggers Central. Please come back and teach us more amazing things! Thank you for everything you’ve done!

  3. says

    These are GREAT tips! I’m 3 months into food blogging so these tips were incredibly helpful. You’re right, don’t try too hard. I think that’s been the biggest stress for me… trying too hard when styling the food. I’ll remember to make it natural :)!

  4. says

    Food styling is pretty much my favorite part of the job! 😛
    Well and eating what I’ve made.
    And other people eating what I’ve made.
    I pretty much love the whole job!
    Thanks for the great tips!
    ~Krysten (@momnoms)

  5. Nicole says

    Hi Nagi, Great site! All your thumbnails look great. What software do you use to put the printing into the picture? And also with the ones that are just text? It’s probably a rookie question but I have no idea how to do this.

  6. einepriselecker says

    These are great tips, as usual ? I’ve already learned so much from you, it’s awesome. I made pics of a ratatouille yesterday and cannot stop looking at them. Several times a day I grab my phone and check them out, haha! It’s like boobs for a guy ? I really appreciate your help, thanks a lot!
    Cheers, Marsha

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