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South Africa, Pretoria, June 2020 – Capital Hotel School has had the privilege to work along side Claudia Cantante, a passionate and adventurous Pretoria-based photographer, specializing in weddings, lifestyle and portraiture. Claudia is a perfectionist which is evident in her work, as her photographs are nothing short of extraordinary. Today she shares with us her top tips on how to better your food photography for social media.

Transform those Images

Food photography, is usually viewed as one of the more intimidating genres of photography. However, with a little guidance and some basic tips, you can be well on your way to showcasing some of your favorite dishes with top class images.

If you are lucky enough to own or have access to a camera, ideally this is the route you would want to go. Alternatively, a lot of the newer cell phone cameras are pretty powerful and can also capture incredible images.

The most important factor to keep in mind, is to unleash your creativity and have fun!

Setting the Atmosphere

The colors you incorporate into your background will enhance the mood you are looking to portray. Items such as wooden boards, granite counters, and colored placemats are great starting points for building your shot. You can also make use of kitchen items and sections of your kitchen for the background. If you are going for a clean-cut studio type feel, you can also use a black tablecloth that is propped up higher than your shot angle. Try keep your colors neutral so that you do not distract the viewer from your subject.

Styling Your Dish

When you are shooting a food item or a dish, it’s important to be attentive to the small details that contribute to the overall feel of the image. Garnishing dishes for photos, makes them more appealing to the viewer. Consider colors that will “pop” in the image. You can use ingredients that were used in the dish itself, or ingredients that complement the dish. This is all in aid of making the final image, very appetizing to the viewer!

Less is more, do not overshadow your main dish, as this needs to remain your focus point. Ensure that any herbs and ingredients are looking freshly picked, as blemished and withered food items will make your dish appear less appetizing.


I prefer to shoot food with artificial light. This means that I use strobes to achieve the look and feel presented in my images. Using artificial lighting means I have full control of the light and shadows in the image. Another great light source is the sun. By staging your “set” next to a large window, you can make use of soft natural light to light your photo. Its important to consider the time of day, when planning your shoot, as the sun will shine through different windows at different times of the day.

The Right Angles

Let your creativity flow! Try out different angles to see what type of interesting shots you can create. Make use of leading lines that guide the viewers eye to your main attraction. I enjoy 45◦ shots as well as bird’s-eye view shots. With a 45◦ angle, you can showcase the front and surface of the dish while including some side detail. Bird’s-eye view can give you those Pinterest-famous lay flat style shots, commonly used in food blogs and recipe books. Try some close-up shots to capture the texture or wider shots to include more details in the photo.


As advanced as technology is, it will rarely capture colors the way our eyes view them. I use image editing programs to enhance images. When retouching a food image, it is important to, firstly clean up the shot. The more attentive to detail you are during the actual shoot, the less clean up you will have to do. This basically means getting rid of small distractions such as crumbs, marks or even a smudge on a plate.

Secondly, you can lightly enhance colors and vibrance to make the image look as realistic and delicious as possible. Once again, less is more. A carrot should be bright orange, and not an off shade of yellow. A Tomato should be bright red, and not a dull color.

There are plenty of free user-friendly applications that offer basic photo editing, which you can use to experiment with. Large social media applications, such as Facebook and Instagram also offer these, in app, so you can edit your images before sharing them with your friends and family.

“I love the opportunities that photography creates in connecting people from all walks of life.

Life is an adventure and I aim to document and capture every aspect of it, leaving only happiness, good images, and magical moments along the way.

Head over to my social pages and stay up to date with my latest work.”



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Photo Credits: Claudia Cantante Photography