How to photograph food – tips from a Condé Nast mission winner

She runs an event company, is married and has 2 boys. She loves photography and along with interior design and gardening that’s one of her hobbies. Recently she won Condé Nast’s Mission “Special dinners and their preparation”, which makes her a professional photographer. Right? Wrong. Susanne Hegbart is a Foaper, a photo enthusiast whose photos are being licensed by small and big companies, like Condé Nast, a world leading publishing house.

Today Susanne Hegbart (@susanne_hegbartfdtho) shares her tips about food photography, a specially tough subject for amateur photographers. Her winning photo has been picked out of 860 beautiful and yummy photos submitted to the mission, so we believe that her words of advice will be useful for many Foapers out there who are challenging themselves to improve their photography skills.

Shooting food and making it looks as delicious in a photo as it is in real life is not easy. You know that… In fact, professionals in the ad industry will fake their food.  What you see in food ads is many times not really food. It’s chemicals, sprays and paint. Well, we hope not to disappoint you. In fact, you don’t need to fake your food in order to take great shots. Susanne didn’t fake hers, she actually served the pasta after she took some photos of it and yes, it was delicious.

Ladies and gentlemen, we leave the word to Susanne.


Shooting food

The most important thing in shooting dishes is the light. You’ve to get to know the it and to learn how it plays off the food. If you are using natural light, experiment with different times during the day and with the direction of the light.

Never use a pop-up flash, it creates harsh highlights and shadows.

Stabilize your camera. If you can’t use a tripod, try to attach it to a chair or table.

Get really close. Most of the food looks good when only one serving is in focus.

Play with the light, take many shots and pick the best one later.

Shooting food is very much about the details. Use a neutral background, beautiful plates and other exciting details.

Learn the settings of your camera and what lenses to use. To take that shot I used a Nikon D7000 and natural light.

Most importantly, have fun and be creative!


Useful piece of gear

Use a tripod to get sharp shots with macro lens.

The most useful thing you can get is a collapsible reflector with a white side and a gold or silver side. It sounds advanced but it’s easy and it will let you fill in areas of your shot that are dark with the reflector reflecting some of the light. Get a friend to hold it or put your camera on a tripod.



Name: Susanne Hegbart

Age: 43 years old

Lives in Lidingö, Sweden

Family: Husband and 2 children (boys 5 and 8 years) and a dog

Self-employed since 1997, owner and managing partner in an event company and a lifestyle shop (Planera AB and Planera Skafferi).

My interests are: my family, photography, interior design, gardening and my dog. I’ve been shooting pics more devotedly for four years.

Joined Foap: June 2014.

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