Find out how To batch Shoot Your Food Photography Like a Food Blogger
So far, my posts about food photography have covered some food photography basics, like:
- Taking better Food photos on your phone
- Editing them in my favourite free photo editing app (VSCO)
- Keeping up a beautiful feed through the darkest depths of winter
- Upping your food photography game by investing in the most informative books on the topic.
Now I’m expanding on one of the tips and tricks I’ve shared before: batch shooting your food photography.
My food photography style has evolved since I first started my blog at the start of 2016.
I’ve learned a lot about food photography and developed my own style. I favour light and airy photos with colourful pops of food over dark and moody or bright and perky styles.
Affiliate disclosure: his post uses affiliate links. If you purchase products or services via an affiliate link I'll get a small commission (which supports the running of this site) and it won't cost you anything extra. I'll specifically point out each affiliate link in the post. You can read my full policy here.
What is batch shooting?
Batch shooting has really helped me to build a polished and cohesive style across my Instagram and other social feeds, and here on the blog.
Whether you're shooting your food photography for a blog and 'gram, or as a food business bootstrapping tasty shots of your products or menu, batching your food photography makes the whole process easier.
Task batching is a common productivity hack. Bloggers, 'solopreneurs' and other one-woman-bands use task batching to get things done more efficiently.
Without task batching, you might approach blogging by writing a single blog post. You'd then shoot the photos for that post, edit those photos, and write and schedule social media promotion for that blog post, before going back to square one to start writing a second blog post.
Batching lets you group similar tasks together, so you're not task-switching. In this example, you'd plan out your next 4-6 blog posts, write a quick draft of each of them in one session, then plan and shoot photos for all of them in a single session, then edit all those photos in one session, etc.
Doing all your similar tasks together in one batch essentially makes you more productive. Read more about the psychology of task batching/task switching here.
Here's the strategy I use to batch-shoot my food photography and shoot 2-4 weeks worth of food photos for my blog and social media in just a few hours:
How to batch shoot your food photography like a food blogger
Set aside a time to shootSet aside half a day to a full day to batch shoot your food photography. This should give you plenty of time to egt all the shots you need (and then some) without panicking. Its best to pick a time during the day, so you can work in the natural light.
Decide what to shootDo a little research and plan exactly what you want to shoot in your batch shooting session I usually aim for 4-5 dishes, plus a couple of extras (like groups of ingredients or setup shots)
Ensure you have everything you needMake a list and gather together everything you’ll need for the shoot. This should include ingredients, props and backdrops, as well as ensuring you have fully charged camera batteries (oh, the pain of setting up an entire shoot only to realise you’re almost out of battery!).
PrioritiseWork out what are the most urgent or important shots to capture, and get them done first. If you have a rew recipe coming out next week, or a new menu item launching this weekend, get that shot before you move on to the ‘nice-to-have’s.
Don’t try to do everything at onceIt’s easy to think ‘well, everything is essential’ and get started on #AllOfTheThings. You’ll probably end up outfacing yourself. Take it one at a time and stick to the plan (that’s not to say that you can’t start a dish, then shoot a different one, then come back and shoot the first, or capture that pretty corner of a baking tray. Just stop yourself before you get completely sidetracked.
Pre-cook, where you canThings like baked goods can usually be made the day before shooting, so where you’ve got the opportunity to make your day easier, do it! Even simple prep like chopping veggies can be a lifesaver when you’re on a tight schedule.
Set up your first shootIf it’s something that requires further prep or cooking, set the shoot up first and check your layout, lighting, etc. before you light the stove. At this stage, a few shops of the set-up or the key ingredients can be done quickly, and add a little interest to your social feeds.
Don’t mess with the images until the end of the dayObviously take a look at them to make sure you’re generally happy, but then leave any editing until you’ve snapped everything. You can edit after the daylight has gone, but its much harder to shoot by lamplight.
Shoot in natural light where you canI know I bang on about this, but that’s because it’s important! Plan your batching session for a day, not an evening. I tend to schedule a batch shooting session into my calendar one Saturday each month or so.
Don’t just shoot the dishesI know I just warned you not to get distracted, but a few shots of ingredients or prep, along with some other relevant photos (try a few shots of recipe books or notes, artfully laid out utensils, coffee & stationery in use, or vignettes of pretty spots around the house or venue) can keep your Insta feed interesting
Play with angles and combinationsDon’t set up a shot and then only get a couple of pictures. Play with flatlays, side-on shots and 45-degree angles, move or swap-out your props, backdrops and dishes to get a couple of different setups, and try longer shots with everything in the frame, as well as close-ups of a corner of a dish, or the fold of a cloth.
My Food Photography Batch Shooting Setup
Here’s how I actually set up a physical batch shoot.
My setup generally goes something like this:
- Natural light (from the window)
- White card project display board (affiliate link) used as a cheap reflector to diffuse shadows
- IKEA Lack table (affiliate link) as a surface to shoot on. Its low enough that I easily get a full flatlay without doing any acrobatics, and takes up relatively little space when not in use (the legs screw on and off, so it can even store flat)
- I use a few different backgrounds in each shoot, to keep things interesting. I have a few foam boards (affiliate link) covered with sticky-backed plastic (like this marble effect or this pale wood effect (affiliate links)), as well as scarves and fabric that double as backdrops and props
- Keep other props handy – bowls and plates, pretty utensils, and key ingredients or garnishes always work well in food shots.
- I tend to set up using a prop in place of the actual dish, to get a good idea of how the shoot will look before I set the food out.
- I use my Manfrotto compact 3-way tripod (affiliate link) to shoot
flatlays, and a combination of handheld shooting,and my Manfrotto (affiliate link) minipodto shoot from other angles.
This post has shown you how to batch shoot your food photography.
Batch shooting your food photography is a great way to shoot a cohesive set of styled images for your food blog, website and social feeds.