Food Photography: Creating the Mood

After I watched an interview with food and travel photographer Penny de los Santos last week, I knew I wanted to write a post on creating different moods with food photography. Although I enjoy looking at perfect food photos that almost always lack some personality, I also love food photography in travel magazines (think of National Geographic). Unlike carefully arranged food photos, those ‘street’ photos usually tell a story and evoke emotion.

If you don’t know what I mean, here’s an example of  a carefully arranged shot (by one of Penny’s students) and food prepared by a professionally chef (image on the left). Although one can say the mood of this photo could be described as elegant or sophisticated, to me – those are not the words I want to hear about my meal. The photo on the right creates more of a street photography mood. Although not as elegant as the first one, I have a desire to eat those shrimps right away.


Copyright Matt Wright


Copyright Penny de los Santos


I don’t know about you but I like to see and eat food that looks homey, cozy, yummy, and a bit messy. True, elegance is also nice but I am not sure how tasty it is. What about you? What kind of food photos you like to see or take? 

Nutella Cookies

Linking up to

This and That @ DebDuty.Com

Shoot. Edit. Submit. @ Through a Photographer’s Eye.

Andi @ The Hollie Rouge.

Fabulous Friday

If you have a food shot you’d like to show off, please feel welcome to link it up to Weekly Photo Stew this week too.

The rules are simple: 

1. Make your photograph about food or beverages.
2. Tell us about that photograph: share a photo tip, recipe, or a story behind it.
3. Submit the URL to your food photo post or a specific Flickr image, NOT your home page or album URL.
4. Please, include a link back to my blog in your post or Flickr image description. You can grab the button below or use a text link. Note: Linked photos without the backlink will be removed.
5. Visit bloggers on your left and your right and leave some comment love.

Food Photography Challenge



  1. says

    I never really thought about it but you are right, informal “street food” photos always look real and accessible. I guess it depends on the type of food though, those perfect little cupcakes look wonderful with the formal photography BUT I really want to eat your Nutella sandwich cookies!! :)

  2. says

    Both beautiful examples Mira. I think when I photograph food the images really speak to the type of mood I am in at the time. I do like the elegant set up but I am learning more & more how to make it a bit more “real” as I progress. Today’s post doesn’t show that, however I have been practicing & will be posting more that have that down home feel.

  3. says

    Those prawns look delicious…. they are making my mouth water.


    Ps…no food pics again this week… I shall try much harder again over the weekend.

  4. says

    Ughrrrr….. It looks like Linky Tool is having issues today. Links keep disappearing and seems the Linky Tools site is down from time to time today. I hope they resolve issues soon. My apologizes to those who linked to this post.

  5. andrea::tognoli says

    I agree 100% looking for a new way to make food photography. Would like to tell food story. Penny confirm me my idea about informal and “real” food photography and you confirm me it too.
    Thanks and sorry for my bad english.
    An italian photographer.