Typing #food into Instagram's search bar returns more than 450 million posts, making the search for food photographers on this social platform somewhat akin to "shooting fish in a barrel." Yet, while the number of followers to the most popular feeds surpasses the million mark, when it comes to the topic of food, it's a common occurrence for cookbook authors, recipe creators, food stylists, and celebrity chefs to add the term "photographer" to their skill set, thereby magnifying the popularity of this flavorful subject.
To assemble this current selection, we tried to strike a balance between Instagram popularity and newer or more undiscovered photography talents, always with an eye to a certain quality of vision and a unique point of view. We've organized this short list alphabetically by first name and, following the tradition of the potluck supper, we asked each person featured to offer up one (or more) of their top food photography feeds.
As we ease into the midsummer stretch, we offer you this online feast for the eyes and the appetite.
1. Alana Haldan was spending most of her time behind a computer, working as a graphic designer, when she decided to try a vegan diet. This simple decision opened her eyes to the vast realm of food and nutrition and led to her career reinvention as a vegan chef.
Her passion for plant-based cooking, fermentation, and raw foods fuels her food blog "Sprouts And Krauts," as well as her posts to the @sproutsandkrauts feed. "When I first started my blog, I quickly realized my photography wasn't at the level I wanted it to be," she admits. "So, I set out to educate myself and improve my skills."
Today, Haldan's colorful close-ups highlight what she refers to as "the often-overlooked beauty of seasonal fruits, vegetables, and plant-based recipes. I focus on healthy, fresh ingredients that are vibrant, colorful, and full of life."
Rather than utilizing natural light, she employs primarily off-camera flash with her Canon 5D Mark IV and two lenses: the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L and EF 100mm f/2.8L macro. "I love my Godox AD600Pro," she enthuses. "Depending on what mood I'm going for, I use either a Broncolor 150 cm Octabox or Impact Luxbanx Duo 12 x 36" strip softbox. My Manfrotto tripod and Impact C-stand are also indispensable," she says.
Haldan's number one tip for improving food photos is to really understand your light source. "Whether you're shooting with natural or artificial light, start by using one large, diffused light source coming in from the side, and make sure other light sources, such as overhead room lights, are turned off," she says. "This is a great starting point to create photos that will highlight the beauty of the food and make your dishes look as appetizing as possible."
Favorite Foodie Tag: Haldan taps the feed @ful.filled by Bella Karragiannidis as a favorite. "I'm endlessly inspired by her use of colors and textures, and how she conveys such mood and emotion through her photos," she says. "Finding her account opened my eyes to a whole world of food photography that I didn't even know existed!"
2. Billed on Instagram as a "guy who likes to cook," the appetizing concoctions of London-based food blogger Ali have earned him nearly 16,000 followers during the four years he's been posting to his @alicooksfood feed.
A minimalist when it comes to photo gear, Ali uses only his iPhone, explaining, "I started off with an iPhone 6s, but I'm now using an iPhone X." He differentiates between "taking pictures of food," which he's done for as long as he's owned a camera phone, and "food photography" as a higher level of quality he's achieved in the past few years.
Although he hesitates when asked about photographic style, Ali offers the word "achievable," describing his work as "a dish that looks good but that anyone can attempt. I've had a lot of beginning food bloggers contact me to say my photography has inspired them to take better shots," he says.
Ali recommends three elements to help ensure successful pictures. "Natural lighting is key," he insists. "Also, a fairly neutral background and a white plate is usually a good starting point. It allows the food to stand out best. However, I do like incorporating a lot of color into my shots. I'll add a napkin or a different background, especially if the food lacks color itself."
Favorite Foodie Tag: Ali tags the feed @dyutima_myfoodlens by Singaporian architect turned food photographer Dyutima Jha as a favorite, calling her "a real-life food photographer / stylist. Her photos are like pieces of art, so intricate and detailed," he says. "There's always so much going on, you kind of get lost in her photos."
3. Andrew Scrivani has been photographing food in his studio in New York's East Village since 2002, utilizing Canon 5D Mark IV bodies with Canon and ZEISS lenses. He refers to his painterly style as hyper-real, explaining, "I use light for dramatic effect, and I try to achieve an idealized version of food in reality."
In addition to the stills featured on his @andrewscrivani feed, he is an accomplished commercial director and visuals consultant to the food industry, an experienced food stylist, a gifted teacher of photography and styling, and author of the food photography handbook, That Photo Makes Me Hungry. In 2016, Scrivani presented "The Business of Food Photography" at the B&H Event Space.
For best results when photographing food, he offers these three tips. "First, try to use natural light in a crosswise or backlit configuration. Second, keep it simple and make the food the star. Third, don't try to be precious. You want food to appear as it does in the real world... not a studio."
Favorite Foodie Tag: Scrivani is impressed by the photos of Canadian Instagrammer @rossanorusso. "He is just starting his professional career but has such a distinct style and conviction in his imagery that I really admire his work," Scrivani says. "We have become friendly, and in getting to know him I really am impressed with his storytelling ability. His images are a real reflection of his lifestyle. It's always clear that the narrative he is showing is genuine."
4. For the many homebound cooks who have sought solace by baking artisanal bread, we offer you Anna Gabur's feed, @breadjourney. As if the long delicate process of sourdough baking weren't enough, Gabur employs unique scoring techniques to etch beautiful lacy designs onto the surface of her prepared dough, making each finished loaf a delectable treat for all the senses.
Originally from Moldova, and now based in South Bend, Indiana, Gabur uses a Canon Rebel T7 with an 18-55 mm lens to immortalize her breads in what she describes as "bright, airy photographs with warm undertones that strike a balance between pretty and appetizing."
For best results when photographing food from overhead, she insists on "lots of diffused daylight. Nothing can save a dish that was photographed under yellow kitchen lights," she says.
Favorite Foodie Tag: Gabur's favorite Instagram feed is @her_dark_materials. "Ros has a totally different style from mine but it's gorgeous," she says.
5. Originally from Bilbao, Spain, but now based in Seattle, Washington, Aran Goyoaga worked as a professional chef before turning to food writing, styling, and photography. "I look for subjects that are textural, catch shadows and have a very organic element to them," she says of her style. "Then, I look for monotone environments, and light that plays with highlights and shadows but doesn't overwhelm the subject."
Although she works with a Canon 5D for her published work, Goyoaga uses an iPhone for most of the photos on her wildly popular @cannellevanille feed. She names photographing raw ingredients as a favorite food type. "I think you have to have a craving for the food you are photographing, and an understanding of the qualities that make it interesting," she explains. "With anything in photography, it's really about how you relate to the subject, and your use of light."
Favorite Foodie Tag: Goyoaga tags the feed of commercial photographer @andreagentl, saying, "She has taught me so much about light and people."
6. According to Polish food photographer Bozena Garbinska, "The most important aspect to food photography is the Hero. It must look beautiful," she says. "Even the most beautiful props will not improve the appearance of the ugly dish you've cooked."
After photographing food for her blog over the past nine years, Garbinska says, "About two years ago, I realized that my passion is food photography. I began to consciously develop my skills every day—reading books, watching videos, taking courses and workshops, and, of course, making pictures and posting them to my @bozena_garbinska feed.
Working out of her Wrocław kitchen, she takes on a multi-faceted role as photographer, food stylist, and cook. Her camera of choice is the FUJIFILM X-T3 with either the FUJIFILM XF 16-55mm f/2.8, or her favorite, the FUJIFILM XF 80mm f/2.8 Macro.
Occasionally, she challenges herself by swapping crisp focus for a Lensbaby Composer Pro II with Edge 35 or Edge 50 Optics to achieve interesting visual effects. In autumn and winter, when the sun sets at 4:00 p.m., she adds artificial lighting, a Fomei continuous LED light with a hexagonal softbox and honeycomb grid.
While she doesn't play favorites among her edible subjects, Garbinska admits that some types of food are "more comfortable to shoot than others. Like desserts or fruit—they look fresh for a long time, and patiently endure countless attempts by a learning photographer," she says. "When I see beautiful fruit or vegetables in a store, I can't resist. I buy them mainly to make a picture, and then I wonder what to cook from it."
Favorite Foodie Tag: As Garbinska sees it, light plays a crucial role in food photography. “Photograph the light, not the dish,” she says. “Thanks to light, you can show the time of day and the atmosphere or texture of the dish, regardless from the type of light.” She tags photographer and food stylist Bea Lubas’s @bealubas feed for her “mastery of light.”
7. Brayden Lim credits the many talented chefs, restaurant owners, growers, food critics, and other industry contacts he met while working in restaurants with helping to inspire Alinea Collective, the Singapore-based studio he co-founded with food stylist Almanda Haley. "Knowing people in different sectors in the food industry helps in many immeasurable ways," he says.
Describing the collective's conceptual brand of food photography as "bold, adventurous, and unconventional," he says, "We are always looking to push boundaries and differentiate ourselves. We like to do things that other photographers wouldn't normally do when working with food—essentially—we break rules.
While Lim started out with a Canon 5D Mark II, he now uses Sony cameras, including a Sony a7R IV, a7R III, and a7R II, which he pairs with a variety of prime lenses or Sony zooms, depending on the task at hand. To light the sets of his fanciful feasts, he uses up to six Godox AD600 Pro strobes and four Aputure C300d II LED lights, depending on the type of shoot, which he pairs with a Profoto Pro-10 power pack for pictures requiring high refresh rates due to liquid or powder splashes.
Given the complexity and production value of his work, it's somewhat surprising that Lim's favorite food to photograph is the humble pizza. "To many, a pizza may seem to be merely ingredients on a bed of dough," he says, "but it is such a multi-faceted product, and it's definitely an extreme delight to shoot."
From artisanal hand-stretched dough to vibrant vegetable toppings to epic cheese pulls, he has covered it all, noting, "You just have to work these factors to your advantage to give you the style and feel that you want."
Despite a busy schedule of local and international campaigns, Lim and his team regularly post their high-style, iconoclastic food creations to Instagram's @braydenljh and @alineacollective feeds.
Favorite Foodie Tag: Lim tags the feed @stevehansenvisuals by Seattle-based photographer / director Steve Hansen as being "one of the guys that I look up to. I think the splash and crash type of shots are amazing," he says. "Being able to 'freeze' the food in motion gives a different perspective to food photography."
8. Christiann Koepke loves to create content that inspires joy and fulfillment. Intrigued by photography from an early age due to her photographer father, she says, "I've enjoyed cooking for my family and friends for as long as I can remember. My love of food inspired me to capture it in a new light, and the two passions just seamlessly connected along the way."
In addition to the delectable food photos on her @christiannkoepke feed, Koepke is founder and CEO of the social and creative agency NORR, where she is head creative director, photographer, food and prop stylist, recipe curator, and more. Alongside her incredible team, she delivers custom content to brands across multiple industries, all while maintaining a relaxed approach to photography that allows her work to shine. Early this year, she launched her third company, NORR Kitchen (www.norrkitchen.com)—a production studio turned eatery, serving exquisitely cultivated meals that elevate the everyday eating experience.
With her Canon EOS 5DS R and two lenses—the EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM and EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro—close at hand, Koepke describes her shooting style as, "Focused on capturing real life 'imperfect' moments, highlighting the different textures and colors of each recipe, preferably with the simplicity of natural light, to let the food tell its own story."
Favorite Foodie Tag: Koepke says, "I adore Ashley from @gatherandfeast. She's a beautiful person in and out and a personal friend. I love her work for so many reasons…. I mean, can we talk about the brownies she baked on April 12?!?"
9. Brooklyn, New York-based Darren Ching doesn't consider himself a "food photographer." Instead, he sees himself as "someone who uses a camera and Instagram as a visual notebook to record observations on food, the culture of eating, or documenting a particular meal or recipe."
More than just eye candy, Ching views his posts to the @brutalist_food feed as "a form of food anthropology—delving into the history, production, consumption, politics, and cultural aspects of food and eating. The words are as important as the images," he points out. "I often weave in a narrative based on food history, personal experience, family culture, or food identity."
When it comes to photo equipment, Ching is an avowed minimalist, working only with an iPhone 4 SE (an upgrade from his iPhone 4), and whatever lighting is available to him. Similarly, he often finds himself improvising to balance his phone on anything within reach. "If I'm shooting videos from above the cutting board, my cell phone is precariously balanced in a granite mortar or sitting on an old wooden box that once contained a good French wine. I'm a bit of a Luddite when it comes to technology," he admits. "In a way, this reflects my passion for handmade food, handmade kitchen tools, and antiquated recipes."
Describing his stark, unadulterated brand of imagery as being "primarily from the point of view of a cook, as opposed to an eater," Ching remarks, "I love capturing the process of cooking, the tools, and the sense of discovery I get from sourcing ingredients."
Ching's main attraction to Instagram is in the "egalitarian nature of gastronomic inspiration I get from the feeds of French Michelin-starred chefs or a Thai grannie posting home-cooked suppers," he says. But what he finds most remarkable of all "is the immediacy of being able to photograph food being prepped and posting it before I'm done eating."
Favorite Foodie Tag: Ching finds it difficult to choose a favorite, given what he terms "The immense range of food-centric IG feeds—from offbeat obscure home cooks to polished pros." Narrowing the field to two, he taps @melinahammer for her "complex lushness and casual, yet finessed compositions," and @eatlitfood by New Zealander Albert Cho, for "his solid photography, and feisty, ashamedly opinionated text."
10. Jacques Trindade is a designer at heart and by education, but his family has been involved in the food industry for generations. "My great grandfathers were 'charcutiers' and food scientists, and there are also several chefs in my lineage," he notes.
For the past three or four years, Trindade has photographed food from his Mexico City home, eating the bounty after posting the pictures to his @jacquescooksmx feed. After starting out with an iPhone, he quickly moved up to mirrorless photography, employing a FUJIFILM XT-1 and FUJIFILM XF 35mm f/1.4 lens. "I love that camera!" he says.
Using natural light and simple compositions to his full advantage, Trindade views his cozy, authentic style as reflecting "the feeling I get when people get together around a nice meal. Happiness, comfort, and a sense of communion."
His aesthetic philosophy celebrates "less is more: fewer props, less post-production, just focusing on the intrinsic beauty of a dish to make the image more approachable."
Favorite Foodie Tag: Trindade tags the @rodica_godlewski feed of Romanian born, Michigan-based food blogger Rodica Godlewski as a favorite. "She has a very whimsical approach to food photography," he says. "She's definitely not the 'less is more' type of photographer, but she pulls it out in a way that makes her images hypnotic with her chiaroscuro and mysterious mood."
11. Austin, Texas-based cookbook author and recipe creator Marie Saba tries to have fun with her food. Making puns with letter cookies and vegetables, leaving cheeky messages on pies, or printing poetry in avocado toast are just some of the things she has tried. "I like the idea of making people smile," she says, "especially during these difficult times."
Saba started out photographing her kitchen creations with an iPhone and other small digital cameras to publish on her blog. After getting her older brother's help with photos for her first cookbook, in 2008, she says, "I learned a lot during that process, and I now use a Canon 6D Mark II with a Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM lens. I'm still much more comfortable in the kitchen than behind the camera," she admits, "but I've grown to really love photography almost as much as I love cooking."
The soft, naturally lit photos populating her website and @mariesaba feed benefit from a simple set in the corner of her kitchen. A strategically placed table with a butcher block cutting board sits next to a pair of corner windows with sheer curtains that can be opened or closed.
She encourages others to "find a spot in your home with consistently good natural light and set up a little studio. Include several backdrops, a few kitchen towels or napkins, an assortment of utensils, and a white foam poster board to bounce light." Says Saba, "My favorite backdrop is a rustic wood sign I bought on sale, and I use a stack of colorful cotton napkins and kitchen towels to add softness and movement. It's much easier to get a good shot if you have everything you need in a convenient location with good light."
Favorite Foodie Tag: Saba names Dale Gray's @thedaleyplate feed as a favorite, saying, "Her photos are rich and bright and colorful. She has so much variety and manages to make everything look delicious!"
12. Maryland-based Sally McKenney has been photographing and blogging about food since 2012. "I started with very limited experience and knowledge of food photography," she says. "I'm mostly all self-taught. It's been quite the learning experience!"
After setting the oven mitts aside, McKenny grabs her Canon 5D Mark IV, swapping between three lenses based on the look she wants to achieve. She says, "I use my Canon 50mm f/1.2L for beautifully crisp images with smooth detail, the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L for zoomed-in photos without a loss of clarity, and my EF 100mm f/2.8 L macro lens for my dramatic and detailed close-up shots."
Turning to the computer, she touts post-processing as "essential in breathing life and color into your photos. I spend hours editing my photos in Adobe Lightroom, much longer than taking and styling the photos themselves," she explains. "Adjusting the shadows, highlights, and white balance can dramatically improve how your finished photos look."
McKenney's bright, colorful, crisply focused vision of baking and dessert has earned her great acclaim, with three cookbooks to her credit and more than 500,000 followers on her @sallysbakeblog Instagram feed.
Favorite Foodie Tag: McKenney names Monique at @peaches2peaches as "one of my favorite food photographers. Her style is much different from mine," she says, "but her use of color keeps me inspired. I love how she works movement and energy into each of her photos, too."
13. Sarah Kermalli first started an Instagram feed to promote her work in Pilates. "One day, I posted a food picture and it was received pretty well," she remarks. "I started following other foodies and studying food styling. Five years later, I'm hooked on food photography and enjoy learning as much as I can about it."
The vegan and plant-based delicacies on her @sculptedkitchen feed fluctuate between bright and colorful and dark and rustic. "My style changes often with my mood," she admits. "I love finding props in antique stores and this influences my pictures."
According to Kermalli, "You don't need a fancy camera for successful pictures, but I'm really happy with my Canon 5D Mark IV," she admits. She switches between two lenses, an EF 50mm f/1.4 for overheads and an EF 100mm f/2.8L macro for close ups. A Manfrotto tripod helps make her pictures crisp and precise. "I also sometimes use a diffuser, if the light is too bright," she adds.
Although Kermalli enjoys photographing anything food, her favorites are fruits, particularly raspberries and figs. The items she finds most challenging to work with are savory foods, salads and food with neutral colors. "Fruits offer endless options for both photography and for creating delicious recipes," she says. "And, although it's hard to make savory food look delicious, the more you practice, the better you get!
Favorite Foodie Tag: When it comes to picking a favorite feed, Kermalli hedges, saying, "There are so many. Everyone always offers a different angle. I love @365cleaneats. Her photography is so captivating, and her treats are so delicious. I also love the breathtaking photos of @linda_lomelino. And @thekitchenmccabe is stunning, too."
14. It has been ten years since Los Angeles-based photographer and prop stylist Teri Fisher teamed up with food stylist and recipe developer Jenny Park to create the Spoon Fork Bacon blog and, shortly thereafter, an Instagram feed of the same name. "Aside from the blog, we both work professionally in the field, shooting mostly advertising for a variety of clients," Fisher notes.
Their @spoonforkbacon feed features richly detailed concoctions created in the studio using a Canon 5D Mark IV stabilized with a Foba stand. "We like bright light so we can see all the details, but still keep contrast," says Fisher. "We also like to use props that support the food, and not distract."
Topping the list of Fisher's favorite foods to photograph is pasta. "It works great overhead, or shot into, and I love doing close ups of saucy noodles," she says. When it comes to shooting tips, she suggests, "Experiment with multiple angles on every dish you shoot. Sometimes an angle I didn't think would work turns out to be the best option."
Favorite Foodie Tag: Fisher and Park are fans of @the_bojon_gourmet. "Her images always have beautiful colors," they note, "and the food always has some action and movement to it."
15. While working as a visual designer for a European food delivery company, Yessica Duque was asked by her boss to step in as a freelance photographer during a national campaign. "He knew about my passion for food, and had the feeling I'd do a great job," she explains. "I fell in love with photography, and decided to study as much as I could, and to dedicate myself to making pictures."
In the past five years, Duque has amassed international certifications from many top programs, while simultaneously receiving widespread acclaim for her adventurous style, sumptuous palette, and the rich storytelling that emanates from the photographs on her @yessica_duque_photography feed.
Since the northern latitude of her Dutch homeland often requires artificial lighting, Duque generally pairs her Canon EOS R6 and 35mm, 50mm, or 85mm f/1.4 Sigma Art lenses or Sigma’s 105mm f/2.8 macro with either a Godox SL-60 LED video light or Elinchrom strobes. A Manfrotto MT055 tripod with a Sirui K-40X ball head, Avenger C-stands, EIZO ColorEdge CS2740 monitor, and tethering accessories from Tether Tools round out her studio setup.
When it comes to tips for other photographers, she gets straight to the point, advising, "Always watch your ISO, and dare to go for manual mode."
Favorite Foodie Tag: Duque calls out Indrajeet Nishad's @bombayliciouss feed as a favorite, saying, "He is definitely unique. Every picture feels like a gift on Christmas morning."
Given the huge passion for the act of photographing food on social networks, we're certain there are many more gastronomic treasures just waiting to be unearthed. If you, our readers, have any cherished food photography feeds that you'd like to suggest, please let us know in the Comments section, below.
And for more of what we’re cooking up as part of Food Photography Week, including live sessions on YouTube, find us on social media at #BHFoodPhotoWeek.