11 Best Food Photography Books to Read

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DSLR camera on tripod

Food photography is one of the most popular genres in the world. Some people use it to make their meals look visually aesthetic on Instagram. Others study it in order to work with well-known food companies. How do they make their photos look so professional? This is where food photography books come in.

Food is like any other subject. The wrong lighting can make the most delicious meal look unappealing. On the other hand, the right composition can give a simple cupcake a luxurious feel.

flatlay of a meal surrounded by vegetables.
Lighting can make a significant difference in food photography. Natural lighting makes this food look homemade and delicious.

To truly understand this genre, you can invest in a few books. The best ones will teach you how to make any food look as delicious as it is in reality.

Here are a few of our book recommendations for amateurs and professionals alike.

#1. Food Styling: The Art of Preparing Food for the Camera by Delores Custer

Food Styling by Delores Custer

With an overall rating of 4.7 out of 5, this book is considered the encyclopedia of food styling. Some of the most notable features of the book include:

The author, Delores Custer, has been styling food for over 30 years. She isn’t specifically a food photographer, which is what makes her book unique. You’ll get to understand what goes into making food look amazing before the camera is even there.

This can be a great tool for food photographers who want to put more detail into their work. It can also be useful for those who want to really master the art of food photography.

#2. Plate to Pixel: Digital Food Photography & Styling by Helene Dujardin

Plate to Pixel by Helen Dujardin

Helene Dujardin’s food photos have a raw and authentic atmosphere. Her images will make you want to get up and cook something tasty of your own!

She often uses natural light to enhance her pictures. This makes her photos look like timeless paintings. Helene’s techniques should be fairly easy to master, especially if you don’t have a studio.

Plate to Pixel focuses exclusively on digital food photography and styling. You’ll learn how to manipulate natural light to make your food look mouth-watering. You’ll also get tips on camera exposure, styling, and editing.

This is a must-have food photography book for those who primarily use natural light.

#3. The Food Stylist’s Handbook by Denise Vivaldo

The Food Stylist's Handbook by Denise Vivaldo

This handbook covers everything you need to know about food photography. Denise Vivaldo is a professional food stylist. She focuses on the business of food photography and on different shooting techniques. The goal of this book is to help you make your food photos look like works of art.

The versatility of this book makes it the perfect tool for cooks and photographers alike. However, keep in mind that a large portion of the book is business-oriented. This is a great book for those who want to pursue a career in the food photography and styling industries.

If you work without a team of cooks, make sure you have some cooking knowledge beforehand. If you don’t, some parts of the book might be too complicated for you.

#4. Food Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots by Nicole S. Young

From Snapshots to Great Shots by Nicole S. Young

Nicole S. Young’s food photos look very professional. Think of high-end food commercials. If this is the style you want to achieve, you’ll probably learn a lot from this book.

Food Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots is a must-have for food photography beginners. It covers the basics, so you won’t feel lost when you read the instructions. However, you must have an understanding of simple camera settings to make the most of the author’s tips.

Editing is also a fundamental part of some chapters. The author explains how to use Adobe Lightroom to make food photos stand out even more.

The instructions in this book can help you improve your general photography skills. The things you learn about lighting and composition can help you in other genres. Given all this, you can treat this book as a valuable source of general photography knowledge.

#5. 12 Tips For Fabulous Food Photos by Christina Peters

Fabulous Food Photography Book by Christina Peters

Some writers are so generous that they offer some of their knowledge for free! This is a free ebook with a handful of food photography tips. It’s a risk-free option for anyone who’s not sure where to start in the industry. Beginners are likely to get the most out of this book.

This book won’t teach you everything, but it will serve as a useful introduction. You’ll learn about lighting, equipment, and camera settings. Even though it’s a short book, it has a lot of the basics that many aspiring photographers struggle with.

#6. That Photo Makes Me Hungry: Photographing Food for Fun & Profit by Andrew Scrivani

That Photo Makes Me Hungry by Andrew Scrivani

Andrew Scrivani is a respected photographer, director, and producer. He regularly contributes photos to The New York Times. His book has a very appropriate title; all of his food photos will make you want to run to your fridge immediately!

Andrew’s photographs are moody and emotive. The food he photographs seems to have a personality of its own. You need to have a deep understanding of light and composition to take photos like this. Fortunately, you can learn all about this technique in his books.

That Photo Makes Me Hungry is most suitable for beginners. It focuses on lighting setup, camera settings, storytelling, business, and more. Andrew goes into detail to ensure that the reader understands everything clearly. All in all, it’s a fantastic investment for those who want to make their food photos look like fine art.

#7. Food Photography: Pro Secrets for Styling, Lighting, and Shooting by Lara Ferroni

Pro Secrets for Styling, Lighting, and Shooting by Lara Ferroni

This book is another great source of information for aspiring food photographers. It has everything a beginner needs to know about preparation, styling, and business. It also covers topics related to publicity and advertising. These are highly important if you want to start a business of your own.

The author is a successful food blogger with a vibrant portfolio. You’ll find many of her most popular photos in this book. She makes sure to focus on a few of the most famous food photographers in the business, too. This is a great way to compare different styles and understand what really works in the industry.

#8. Focus On Food Photography for Bloggers by Matt Armendariz

Food Photography for Bloggers by Matt Armendariz

Matt Armendariz is one of the most famous food photographers on this list. London’s Times Online added his blog to the Top 10 Food Blogs In The World list. His photos have been featured by The New York Times, Goop, Los Angeles Times, and many others. Given his success, it’s safe to say that this book is full of invaluable tips.

This book can also be a comfort read for some photographers. Matt emphasises the importance of making mistakes. There’s an entire chapter about foods that are difficult to photograph. He also writes about the editing process and how you can protect your images from theft. This book is meant to inspire and protect you at the same time.

This book is ideal for beginners or intermediates. Ideally, you have to be interested in food blogging to make the most of this book.

#9. Still Life : Irving Penn Photographs, 1938-2000 by Irving Penn

Still Life by Irving Penn

Irving Penn’s name might seem out of place on this list, but it’s actually very fitting. Even though he was a famous fashion photographer, he took many artistic photos of still life. Many of his subjects were food.

Irving was a master of lighting and composition. He knew how to make non-living objects look like emotional beings. As a result, his still life photos remain timeless and thought-provoking.

This book highlights Irving’s still life images only. It’s not exclusively a food photography book, but it has many interesting references. You can treat it like a source of inspiration for artistic food photography.

#10. Food Photography: A Beginner’s Guide to Creating Appetizing Images by Corinna Gissemann

Food photography beginners guide book by Corinna Gissemann

This book is a fantastic source of inspiration for beginners. You don’t need to know much about food photography beforehand.

Corinna Gissemann is a popular food photographer with a distinct style. Her images are moody, often accompanied by black backgrounds. She tends to gravitate towards natural light.

Most importantly, she uses DIY props to make her food look as delicious as possible. Her DIY props are very simple and affordable, so anyone can give them a try.

The book has 11 chapters that focus on various parts of the photography process. You’ll get access to project ideas, lighting information, and various food photography tips. This is a useful guide for people who can’t invest a lot of money in equipment. You’ll learn that food photography doesn’t always have to be expensive to work well.

#11. Food Blogging For Dummies by Kelly Senyei

Food Blogging for Dummies by Kelly Senyei

The Dummies series is extremely popular. If there’s something you’d like to learn, the company probably has a book about it. Books like this are meant to help those who know absolutely nothing about a topic. Their goal is to educate and inspire you, so don’t take the word dummy too personally!

This is a great guide for aspiring food bloggers. It focuses on every aspect of the industry, from building a website to mastering SEO. It also explains how to take gorgeous food photos. This book is your best friend if you want to understand everything that goes into food photography.

person taking photos of food with a DSLR.
Many photographers use a DSLR to take photos of food. As you’ll find out in these photography books, you don’t need high-end equipment to make the most of this genre.

If you’re not sure where to start, download Christina Peters’s free ebook. From there, you can figure out what direction you’d like to go in.

Do you prefer natural or artificial light? Do you want to pursue a career in food photography? Which of these food photographers do you admire the most? Once you have a few answers, you’ll be that much closer to taking mouth-watering photos of food. Also, don’t forget to check out the list of the most famous food photographers in the world.

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Taya Iv is a portrait photographer, 500px ambassador, and host of Great Big Photography World podcast.
Taya Iv is a portrait photographer, 500px ambassador, and host of Great Big Photography World podcast.

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