5 Food Styling and Photography Tips for Social Media

With today’s technology at your fingertips, it’s never been easier to snap a photo on the go. But taking a compelling shot of your bakery’s products—one that’ll command attention on social media, review sites and your website—often requires some styling and planning. As consumers rely heavily on photos they see online when seeking out new bakeries, it’s important to learn how to showcase bakery products with eye-catching photography.

Our first tip: Take your time. “You’ll end up with something you can get a really beautiful photo of because you’ve taken the time to do it well,” says New York-based food stylist Jason Schreiber. Below, discover more of his food styling and photography advice. 

1. Embrace Natural Light

It’s difficult to achieve the perfect Instagram-worthy shot if the lighting isn’t ideal, which is why natural light is so important. “It’s the biggest thing—and the best thing—you can do for any photo,” Schreiber says. Daylight is ideal, but try to avoid direct sunshine, as it can be too harsh. Consider setting up products in front of a large window in your bakery. If harnessing natural light isn’t an option, LED photo light boxes are an affordable alternative. 

2. Focus on the Hero

When capturing multiple products, focus the camera lens on the best-looking one, also known as the “hero.” “Every muffin isn’t going to be perfect,” Schreiber says. Find the most perfectly shaped one and make it the focal point, limiting any potential distractions in the shot, like a bright cloth or shiny utensils in the background. “There shouldn’t be something competing with it.”

3. Create a Cohesive Style 

You’ll want your bakery’s website and social media feeds to have a consistent feel, so decide on a distinct look and stick with it. “You don’t have to be good at Photoshop,” Schreiber says. “Just pick the filter that works for you and put it on every photo.” Try out Instagram’s in-app filters, or download an app like VSCO for even more choices. Check out his Instagram for examples @jaschreiber.

4. Invest in Food Styling Tools

Creating the perfect shot may require a few extra tools, but they don’t need to cost a fortune. “I think that everybody should have a pair of tweezers. They’re not expensive and it just makes everything so much easier,” Schreiber says. Pastry brushes are also great for cleaning up the shot or playing up the subject. “Use them to brush away crumbs or add a little extra syrup to a dessert.” 

5. Choose Props Carefully

Adding a few special props to a shot can help take photos to the next level, but make sure they highlight the product. “For instance, if it’s a peach muffin, include the fruit in the shot to emphasize the ingredients,” Schreiber says. But don’t get carried away. “Keep it simple. Let the food be the selling point,” Schreiber says. “Nine times out of 10, it’s the photo that has less in it that ends up being more successful.”