How to batch shoot food photography (like a food blogger)

How to batch shoot food photography (like a food blogger)

This blog post originally appeared on EatsLeeds.co.uk & ZoePickburn.com and has now been republished & redirected here to my freelance food photography site Fig & Fennel. 

You can learn more about food photography in my other posts on the subject. Learn:

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. Learn more here.


Find out how To batch Shoot Your Food Photography Like a Food Blogger

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.

Food photography batch shooting process

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:

Shooting a batch of food photos

How to batch shoot your food photography like a food blogger

1. Set aside a time to shoot

Set aside half a day to a full day to batch shoot your food photography. This should give you plenty of time to get 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.

2. Decide what to shoot

Do 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).

3. Ensure you have everything you need

Make 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 out of battery with no spares).

4. Prioritise

Work 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.

5. Don’t try to do everything at once

It’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 or take a moment to capture that pretty corner of a baking tray. Just stop yourself before you get completely sidetracked).

6. Pre-cook, where you can

Things 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.

7. Set up your first shoot

If 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 shots of the set-up or the key ingredients can be done quickly, and add a little interest to your social feeds.

8. Don’t mess with the images until the end of the day

Obviously 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 it’s much harder to shoot by lamplight.

9. Shoot in natural light where you can

I 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.

10. Don’t just shoot the key dishes

I 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

11. Play with angles & combinations

Don’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:

Foof photography setup
  • Natural light (from the window)
  • [Affiliate link] White card project display board used as a cheap reflector to diffuse shadows
  • [Affiliate link] IKEA Lack coffee table 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 [affiliate link] foam boards covered with sticky-backed plastic (like this [affiliate link] marble effect or this [affiliate link] pale wood effect), 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 [affiliate link] Manfrotto compact 3-way tripod to shoot flatlays, and a combination of handheld shooting, and my [affiliate link] Manfrotto minipod to 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.

How to batch shoot food photography (like a food blogger)

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