New Trends in Food Photography

Food styles have changed drastically in the past two years, and if you haven’t recently updated your image library, it may be time to consider buying new images!

Some of us may recall the ubiquitous black plate of the early 90’s which went out like disco when Martha Stewart lit up the food scene sporting unbelievably pristine images flooded with natural light and re-envisioning Grandmother’s antique china.  The nostalgia was reflected in lots of warmly lit comfort foods inducing childhood memories of Mom’s homestyle cooking.   Then came selective focus images where the plane of focus was skewed, requiring a view camera to do the trick.  As digital images became the mainstream the next style featured soft and dreamy backgrounds, known as “bokeh”.  Natural light had dominated food photography for well over a decade … until now.  I’m not saying that natural light is out — but it has definitely taken a back seat to the now popular overhead shots, dramatic window lighting with long shadows to add dimension, and crisp focus.  There seems to be an oversimplification in a visual sense, making everything seem tangible, do-able, and as we say, “Pinterest-y”.  This trend has been started by the bloggers and perfected by the high end design teams catering to food industry marketing.  Hand models are all the rage, emphasizing the “story” behind every image and technique, featuring props that range from rustic Goodwill treasures to high end housewares.  Popular textures include reclaimed wood of every variety, distressed paint surfaces, and trendy linens that cost a pretty penny.  Food marketers, rejoice! — for we have more clout among a wider group of people than ever before in history!  The old has become new, the new has become old, and food marketers have a loyal following of insatiable”foodies” seeking the best new chefs, locally sourced ingredients, and authentic experiences for their eyes and their palates.

If budgets don’t allow for a complete overhaul of custom food photography then consider using stock images as a starting point for your content. Check out to complete your visuals for blogs, email marketing campaigns, websites, brochures, social media, publishing, food writing and large format printing.

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