The Best Camera Angle for Taking Food Photos

Camera Angle Food Photography So you want to know what’s the best angle for photographing food. Is it 10-20 degree? Is it at an angle of 45? What about from the top? You really want to know the thumb rule for taking a stunning photograph? Here it is…


The Best Angle for Photographing Food

I recently read some place that it was around 10-20 degree. Position you camera such that it is at an angle of 10-20 from the horizontal table where your food is placed and bingo you have a awesome looking food photos. Right? This may disappoint some of you, but this won’t work. This is not “the best” angle to take food photos.

Best Camera Angle Thumb Rule

So if angle of 10-20 is not “the best”, what is the best angle then? There is a thumb rule that will make your life much better. Read the rule in fact, I will say if you thinking about becoming better food photographer, cram this rule. Here’s the thumb rule that will help you a lot:

The thumb rule to the best camera angle is that there is no best camera angle.  

That’s right. There is no universal rule for taking food photographs that will make your food photographs better. The angle that will make food look good depends on many things. We will discuss those things later in this post. Let’s first look at the most used camera angles.

Four Most Used Camera Angles

There are many angles you can place your camera to shoot food photos. However there are four that are most used. Here are the four most used (not ranked) camera angles - 

  1. Horizontal to Table

    This angle refers to position # 1 in the sketch above. This is when your eyes are almost at the level of the table. If you decide to use this position, make sure your background is distraction free. This is because at this angle, your background is very much visible and can be quickly create noise in your photograph.Ice Cream Sundae Photograph

  2. At at angle of about 15

    They say around 15 degree is “the angle” to shoot food photos. You know what I am going to say to that – “I have a thumb rule”. This angle is shown at position # 2 in the sketch. As in the case above, watch out for the background if you use this angle.

  3. Around 45

    This is how you usually see things on a table or at dinner. In the sketch this is shown by position # 3. From my experience, this is also the most misused position by lot of aspiring food photographers. Many people try to photograph food at around this angle however, in most cases changing your angle to one of the other three can improve your photo by a great deal. So next time when you try to photograph your recipe, wait and think what you are doing. Then move a little bit and try different angles. I am sure you will like what you see. However, with that said, there can be a lot of great photographs at this angle too. Look at the photograph below: 

    Dessert 10 granite of coffee by yomi995
  4. Top View

    This is a view of your dish or food from top. The # 4 position in the sketch is the top view. This is usually at or around an angle of 90 to the horizontal surface where your food is placed. This perspective sometime creates a wonderful images. See the photograph below. Most photographs of beverages are shot at either horizontal level or at around an angle of 15. This creates a different look. Don’t you think?Strawberry Blackberry Smoothie

Watch a Pro Food Photographer

Here’s a chance to watch a professional food photographer use almost all these angles. Matt Armendariz, yes Matt who bites, has graciously shared a great cheese video and you can learn how he uses camera angles in food photography. In  the video he shoots cheese and describes how to plate it. Observes how he shoots cheese and see the angles he uses. Its interested how Matt uses several angles on a same type of subject.

Update: Read part 2 of this post: How to Choose the Best Camera Angle?

Let’s Discuss This

What angles do you use more often? What do you use the least? Tell us in the comments below and now you can add your photographs in comments too. Share with us. Also tell us, what did you think about the post?

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  • http://jenncuisine.com Jenn

    Great post! I absolutely LOVE top-down photos like Helen’s of Tartelette, but I can never seem to pull them off – I can’t ever get them in focus without my trusty tripod to attach my camera to…So usually I end up doing somewhere around 0-15. I like this angle because I can use my tripod and it gives the food a bit of height which I think makes easier to be more visually appealing.

    • http://www.learnfoodphotography.com/about Neel

      Jenn, with the top down photos, the challenge is to be at the required minimum distance corresponding to your lens. Very few tripods let you use the top down angle. I find holding the camera at fast shutter speed gives sharp image and then I don’t have to worry about tripod.

      In the next post, I’ll cover when to use what angle.

      As always, thank you for your comment.

  • http://www.elinluv.blogspot.com Elin

    Neel..this post is so useful for me. Thanks for the tips shared here and I am eagerly waiting for your write out on shallow DOF using a point and shoot camera :)) Thanks :)

    • http://www.learnfoodphotography.com/about Neel

      Elin,

      Thanks for waiting on it. What camera do you use?

    • http://www.elinluv.blogspot.com Elin

      Hi Neel,

      Sorry to reply your question so late :) I am using Canon A570 a point and shoot camera and I think I have missed out your article on DOF using point and shoot camera. Could you please let me have the link to your article on it :)

      Regards,
      Elin

  • http://foodalogue.com Joan Nova

    Thanks for breaking it out. I think I fall into the 10-20 category for most shots.

    • http://www.learnfoodphotography.com/about Neel

      Thank you for your comments.

  • http://www.creativekitchenadventures.blogspot.com Denise @ Creative Kitchen

    Very informative article! I am new to food blogging & photography of my creations…so this helps immensely. Thanks for sharing!!

    • http://www.learnfoodphotography.com/about Neel

      Denise,

      Thank you for stopping by. Would love to hear what you would like to see on this blog about food photography or styling.

  • http://www.pigsinblankets.net Debo

    I just stumbled upon your blog, now I wish I would have found it before so I could have taken better pictures of my creations. I can’t wait to read the rest of your entries, I’m determined to improve! Thanks for the great blog

    • http://www.learnfoodphotography.com/about Neel

      Welcome to the blog Demo :) Thank you for your comments.

  • http://bakingismyzen.blogspot.com Baking is my Zen

    I LOVE THIS BLOG!!!!!![img]189818_logo_final[/img]

  • http://healthy-delicious.com LK

    GREAT article!!! I find that for me, straight on or top-down tend to come out the best.I agree though, that depending on what you’re shooting, all different angles work!

  • Andy Wong

    Certainly a great blog.

    Thanks for sharing!^^

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  • http://kathleeniscookinginmexico.wordpress.com/ Cooking in Mexico

    Mostly I use angle #3 because my background options are almost non-existent. My tiny kitchen and small house don’t not have bare walls to use as a background.

    I just got a large white board to use as a background, and now I have the new challenge of figuring out how to get it to look white, and not blue, in my photos.

    Thanks for your posts. I always learn something.

    Kathleen

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  • http://theblissfulbaker.tumblr.com The Blissful Baker

    I love the diagram!! I always work best with visual aids and this was extremely helpful! Will be putting your advice into practice very soon

  • Amiel Sac

    Really, in things like this, there really is no universal rule. And there shouldn’t be unless we want our cookbooks and others to contain photos all shot from the same angle. Photography is all about identity. Each photo has to have an identity of its own, and that includes the angle from which it is taken. it all just depends on the photgrapher and the target audience. So, there should not be limiting rules of thumb. Let us all let the photographer explore. Photography after all is also an art and art is fluid.

  • http://www.prepaid-anbieter.info azenith

    I am not aware that there is no such thing as best angle. I usually stay too close on the object that I am not taking pictures of. I have to agree that the angle looked good if there is no distraction on the background.

  • Louann Chho

    It seems that rules are meant to be broken. I can see by your images that under the right circumstances, all angles can work beautifully. A lot depends on what background you are working with.

  • http://www.thechocolateaddict.com/ katreece

    Nice article, thank-you! I like the top-view photos as well, does anyone know of a good inexpensive tripod to use for these?

  • http://www.satubidan.com Satu bidan

    thank u, this is really helpfull :D
    i wanna aply it tomorrow . :)

  • http://www.traderswarehouse.co.uk/ Stanley Davies

    This is true for most photography. There is never a set of rule or guidelines for taking the best photos, or what cameras are best. This is because there is beauty in every angel, and different perspectives bring out different feels.

  • Jason England

    I mostly find myself shooting between 10-20 degrees, but then I have to find other things to fill the frame. Which can be fun or very annoying. I’ve recently started experimenting with shooting top down though. It’s great when you have pictures in your posts to illustrate.

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