Smuckers – Food Photography

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on November 11, 2009


While at Smuckers, a food photography team and a food stylist shared with us several different easy and practical tips for taking fabulous food photos…using what you have!  Without fancy equipment and without spending lots of money on “props.”  Now we’re talking!


The food sytlist is preparing a plate of cookies.  Here are a few tips:

  • Use a bamboo stick to move small pieces of food or crumbs around on the plate. 
  • Use unphotographed food/crumbs to replace “holes” and fill in shadow-y spaces.
  • Use a small brush with a dab of water to help the food glisten and shine.
  • Change the angles and arrangements of the food on the plate until you get the look and feel you want.
  • Experiment with colors, sizes and shapes of plates and napkins/placemats


The food photography team also gave us some fantastic tips:

  • Shoot the food on its level, or from above…not from a standing position
  • Use natural light, in a windowsill or on a table near a window
  • Use the macro setting (the little tulip symbol) for the best depth of field
  • Use paper towels as white light reflectors
  • Use cake “cards” (covered in gold foil) to add a gold warm color to the food
  • Shoot a whole slew of photos, move the food around, take different angles…let the shoot evolve until you get the photograph that’s perfect for your subject


Our turn.  We got hands on experience!  I LOVED this part!  Here is the work station.  The possibilities were endless.


I started with the frosting.  I hadn’t used this brand before, so I did a little experimenting with designs.

Then I decorated a sugar cookie with vanilla icing.  With “dots.”  And sprinkled crushed candy canes on top.


Grabbed a pale green oblong plate. Stacked the cookies. Put the plate on a red placemat in the windowsill.


And shot the cookies.  I experimented with the white paper towels, the gold foiled cake “card.” And different angles.

I just loved the hands-on experience of this session!

And here is the professional photograph of my cookies (including the M&M cookie!)


Thanks to Smuckers for including this in our day!!!

Smuckers Logo

Next up…the brands of Smuckers…

Disclosure: This was an all-expense paid blogger’s event. You can read more about the $5 Dinners Disclosure Policy here.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

TidyMom November 11, 2009 at 8:07 am

Thanks for these tips!!! I’m ALWAYS trying to find ways to make my food pictures turn out better!! I’d love to know more about using the white paper towels, the gold foiled cake “card.”



Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom November 11, 2009 at 12:00 pm


You hold those up at different angles to soften the shadows (paper towels) or to give the food a warmer light/color (the gold card). Do some experiments and you’ll see a distinct difference in your picts!


La Alicia November 11, 2009 at 8:17 am

nice job! those cookies look irresistable!


Grace November 11, 2009 at 8:26 am

Thanks for sharing those fabulous tips! It is great to read through advice that doesn’t involve a ton of prep work – or a lot of money spent on gadgets and tools! I’m excited to put some of the new tips to use – even if I do live in a small apartment… with few windows… on the relatively UNLIT side of our building….. (That will just make it that much more of a more creative challenge for me :-D)


Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom November 11, 2009 at 11:59 am


I have found that my flourescent light in my office area does a good job when I can’t use natural light…which will happen LOTS this winter! Will be a good challenge for sure!


Heather @CeliacFamily November 11, 2009 at 12:15 pm

The cookie picture looks great. Thanks for sharing the photo tips!


Biz November 11, 2009 at 12:23 pm

Thanks for the tips Erin! Love the frosting in a can – I’ve never seen that before!

Your cookies look amazing!


Susie's Homemade November 11, 2009 at 8:01 pm

Those are GREAT tips. I actually use all of those in my shots:-)


Jess T November 11, 2009 at 9:11 pm

Your cookies are so pretty!! I’ve seen the frosting in a can before but have been too cheap to buy it! LOL I think I’m going to have to start looking for some good coupons/sales. Was it pretty easy to use? I’m wondering if it might be good for the Kind. class to use when we decorate Valentine cookies.


Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom November 11, 2009 at 9:18 pm

@Jess T,
I thought it was really easy to use…just tested it out and went from there!


Kim @ Fist Full of Dandelions November 12, 2009 at 12:05 am

These are some great tips! Thanks so much!


bridget {bake at 350} November 12, 2009 at 10:25 pm

Your pictures are beautiful…and that looks like a fabulous trip!!! Wow!

I am just finding your blog…I’m not sure why it took me so long…I LOVE it! :)


Audrey November 14, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Wow, I love all of these tips. We so often take photos of recipes we’ve prepared and the photos come out horribly :( Thanks for sharing these tips.


lynn November 18, 2009 at 2:11 pm

Loved your photography tips. And I could sure use them :) Thanks.


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