Why are your egg whites orange?

Many of our clients run fitness facilities or nutrition businesses and need to take pictures of food. For these images to have the desired effect, the food needs to look appetizing. Low-quality pictures just don’t look appealing, and it’s very hard to convince a person to try a healthy recipe when the accompanying photo makes the food look unpalatable.

Food photography is an art form unto itself: You can spend a career and a lot of money learning how to take amazing pictures in the kitchen. Instead of focusing on all the minor details, we’ll give you one simple thing you can do to immediately improve your food photos with a cell phone or a basic camera: Use natural light or a low-cost photography light.

If you’re on a budget and can take your photos at a time when you have some natural light, you don’t have to spend anything at all. If you want to invest in some basic equipment or need to shoot after the sun is down, you can get a light or two for about $150 or less.

Whatever you do, don’t ever take food photos in the kitchen with normal kitchen lighting. Here’s what that does:

Turn all the lights off and take your food to a window during daylight hours. In general, make sure the window is to the left or right of the food, not behind it (although backlighting can work very well in the right situation). Then snap your picture. You might be amazed at what happens.

Here’s that same apple with natural light only—and all photos were taken with the same iPhone.

In the photo above, we moved 6 feet away from where we shot the first photo, and we used the light from a window at about 2 p.m.

Want to go a little further? The next picture was taken with an inexpensive tabletop light to supplement the natural light. Some photographers prefer natural light to artificial, and that’s just fine. We only want to show you the huge difference you can make with the right light.

The light we used has been discontinued, but it cost $105, and Amazon is full of inexpensive lights for tabletop photography.

Got 1 minute and want to go even further? This next photo was edited in a free app.

We used 1 more minute and a different free app to alter the background:

These photos aren’t meant to be the pinnacle of culinary photography. A seasoned pro with a $5,000 camera could go even further—and sometimes we recommend our clients find a person like that. Here, we’re interested in simplicity and speed for the busy entrepreneur who wants to quickly improve his or her media.

Modern technology gives you a host of ways to take great photographs without a lot of effort. Try using natural light for your next food photo and see what it does for your work.

And if you want to learn how to create the third, fourth and fifth photos, we can teach you how to do that, too.

Struggling to showcase your business? We can help.