We eat with our eyes first. How the food on your plate looks is going to affect your appetite quite a bit. Think about how you’d feel seeing someone bring in a dirty plate with greasy fingerprints on the rim, and the meal just slopped in the middle. Now consider someone bringing you an elegant dish that looks just as good as (if not better than!) in the pictures. The difference is night and day.
There is a massively popular subreddit with nearly 5.2 million members that encourages foodies to share beautiful photos of food. We’ve collected some of their freshest pics to show you just how much love and effort some chefs—professional and amateur alike—put into their creations. Be warned, dear Pandas, this post is going to make you hungry as heck. So we hope you’ve got some snacks while you’re upvoting your fave pics.
Bored Panda reached out to world-famous pie artist Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin, @thepieous, for some advice on food photography and how to make the snaps look as appetizing as possible. She shared some great technical tips and told us about the main pitfalls to avoid. Jessica is the author of 'Pies Are Awesome: The Definitive Pie Art Book,' and you'll find our interview with her below.
For some more gastronomic inspiration, check out Bored Panda’s earlier articles about the massively-popular subreddit here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. And if you like content like this, be sure to join the Reddit community!
#1 I Had A Dream I Made Cottage Pie With Starry Night Mashed Potatoes And I Haven’t Been Able To Stop Thinking About It.. So I Present To You The Starry Night Cottage Pie
Image credits: Coopunder
Jessica, the author of 'Pies Are Awesome,' was kind enough to share her insights on photographing food to make the pics look appealing. The good news is that you don't necessarily need a lot of fancy equipment to get awesome results. What's far more important is how you approach photography!
"You no longer need ultra fancy camera equipment to take professional-quality food photos—as of iPhone 11, cellphone snaps are virtually indistinguishable from the most expensive DSLR cameras," the pie artist shared with Bored Panda. She pointed out that there are two areas that might cause problems. The first is a cluttered backdrop. The second is light.
"The two biggest mistakes new food photographers make are working with overhead kitchen lights instead of natural light from a large window, and photographing their food on a counter cluttered with a million unrelated objects in the background," she said.
#2 Mango And Dragon Fruit Ice Cream
Image credits: eleveninvar31
#3 Celebrating With Some Prosciutto, Capocollo, 3 Year Aged Cheddar And 21 Days Of Sobriety
Image credits: Eaton_snatch
"To get started, find the biggest window in your home and pull a chair or table set with a large piece of cardboard right up next to it. Place your food on the cardboard and snap away! Direct overhead shots are popular, as are slightly oblique angles that give the viewer the PoV of someone sitting down for a delicious meal," pie artist Jessica explained how newcomers to food photography might want to approach things. Once you get the fundamentals down right, you can start investing in more professional equipment. But that's always optional.
"As you start to up your game, you can spring for professional backdrops, and even your own lights that mimic daylight so that you can shoot outside of peak daylight hours… but these are by no means necessary to get in the game."
According to pie artist Jessica, once you've become confident with the basics, you can then turn your attention to the food itself.
"Make sure there are no smudges, drips, fingerprints, or other unappetizing elements on your dishes or styling props. Check your produce for wilted areas or other blemishes, and turn these away from the camera," she explained to Bored Panda that attention to detail is paramount.
#4 Puff Pastry Apple Turnover
Image credits: input36
#5 My Apple Pie Trifle
Image credits: BubblesAndSass
#6 There’s An Ice Cream Place Near Boston That Sells Soft Serve Ice Cream With Gooey Caramel In The Middle And Apple Cider Donut Crumbles On The Outside
Image credits: JustTom1
"To ensure your food is at peak freshness when you shoot it, do all of your prep work well in advance—set up your backdrop, camera tripods, lighting, props, etc. and get everything perfect using random household objects as 'stand ins' for your food. That way, once your dish is hot and ready to go, all you have to do is place it in the frame and snap away!"
Jessica noted that there's a lot to learn when it comes to food photography. Everything depends on your curiosity and willingness to try something new.
"There are hundreds of little tricks specific to certain types of food to make dishes look the most luscious and delicious, and many books have been dedicated to this subject. When you're ready to take things to that next level, start a list of your favorite food photographers on Instagram and see if they have ebooks, manuals, or courses offering their best lighting and styling tips... before you know it, you'll be joining their ranks and inspiring others with your own killer food photog style!" the pie artist said.
#7 Potato Pavé
Image credits: aminorman
#8 We Have So Much Fruit Coming From The Garden. Brownie-White Chocolatemousse Pie With Fresh Fruit
Image credits: Michaelstruis
#9 Poppy Semolina Bread
Image credits: naxotech
The subreddit is a great place to find some inspiration if you feel that you’ve run out of ideas when it comes to cooking. If you value aesthetics and presentation a lot but feel like you’ve hit a creative block, it’s perfectly fine to take a break from it all.
Then, when you come back to the kitchen all rested-up and reenergized, you can start looking a bit broader for inspiration. Take a peek at other areas of life for how you cook, bake, and arrange your food: maybe you’ll find something in nature, pop culture, or even architecture that motivates you to go the extra mile!
The subreddit is home to over 5 million members, or ‘foodies’ as the moderator team has dubbed them. The online community has been active for over a decade, and in that time, it has become one of the most well-known and influential groups on Reddit.
The sub describes itself as being dedicated to “simple, attractive, and visual” content. If it’s related to food and it looks great, you should probably share it here.
#10 The Perfect Watermelon
Image credits: Diurnalgrill
#11 My Cousin's Wife And I Put This Charcuterie Table Together For My Other Cousin's Wedding! I Think It Turned Out Pretty Great
Image credits: Jazzmasterweirdoo
#12 Homemade Salted Caramel Cheesecake
Image credits: l0l4sca
The internet is a much different place than it was in 2009 when the subreddit was first created. Back then, internet users were far more open to naming their communities something embarrassing or unusual. Something that instantly gets your attention.
Fast-forward to 2022 and internet censorship has become quite widespread. Even mentioning some of these community names in full, in the text, is a wonderful way to get on the wrong side of the Internet and Social Media Overlords. The sad reality is that the subreddit has a so-called ‘stop word’ in its name which is why we can’t mention it directly. We can, however, celebrate just how great the community is and invite you to check it out yourselves, dear Pandas.
If you do decide to join the sub, make sure that you familiarize yourself with the community rules. You can find them in the sidebar. They’re pretty straightforward.
Be civil toward others. Post things only related to food. It is a food subreddit after all! If you’d like to discuss something unrelated, there are plenty of other communities on Reddit and elsewhere for that.
#13 Crunchy Grilled Garlic And Pesto Bruschetta
Image credits: rperissi
#14 My Girlfriend And I Don’t Bake But We Made Her Birthday Cake From Scratch And It Looked Really Beautiful
Image credits: sushiiisenpai
#15 French Berry Tartlets I Made For My Fiancé
Image credits: weeniewobble
Meanwhile, members are encouraged to post only images and gifs. Videos and articles aren’t allowed. While writing the title, be sure to include some context.
Oh, and mark your post with an [OC] (original content) tag in the title if the photo is one that you took.
#16 Ratatouille I Just Made
Image credits: Chufriend
#17 Pan Grilled Jiaozi. And A Cat
Image credits: OwNathan
#18 Pot Roast Bread Bowl Topped With Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes
Image credits: crazedmofo
However, if it’s not your photo, make sure that you credit the actual content creator. Transparency is an important part of practically any online community.
And even if it wasn’t, it’s nice to know the original source of something you come across. Credit where credit’s due and all that.
#19 Homemade Asian BBQ Chicken Lo Mein
Image credits: ProjectA-ko
#20 Halloween Pizza
Image credits: naxotech
#21 Made A Chocolate Chip Banana Bread That Came Out Very Moist
Image credits: tommy_and_jasper
According to the hard-working moderator team, low-effort titles will be removed. You’re asked to be as descriptive and precise as you can. What’s more, originality is further encouraged by limiting the number of non-original content posts you make to one per day.
If you’ve found a delicious-looking pic on the internet that you can’t wait to share with the other members of the sub, remember that you can only do that once every day.
#22 Baked My 30th Birthday Cake. Grapefruit And Champagne Cake
Image credits: i-am-a-pretty-potato
#23 Homegrown Tomato Spread
Image credits: Wireman76
#24 Flour, Water, Salt. Today's Loaf Really Did Things To Me
Image credits: jubjubmacrub
Meanwhile, the mods note that if you plan on sharing a recipe with your photo, you should write it in plain text in the comments. “We do not require posts to include a recipe, however we do strongly encourage it,” the team running the community explains.
“You are free to link to off-site recipes, but there must always be a plain text version in a comment, if there is to be any recipe at all. All we're requiring is that if you are going to post a link to a recipe, you also include a plain text version in the comment.”
#25 Went Strawberry Picking
Image credits: mus1calprostitute
#26 I Made Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon And Mashed Potatoes
Image credits: rickyricardo808
#27 A Bouquet Of Chicken Gyros On Homemade Pitta
Image credits: thekebabspikeco
Which of these food pics impressed you the most, dear Pandas? Were there any dishes or desserts that you’d love to take a bite out of if you could reach through the screen? And, be honest, are you as hungry as we are after finishing this list? Share your thoughts, opinions, and hunger level in the comments!
#28 Pumpkin Gnocchi With A Creamy Spinach Sauce
Image credits: Shark-Farts
#29 Onion Soup Gratin
Image credits: Kitchen_Reach8756
#30 Sister Made This Chocolate Cake For My Birthday. I Couldn't Be Happier
Image credits: Pirate_Potato
#31 Moon Drops Grapes
Image credits: cherrysnobs
#32 Injera With A Variety Of Ethiopian Dishes
Image credits: bangingbites
#33 Homemade Broken Glass Jelly
Image credits: Varunika95
#34 My First Attempt At Beef Wellington
Image credits: InkedInspector
#35 Jalapeno Popper Mummies
Image credits: howardmid86
#36 Peaches And Cream Roll Cake For A Local Peach Festival!
Image credits: popocorno0507
#37 Look At This Motherf**king Paella!
Image credits: Ornery-Mastodon-4866
#38 Nothing Profound To Share, I Just Thought My Ribeye Looked Sexy
Image credits: CaptainWisconsin
#39 Any Garlic Soup Lovers In Here? This Is How I Make Mine
Image credits: Matuloo
#40 Homemade Golden Paneer Baos With Butter Sauce
Image credits: splashyseal
#41 Steak And Ale Pie
Image credits: aminorman
#42 Made Pancakes With Blueberries I Picked This Morning
Image credits: isl73
#43 Chicken Schnitzel Sandwich With Focaccia
Image credits: bangingbites
#44 Our Halloween Charcuterie Spread + Pumpkin Spice & Cream Cheese Frosting Cupcakes + Skeleton Brownies + Rice Krispie Treats (Not Raw Meat)
Image credits: BrwnSuperman
#45 Colombian Platter With Pulled Chicken, Chorizo, Fried Plantain, Garlic Rice, Red Beans, Potatoes And Guacamole
Image credits: bangingbites
#46 Mini Sourdough Detroit Stye Pizzas
Image credits: ItsZaTime
#47 My 34th Batch Of Homemade Sushi
Image credits: yellowjacquet
#48 Decided To Make A Choco Taco From Scratch And It Turned Out Great !
Image credits: Burgermeisters
#49 Ramen Made From Instant Noodles With Beef And Mushroom Broth
Image credits: roussosvic
#50 Seafood Grill In Santorini, Greece
Image credits: patchickens88