Playing With Fire aka SFU: Photographing the Grilling Process #grillingishappiness #SoFabU

Hello my lovelies!
Week four of my SFU photography class has come to an end. This means, it’s time for me to share what we learned in this class.

This week we focused on the grilling process itself. We were grilling on our brand new grill, thanks to Sears Grilling. (Well, I was grilling because I wanted to be the grill master for once.) I’m sure you guys noticed that I always share the cooking process picture in my recipe posts. Cooking process on the stove is so boring in comparison to cooking on the grill. Somehow the grilling photos are much more appetizing!

I won’t be sharing any finished meal photos or the recipes today. What I will share with you, is some tips and tricks of taking food/grilling pictures. We learned the basic technical  aspects of food photography this week. Don’t look so bored or get a cup of coffee, I won’t bore you with all the technical data. I will just recap the more important tips in hopes that some of you will find it useful.

Lets talk about light. Natural, soft light is very important in food photography. With this being said, sunlight is very bad. I made that mistake when I was first venturing into food photography. I remember how nice a dish looked sitting next to a window with sun shining on it. Once I took a picture, it didn’t look as good. This is because food looks nice in the sunlight to the naked eye, but it does not look good in a picture. Direct sunlight creates a strong contrast between light and shadows. This means the highlights are too bright and the shadows are too dark. The food ends up looking very harsh, greasy and unappetizing.

Also, remember that each type of lighting will show up in different colors in your photos. White might look white to the naked eye, but white will look blue in a picture on a cloudy day or it will look almost orange in a florescent light. So remember to check your white balance and adjust accordingly.

When you are shooting outside, like you do when you are grilling, try to do it in a shade, later in the afternoon or when its slightly cloudy. I took my pictures around 5:30/6:00 p.m and the sun was low enough that there was some shade by the garage. I was actually very proud of myself for not needing to edit the exposure in my pictures.


There are many flattering angles for photographing food. I don’t usually use them all but I will share some of my favorites with you.
Before I talk about angles, I have to mention the “rule of thirds”!

Photo provided by our photography teacher.
The rule of thirds is one of the first things that photographers learn in photography classes. Rule of thirds is a helpful guideline to the composition of your pictures. Imagine a grid that breaks down your picture into 9 parts or thirds, horizontally and vertically. I have my camera set to where it shows the grid in the view finder when I am shooting. I love that setting.

Try to place the subject in one or two intersection points, this will make the photo more balanced and seem more natural to the viewer. Its been proven that a person’s eye catches the subject better in those intersection points rather than directly in the center. Not to say that your photo will be a complete failure if the subject is in the center.

Here are my favorite angles:

– Tilt towards or away. This is when you tilt your camera left or right which makes the subject turn the opposite way.
(sorry, I didn’t take any photos with tilted angle this time)
– Straight on. This is when the camera is completely centered on the subject.

– Above with perspective. This is when the camera is positioned above the front of the subject and then tilted up a little so the subject fills the frame.  I like this one better than directly above because not only it gives you a better perspective and shows more of the dish, but also… I am short so its hard for me to get the above angle, unless I put the food on the floor (yes, you can laugh).

– Diagonal. This is when the subject goes from one corner to the opposite corner, diagonally.

– and my absolute favorite…Up close and personal. This is when you use your optical zoom to get very close to the subject. (I usually get closer but I think I was being “aware” of the grill)

Photography is an art! Remember, you have to have a firm grasp on basic techniques and rules before venturing into your own adventures. So master the basics first…
 … then have fun by breaking some rules and experimenting with your own angles to see what treasures you can create.

(I love this shot. I was playing with shutter speed and “stopped” the fire! Higher shutter speed setting slows the motion, but watch your aperture or use “shutter priority” setting on the camera)


I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Sears Grilling #CBias #GrillingIsHappiness. All photos and opinions are my own.
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  1. LorikArt says

    Great post! And beautiful photos! You might like to share your work on my Mandarin Orange Monday:)

  2. says

    This is a great post. Thanks so much for sharing. I have taken many photography classes, bu not a food one. I have recently been talking about it being really different from other things. I am going need to take a class like yours also.

  3. Pam says

    Those photos look so good! I am learning so much in this class and enjoying seeing other people’s photos as well. I learn things whenever I read the posts. :)

  4. Tonia@TheGunnySack says

    Fantastic job! I love your pictures! I have a hard time taking pictures of items on the grill because the lid blocks so much of the light and makes the photos dark.

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