Food Photography

Students will examine studio and natural lighting angles to create bright, sharp food images from Spanish Iron Chef.

In the project, you will need to team up with a class member from Spanish class and create a display area with lighting for the final food product.  Throughout their cooking process, students will take candids of the cooking process, then make a final dish image using unique lighting and camera angles to capture the essence of the dish.

Irving Penn frozen food
Frozen Foods, New York, 1977 Copyright © The Irving Penn Foundation


  • Students will take 36 photos of Spanish Iron Chef.

  • The images should include close-up action shots of cooking the food and final display of food on the dish. 

  • Students will need to build their own still life lighting and prop.  One light source either natural or artificial light.  The camera needs to be set on the proper white balance and has an ISO between 100-400.

  • The prop can include colored paper fabric or other items.  This is up to the photographer.

  • Images of contact sheet will include: Worm’s eye, bird’s eye, tilt the frame, close up detail, front view and side view of food.

Water melon

Final Project: 

  • Students will make a contact sheet of all images.

  • Students will edit 10 images and print the best 5 images.

  • The recipe must be on display with the images. Images will be displayed somewhere on campus. Students will be a curator for their own photography exhibition.

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Photographed by Irving Penn for “Fancy That,” Vogue, August 1994
Photographed by Irving Penn for “Lusty Pleasures,” Vogue, October 1981