12 food photography tips for National Chef of the Year competitors


Over the next few weeks we know many of you will be finalising your dishes and taking photographs for your National Chef of the Year entries. To give you a helping hand, we’ve asked Adrian Franklin from Hospitality Media to share his tips for taking fantastic food photos. As our official NCOTY photographer, and with over 20 years of food photography experience he knows how best to showcase your dishes. He’s worked with organisations, magazines, chefs and cookbooks.


  1. If possible, use daylight and ideally a north-facing window.
  2. Avoid direct sunlight.
  3. Avoid using the camera flash.
  4. Ideally use a camera rather than a mobile phone camera as this has aperture control. Stopping down on the aperture will bring the dish more into focus.
  5. If using a camera, use a tripod to provide stability.
  6. Before any picture is taken, consider the shot. In this instance, keep it simple and photograph the prepared dish i.e. avoid clutter in and around the dish/plate.
  7. Have the camera set up all ready to shoot, as you want the dish looking as fresh as possible. There will only be a short time that the food will look its best.
  8. Vary the camera angle or vary the angle of the dish to ensure the dish looks good.
  9. Decide whether you want the image to be portrait or landscape, ask yourself, what works best? Decide also upon the aspect ratio i.e. square image.
  10. Import the digital image into a piece of software: this could be iPhoto or specific photo software such as: Lumiere, Lightroom or Photoshop which is more technical.
  11. Here there is an opportunity to utilise tools that can adjust contrast, saturation and exposure to enhance your image. Remember, you want to retain as much detail as possible.
  12. Avoid using a mobile phone if possible because you have less control than if using a camera. The reasons are these: aperture, movement and exposure of light.

Chefs have until the 22nd March 2019 to complete their National Chef of the Year entries. You can complete this in stages though over the coming weeks by creating an online account and save your entry as you are going along. Only hit submit when you are completely happy with your menu and photos.

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