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 Do Not Underestimate The Importance of A Great Photo!


When I first starting blogging, I really didn’t understand how important it was to capture the best visual representation of what you were wanting to share.  Oftentimes it can be very challenging to display this image to your viewers!

When it comes to recipes, you would think the most important piece of information would be the recipe.  Well it is not!  I feel the most important part of any blog, especially food blogs, is having great photos!

Sure the recipes have to taste great, but do not underestimate how important it is to have a great photo!  My traffic to my blog has gone up considerably since my photos have improved!

Lets face it…in this day and age we are very visual people.  People want to see what their food is going to look like and are much more likely to make a recipe if they have a wonderful picture to go along with it.

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When I first started blogging, I didn’t focus on food photography at all, I just focused on great recipes.  Well that could have been a recipe for disaster, no pun intended 😉 .  Thankfully I put some effort into finding ways to improve my photography.

You often times hear never judge a book by its cover…well sorry that is just plain bologna!  If I am buying a book, that is the first thing I am going to look at.  I want an appealing image that is going to capture my attention and make me pick up that book and read further.

This analogy is the same as when publishing a recipe.  If you put a poor image out there to represent your recipe, most likely people will breeze right past that recipe.  I will say it again,  Do not underestimate the importance of  a great picture!


My Journey To Produce The Best Pictures!


So I thought I would start a new series to share with you my journey to produce the best pictures possible.  If you visit my recipe gallery page, you can clearly see when I started to focus on my pictures. Scroll down to the bottom and you can see my first posts.  My camera was a point and shoot camera and there was absolutely no props or action to any of my pictures.

Action?? How can food have action?  Action is visually sharing more than just the picture of the food.  Action is showing a bite missing from that piece of pie. Action is a knife sitting on a cutting board with crumbs and pieces of the food  that you just finished cutting.  I plan on diving into all this in a later post in this photography series.

As I have stated, I am learning and would like to share with you what I learn as I go.  Over ten years ago I bought my first SLR camera (single-lens reflex camera) and I never even shot one photo with it!  I had no idea how to even use the camera and was terrified of the thing!

Well ten years has passed and I have purchased another DSLR camera (digital single-lens reflex camera) and I am bound and determined to learn all there is to know about these amazing cameras!

I have a wonderful friend who is a photographer and I have been working with her to better my skills of my camera and also everything else that goes into taking a great photo.

I also am taking a series of photography courses that I am very lucky to have available to me here in Milwaukee.  My hopes are that what I learn through this process will help you take better photos too.


My Recommendations for cameras, lens, lighting and editing equipment!


There are three key components when capturing a great photo:  a DSLR camera, proper lighting and an editing program.  If you are lacking on any of these chances are your photos can be significantly improved.  Here are a few items that have dramatically helped me improve my photography!


Canon EOS Rebel T3i EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens

About a year ago I purchased this DSLR camera.  Now I am a Canon girl for the most part.  I looked at the Nikons and they were extremely nice cameras, but I am a creature of habit and I have learned on a canon and have enjoyed the pictures that they have produced.  So when it came down to choosing between Nikon or Canon, I just chose what I was familiar with.  I don’t think you could go wrong with either brand though.  This camera is great for the photographers who are looking for an easy to use camera and also takes that perfect photo.  The lenses can be interchanged with other lenses allowing this camera to grow with you as your photography needs change.


Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 SP XR Di II VC (Vibration Compensation) Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras

I just purchased this lens last month and oh my I am so in love with it!  Wow, what a difference a lens can make.  A bit pricy yes, but you get what you pay for in a lens.  This lens allows me to shoot a wider angle.  I can shoot in lower light and still achieve a nice looking photo.  I now shoot most of my photos with this lens.  It is a very versatile lens!  I can shoot my food photography and then head to my daughters soccer game to shoot some action shots.  I am very pleased with this lens!


Lowel EGO Digital Imaging, Tabletop Fluorescent Light Unit

This is the lighting unit that I use to take my photos when natural light is not available.  We are heading into winter here is Wisconsin and it gets dark around 4:30 PM!  This little unit has been a life saver for me and allows me to take photos at night or in dim light.  It is very easy to put together and it is very compact for storage.  I actually have two of these units, one for each side and it has taken the stress out of always having to shoot my photos during the short daylight hours.  A must have for any food photographer!



Aperture 3

Aperture 3 is the editing program that I use.  Now I am an apple girl and if you do not have a Mac then you will need my recommendation below this.  This program is so easy to use.  It allows you to correct the white balance, exposure, clarity, and the saturation to name a few.  It also organizes your photos in an easy and efficient way so that it is easy to find your photos again when you might need to use them.



Adobe Photoshop Elements 10

The other program I use is this Adobe Photoshop Elements.  This program takes editing one step further and allows you to change the aperture and has a lot of editing tools to enhance your photos.  Photoshop can be very overwhelming and this Photoshop Elements is a simplified version of Photoshop and is very affordable.  With this program there are a lot of free online videos showing you how to use the software making this a perfect solution for beginner editors.



Tasty Food Photography eBook

 Click here to visit Pinch of Yum.

Here is one of my favorite e-books that really dives into a lot of great stuff. Lindsey over at Pinch of Yum has the most gorgeous photos!  In this e-book, she has tackles technical tips, composition tips, lighting tips, prop and set up tips, editing tips and general workflow tips.  There are instructional videos to easily walk you through learning the whole process!  Wether you are brand new to photography or have experience…this book is for everyone! 


Learn How To Stage Your Food & Make Your Own Props!


A very important part of  taking great photos is learning a little about composition or the layout of your photos.  As you are staging your photos, it is important that the picture makes sense.  You wouldn’t want to put some salad tongs in a picture that doesn’t showcase a salad.

You have to find a balance with staging items into your photos.  You don’t want your photos to become to cluttered or to bare.  Finding that right balance is important.

It is very easy to make all of your own props.  I have made my table tops, cutting boards and a mini studio all for very reasonable prices.  I will show you some tutorials in this series on how to make some great props for your photos.

When I went shopping for props I quickly became frustrated on how pricey things were and how limited the prop stores were.  So I began making all of my own props myself and I will share with you some great projects in the upcoming months.

I am super excited to start this new journey with you all!  You can find this segment under the “Articles” tab (at the top of this site) and there is a sub tab “Food Photography & Props”.  Please come back and visit us for more great tips!  Lets see how beautiful and yummy we can make our photos!


List of Articles Posted In This Series 


Building An Inexpensive Studio & Your Own Props


DSLR Camera & Lenses & Equipment


Food Styling








Other Photography & Blogging Articles


Please note ~ this list will continue to grow as I continue to post more articles so come back frequently.

Share Your Thoughts


What would you like to learn more about?  

Any topics you want me to go more in depth on?

Final Comment

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Your support keeps this blog running and is greatly appreciated. AMAZON DISCLOSURE: The owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon properties including, but not limited to,,,,, or DISCLAIMER: The content on the blog Whole Lifestyle Nutrition is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. I am not a medical professional and the information contained on this blog should not be used to diagnose, treat or prevent any disease or health illness. Please consult with a qualified health care professional before acting on any information presented here.

Join the Conversation

13 thoughts on “A New Series ~ Food Photography, Equipment, Props & More!”

  1. Debbie Banks says:

    Very interested!

  2. greenthickies says:

    This sounds like a great series and I will be following it as I’m always looking for new tips with my photography too.  I love how your recipes have improved but even your old photos still look good to me.  I recently purchased an slr camera too and my photos have also massively improved (If you want to take a look scroll from the bottom to the top of my pinterest board: but I’m still looking for ways to improve further!  Thank you for putting this together.

    1. hallecottis says:

      @greenthickies Oh my goodness, what a difference your pictures are, WOW.  Your lighting is amazing as you get further to the top and even your composition is much improved!  Thanks so much for sharing!  
      For those of you who don’t think cameras make that much of a difference check out my recipe gallery and also Green Thickies pinterest board…big improvements with SLR cameras for sure.  
      Thanks for following Green Thickies :)

    2. hallecottis says:

      @greenthickies Oh one more thing Katherine, have you started shooting manual mode yet?  I was afraid to shoot manual at first, but quickly got the hang of it.  That also has helped me generate better pictures too.

  3. OhLardyCom says:

    This is just what I need and I am so excited to follow this series.  I have been scared of my DSLR but now that I started a blog ( I have needed to get my food photography in gear.  I bought a tripod, made a tabletop and a new lens.  I definitely need that light you mentioned and will look into Photoshop Elements.  What a great series, can’t wait to learn more!

    1. hallecottis says:

      I completely understand being scared of the DSLR, but my hopes are to help you conquer those fears and help you create the best pictures possible! :)  Sounds like you have the equipment all ready, now it is just putting it to use.  If you buy that lighting unit, start off with one and see if you need another.  Last night I shot a photo in my garage at 7 pm (no windows) and one lighting unit and it turned out amazing (no shadows or harsh undertones).  So glad you have joined us in this new series! ~ Halle

  4. I just got a new camera – Nikon d90 and am so excited to find this info!  I would love to have you share this on Thursday at Tasty Traditions

    1. hallecottis says:

      @CulturedPalate I have tried twice to get to your site to link up today but your website will not open :(  Let me know when it is fixed and I will swing on by and link up!  Thanks for stopping by :)

  5. VegetarianMamma says:

    Got it tweeted and pinned!  Thanks for linking up at Gluten Free Fridays!

  6. EdeaKrammer says:

    Canon EOS Rebel T3i EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens will surely get in my Christmas list!!! 😀

  7. chelsearichards23 says:

    Oh yeah!!! Christmas wish list is complete!!! Time to check the card if they have enough balance to take out these babies here!!! Sweet!!! Thanks for having this here… 😀

  8. This is fantastic info; thank you for putting it together!

  9. Laura says:

    Wow, just found this and it’s wonderful – and free!!!  Thanks so much!

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