Tips & tricks: shooting food & flatlays


We couldn’t be more thrilled to highlight Marcella DiLonardo, a fantastic food and prop photographer based out of Toronto, Ontario. One look at her incredibly well curated feed will make you fall in love with her inspiring work. We hosted two events with Marcella, the blogger and lense behind Hey Modest Marce, over the past few months, with her leading the session’s providing other members of the #MyCustomView community with tips & tricks on how she creates her beautiful food imagery. Her combination of gorgeous photography and delicious recipes make her an easy feature to share some of her tricks on shooting great food photography.

Marcella’s top propping and styling tips for food photography

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The Best Uses of Background

  • Contrast is key here. Make sure you have a good amount of differentiation between the backdrop and dish, allowing the dish to take centre stage. 
  • Change the backdrops for different looks you are trying to achieve. Some good places to start? Marble/ White for Clean; Reclaimed Wood for Rustic; Slate/concrete for Moody
  • Follow some DIY blogs to create some different backdrops on a budget. A favourite of ours? Treasures and Travels

Propping and Details

  • Use simple plates. Avoid bold patterns as they take away from the food! Pottery is great for this.
  • Switch flatware to get different looks. Some examples? Vintage, silver, gold and copper.
  • Use different linens to add colour & texture to your images.

Food Styling

  • Make the food look inviting and authentic. A little mess adds a human touch.
  • The food should always appear fresh.
  • Use edible garnishes and ingredients in the recipe to add visual interest.
  • Don’t use any props or ingredients that aren’t in the recipe - it should make sense.
If the food looks good, but the photo is mediocre- it can sometimes be edited into a usable image. If the food looks bad, no matter how good the photo is- it will be a poor shot.
— Marcella DiLonardo

We loved having Marcella visit our Toronto HQ and share her tips and tricks on shooting excellent food photography. These tips were designed to help you, whether on location or in studio settings, to set up and execute your photo shoots seamlessly. Need more food inspiration? Make sure to check out Marcella’s blog and Instagram for her drool-worthy shots and recipes. 

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