• Harrietbaileyphoto

3 ways you can use Shutter Speed To create stunning Food Photos

Updated: Feb 23, 2020

There are many things that impact the perfect food photograph. The main components of capturing a great food photo relies on:

1. Your photographic technique

2. Great looking food

3. Creative control and composition

Once you have mastered your technique for shooting food photography with your preferred lighting and you have the great looking food ready to photograph you are set to start getting creative!

Within this blog I will be looking at just one way to experiment with creative control for food photography. This post is all about how to bring movement and excitement into your shots by experimenting with Shutter Speed. To demonstrate the techniques I have photographed a stack of pancakes to visually show the results of these settings.

SHOT ONE - shooting with slow shutter speed to increase light levels.

Within a standard shot you want your shutter speed to be fast enough to freeze the photograph and its contents with no blur. I always advise shooting with a tripod as this gives you a whole lot more creative control. First of all the tripod allows you to lower the shutter speed to let in more light, using a remote control to set off the shutter eradicates any risk of camera shake. This is especially useful when photographing with natural daylight as sometimes you need more light within the shot and need to keep a higher aperture to retain the depth within the image.

I shot this at 1/25 sec, f5, ISO 100 at 50mm on Canon 5D MK IV

SHOT TWO - Using slow shutter speed to capture movement.

Combining this slow shutter speed with movement within the frame can create a sense of action. For example: pour on some syrup or sieve icing sugar over the top. As the image is being captured over the period of a second it will capture the blurred path trail of the moving object. The longer the shutter speed, the more blur will be achieved. You can capture the movement of things dripping, pouring and falling etc. This can give your photograph a real wow factor as the movement will produce different effects. For the above photograph I drizzled the syrup over the pancakes whilst setting the shutter off with a remote. The resulting image has captured the fall of the syrup to show the movement yet not with too much blur so that you don't lose the detail.

I shot this at 1/25 sec, f5, ISO 100 at 50mm on Canon 5D MK IV

SHOT THREE - Using fast shutter speed to freeze movement.

Lastly another way to bring movement into the shot is to speed up your shutter speed so it captures the smallest of movements in clear detail and freezes time for the viewer. You can capture drips, pours, spills and much more. You can also capture the movement by capturing things mid-fall. For example dropping food into the frame, or dropping something into liquid. For this image of the pancakes I used a fast shutter speed to capture the berries mid fall on to the pancake stack, I think that this adds excitement and drama to the image.

I shot this at 1/500 sec, f2.8, ISO 400 at 50mm on Canon 5D MK IV

By experimenting with shutter speed you are capturing an image that the human eye can not visibly see itself. This creates an image that showcases the magic of photography: the fact that the camera can see what the human eye cannot. The camera opens up a world otherwise invisible to our eyes.

I hope this blog has inspired you to get creative by using your shutter speed within food and drink photography. Please do message me if you have any further questions and please do check out my other blog posts for more hints and tips for photographing Food, Drink and Interior Photography!


Freelance Photographer based in Bournemouth, Dorset.

Harriet Bailey Photography specialises in providing stunning Food, Drink and Interior Photography.

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