Breakfast Food Photography: Styling & Composition Guide

Silvain • July 18, 2023 • 8 min read

Breakfast Food Photography top, shows a bread and a glass of milk on a decorated breakfast table

Welcome to the enticing realm of breakfast food photography, where culinary delights and visual storytelling intertwine.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the art and techniques of capturing mouthwatering breakfast dishes that not only tantalize the taste buds but also ignite the imagination.

From mastering composition and lighting to incorporating props and people, we will unlock the secrets to creating captivating images that showcase the essence of breakfast.

Get ready to embark on a journey of creativity, flavor, and visual delight as we explore the world of breakfast food photography. 

1. What is Breakfast Food Photography

There’s something magical about breakfast—the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, the sizzle of bacon on a hot skillet, and the anticipation of indulging in a scrumptious meal to kickstart the day.

Breakfast food photography harnesses this enchantment and elevates it to new heights. It goes beyond simply capturing an image; it immerses us in a sensory experience, evoking emotions and enticing our taste buds.

In the age of social media and food trends, breakfast food photography has emerged as a powerful medium to captivate and inspire.

Inviting Breakfast table bright sunny moring

With a single photograph, food enthusiasts can be transported to a world of culinary delights, where every dish tells a story and invites them to partake in the experience.

It’s a visual feast that entices not only the eyes but also the imagination, encouraging exploration, creativity, and a deeper appreciation for the art of breakfast.

2. Essential Equipment for Breakfast Food Photography

To embark on your breakfast food photography journey, you’ll need the right tools to capture the mouthwatering allure of your dishes. Here are some essential equipment recommendations:

  • Camera: Invest in a high-quality DSLR or mirrorless camera that offers manual control over settings. Look for features such as a large image sensor, good low-light performance, and the ability to shoot in RAW format for maximum flexibility in post-processing.
  • Lenses: A versatile lens collection is key to capturing the variety of breakfast dishes. Start with a prime lens, such as a 50mm or 35mm, for its excellent sharpness and wide aperture that allows for beautiful depth of field. Additionally, consider a macro lens to capture intricate details and a wide-angle lens for expansive shots of breakfast spreads.
  • Tripod: A sturdy tripod is essential for achieving sharp images, especially in low-light situations or when using longer shutter speeds. It provides stability and allows you to compose your shots precisely.
  • Reflector/Diffuser: These tools help manipulate lighting conditions to achieve the desired look. A reflector bounces light onto the subject, reducing shadows, while a diffuser softens harsh light, creating a gentle and flattering glow.

Remember, the equipment you choose should align with your budget and specific needs as a breakfast food photographer. With the right gear in hand, you’re ready to embark on a delectable journey of capturing irresistible breakfast delights.

colorful healthy breakfast plate

3. Lighting Techniques for Capturing Breakfast Foods

Lighting is an essential element in breakfast food photography, as it sets the mood, enhances textures, and brings out the vibrant colors of your dishes.

Here, we’ll explore various lighting setups and natural light strategies to elevate your breakfast food photography:

  • Natural Light Magic: Take advantage of natural light, especially during breakfast hours when the sunlight is soft and warm. Position your setup near a window or a well-lit area where diffused light streams in. Avoid direct sunlight, which can create harsh shadows and overpower the scene. Use sheer curtains or white sheets as diffusers to soften the light further.
  • Side Lighting for Texture: Experiment with side lighting to accentuate the textures and details of your breakfast dishes. Place your subject perpendicular to the light source, allowing shadows to create depth and highlight the contours. This technique works exceptionally well for capturing the crispy edges of bacon, the flaky layers of croissants, or the intricate patterns on waffles.
  • Backlighting for a Magical Glow: Backlighting can create a magical and ethereal effect, especially when shooting translucent elements like a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice or a plate of syrup-drenched pancakes. Position the light source behind the subject, allowing it to glow and create a beautiful rim of light around the edges.
  • Artificial Light Control: When natural light is limited or unavailable, artificial lighting can come to the rescue. Invest in a continuous LED light panel or a speedlight with a diffuser to mimic natural lighting conditions. Softboxes or umbrellas can help create a soft and diffused light source, similar to the effect of natural window light.
  • Lighting Accessories: Experiment with lighting accessories to control and shape the light. Reflectors can bounce light back onto the subject to fill in shadows, while diffusers can soften and spread the light for a more gentle and flattering effect. White foam boards or silver reflectors can act as fill lights to balance the overall lighting in the scene.

Take the time to experiment with different lighting techniques, observe how light interacts with your food, and adjust accordingly.

With practice, you’ll develop an intuitive sense of how to manipulate light to achieve the desired look and feel for your breakfast food photography.

4. Styling Tips for Breakfast Food Photography

In breakfast food photography, styling plays a crucial role in creating visually captivating images that entice the viewer’s appetite.

Here are some creative ideas and techniques to beautifully arrange and style your breakfast dishes:

  • Composition is Key: Experiment with different compositions to create visually appealing arrangements. Consider the rule of thirds, where you divide your frame into nine equal sections and place key elements along the intersecting lines or at their points of convergence. This adds balance and visual interest to your photographs.
  • Color Harmony: Choose a color palette that complements your dish and creates a harmonious visual appeal. Consider using contrasting colors to make certain elements pop, or opt for a monochromatic scheme for a more minimalist and sophisticated look.
  • Textures and Layers: Incorporate a variety of textures and layers to add depth and dimension to your breakfast composition. Crispy bacon, drizzles of syrup, or a sprinkle of granola can provide visual interest and make your image more dynamic.
  • Fresh Ingredients: Utilize fresh ingredients as props to enhance the aesthetic appeal of your breakfast dishes. Sprigs of mint, slices of vibrant fruit, or a dusting of powdered sugar can add freshness and a natural touch to your compositions.
  • Storytelling through Props: Select props that tell a story and evoke a sense of context for your breakfast scene. Vintage utensils, rustic plates, or a steaming cup of coffee can create a narrative and transport the viewer into a specific moment or setting.
  • Play with Negative Space: Don’t be afraid to embrace negative space, which is the empty area surrounding your subject. This can help draw attention to the main dish or highlight specific details, creating a visually pleasing and minimalist composition.
  • Garnishing and Finishing Touches: The art of garnishing can elevate the appeal of your breakfast dishes. Sprinkle powdered sugar, drizzle honey, or add a sprinkle of fresh herbs to add that final touch of finesse.

Each breakfast dish has its own unique characteristics and story to tell. Experiment, let your creativity flow, and don’t be afraid to take risks.

French breakfast table at Bistro

5. Composition and Props for Breakfast Food Photography

When it comes to breakfast food photography, composition and props play a vital role in creating visually appealing and enticing images. Here, we’ll guide food enthusiasts on how to compose captivating breakfast food shots and select suitable props:

  • Rule of Thirds: Apply the rule of thirds to create a balanced composition. Imagine a grid dividing your frame into nine equal sections and position key elements of your dish along these lines or at their points of intersection. This technique adds visual interest and guides the viewer’s eye through the image.
  • Framing and Angles: Experiment with different angles and perspectives to capture unique and dynamic shots. Shoot from overhead to showcase the layout of a breakfast spread, or get close and shoot at eye level to emphasize the details of a single dish. Frame the subject within the scene, using surrounding elements like utensils, napkins, or ingredients to add depth and context.
  • Leading Lines: Utilize leading lines to guide the viewer’s gaze towards the main subject of your photograph. This could be the shape of a cutting board, the curve of a spoon, or the lines formed by ingredients arranged in a particular way. Leading lines create a sense of movement and draw attention to the focal point.
  • Negative Space: Embrace negative space to give your subject room to breathe and create a sense of elegance and simplicity. Use empty areas strategically to emphasize the main dish or draw attention to specific details.
  • Props with Purpose: Select props that complement and enhance your breakfast dishes. Choose items that tell a story or create a desired atmosphere. Fresh ingredients, utensils, napkins, and tableware can add depth, color, and a sense of authenticity to your compositions.

The goal is to create visually appealing and inviting images that make viewers eager to savor the breakfast experience. Experiment with different compositions, angles, and prop choices to find your unique style and showcase the beauty of breakfast through your lens.

healthy breakfast with fruits natural light

6. Editing and Post-Processing for Breakfast Food Photos

Editing and post-processing are essential steps to enhance the visual appeal of your breakfast food photos. Here are some tips and tricks to take your images to the next level:

  • Adjust Exposure and White Balance: Fine-tune the exposure to ensure the proper balance of light and dark tones. Adjust the white balance to accurately represent the colors of your breakfast dishes.
  • Enhance Colors: Use selective color adjustments or saturation to make the colors of your food pop. Adjust individual color channels to enhance the vibrancy and richness of specific elements.
  • Sharpen and Enhance Details: Apply selective sharpening techniques to enhance the details of your food. Be careful not to over-sharpen, as it can create an unnatural look.
  • Crop and Straighten: Use cropping and straightening tools to refine the composition and remove any distractions from the frame. Ensure that the main subject is the focal point of the image.
  • Remove Imperfections: Use the spot healing tool or clone stamp tool to remove any distracting elements or imperfections from your photos, such as crumbs or blemishes.
  • Experiment with Filters and Presets: Explore different filters and presets to achieve specific moods or styles. However, exercise restraint and avoid overusing filters, as they can quickly make your photos appear artificial.
  • Maintain Consistency: Establish a consistent editing style or color palette across your breakfast food photography portfolio. This helps create a cohesive visual identity and makes your images recognizable.

Use editing tools to refine and elevate your images while maintaining a sense of authenticity

7. Using Storytelling in Breakfast Food Photography

In the world of breakfast food photography, storytelling goes beyond capturing a beautifully arranged dish. It involves creating a narrative that connects with the audience on a deeper level.

By infusing your breakfast food photography with storytelling elements, you can evoke emotions, transport viewers to a specific moment, and ignite their imagination.

Here, we explore the power of storytelling in breakfast food photography and how it can create a profound connection with the audience.

  • Setting the Stage: Consider the context and environment in which your breakfast dish is placed. Is it a cozy Sunday brunch with family? A rustic countryside picnic? By incorporating relevant elements and props, you set the stage for your storytelling journey.
  • Creating a Narrative: Think about the story you want to tell with your breakfast food photography. Is it about the nostalgia of childhood breakfasts? The joy of shared meals? Craft your composition and props to convey that narrative, whether it’s through the arrangement of utensils, spilled ingredients, or subtle details that evoke specific emotions.
  • Invoking Emotion: Explore ways to elicit emotions from your audience. It could be capturing the delight on a child’s face as they take their first bite or showcasing the comfort and warmth of a bowl of oatmeal on a chilly morning. Pay attention to facial expressions, body language, and the overall atmosphere to evoke a genuine emotional response.
  • Implied Stories: Infuse your breakfast food photography with elements that imply a story. It could be a partially eaten croissant with a cup of coffee, suggesting a moment of indulgence and relaxation. These implied stories allow the viewer to engage and imagine their own narrative within the image.

Storytelling in breakfast food photography is about capturing the essence of the breakfast experience. It’s about going beyond the visual appeal of the dish and creating a connection with the viewer, enticing them to be part of the story you’ve crafted through your lens.

8. Tips for Capturing Action Shots in Breakfast Food Photography

Action shots add dynamism and energy to your breakfast food photography. They capture the essence of the cooking process or the excitement of enjoying a meal.

Here are some techniques to capture dynamic and engaging action shots of breakfast dishes:

  • Freeze the Moment: Use a fast shutter speed to freeze the action and capture crisp details. This is particularly useful when photographing moments like pouring syrup over pancakes, cracking an egg, or slicing through a stack of waffles.
  • Continuous Shooting Mode: Switch your camera to continuous shooting mode to capture a series of shots in quick succession. This allows you to choose the perfect frame where the action is most compelling.
  • Preparation Shots: Document the preparation process by capturing the steps involved in creating the breakfast dish. This could be whisking batter, flipping pancakes, or drizzling sauce over a plate. These shots add an element of excitement and anticipation to your photography.
  • Focus on Hands: Hands can convey the action and add a human touch to your images. Focus on the hands of the cook or the person enjoying the meal to capture the tactile experience and the connection between food and the individual.
  • Motion Blur: Experiment with intentional motion blur to add a sense of movement and energy to your action shots. This technique can be used to convey the stirring of coffee, the steam rising from a hot plate, or the pouring of milk into a bowl of cereal.
  • Use Props: Incorporate props such as utensils, ingredients, or cooking tools in action shots to enhance the narrative and showcase the process. For example, capture the scattering of flour or the whisking of eggs to add visual interest.

By implementing these techniques, you can capture moments that transport your audience into the heart of the breakfast experience, making them feel immersed and connected to the joyous energy that breakfast brings.

We have a complete collection of food photography tips here.

woman in kitchen preparing breakfast posing for camera

9. Incorporating People in Breakfast Food Photography

Including people in breakfast food photography adds a human element and creates a sense of connection. By showcasing individuals enjoying the meal, you bring life and relatability to your images.

Here are a few reasons why incorporating people in breakfast food photography is essential:

  • Emotional Connection: People add a layer of emotion to the photograph. Capture expressions of joy, satisfaction, or anticipation as individuals interact with the breakfast spread. These genuine moments evoke emotions and resonate with the viewer.
  • Storytelling: People bring narratives to life. Showcasing a family gathered around the breakfast table, friends sharing laughter over a brunch, or a couple enjoying a romantic breakfast date tells a story that viewers can relate to and imagine themselves in.
  • Social Context: Breakfast is often a communal meal. Including people in your photographs emphasizes the social aspect of breakfast and highlights the shared experience of enjoying food together.
  • Scale and Proportion: People can provide a sense of scale and proportion to your images, giving viewers a better understanding of the size and portion of the breakfast dishes.

When incorporating people, ensure they are positioned in a way that complements the composition and doesn’t overshadow the food. Capture candid moments, interactions, or even hands reaching for a bite.


Breakfast food photography is a delightful journey that combines artistry, storytelling, and the love for good food.

By incorporating the power of composition, lighting, props, and storytelling techniques, you can create captivating images that entice the senses and evoke emotions.

Remember, breakfast food photography is not just about showcasing delicious dishes; it’s about inviting your audience to immerse themselves in the breakfast experience.

Whether it’s through the inclusion of people, the use of storytelling elements, or the conveyance of ambiance, aim to create a connection with your viewers, making them feel a part of the breakfast feast.

So grab your camera, let your creativity flow, and explore the world of breakfast food photography. 

Breakfast Image Gallery


Try this breakfast recipes for your photoshoot:

What are your Breakfast Photography Tips? Let us know in the comments.

By Furoore team member Silvain

Silvain is a French/German national and has been with the Furoore Team since the beginning. He likes to write about various photography themes, especially food photography. If you leave a comment, he will come back to you to answer any questions you may have.


Related Articles

Your thoughts and questions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *