Improving Your Food Photography & A Giveaway With Northern Drops!

As with most bloggers, when I started out I didn’t know anything about photography, never mind food photography. For the first few months I didn’t think a lot about it, I knew my photos were bad, but I wasn’t really focused on making them better. I was SO focused on getting 5 posts out a week. I was stuck on the thought that if I was going to build an audience I had to make sure I got a post in their inbox every day. Some people do subscribe to this thinking, but I came to find out that it wasn’t working for me. Instead of focusing on high quality content I was cranking out whatever I could just to put something up. For me, this approach was both exhausting and unsatisfying, I wasn’t really enjoying it because it always seemed rushed and I was constantly thinking about my next post instead of giving myself time to focus on the post I was working on. Once I decided to scale back to 2-3 posts per week, I had time to start focusing on the photography.

Capital Photography Center Classes: 

I have completely fallen in love with food photography, it’s become my favorite part of blogging! It’s funny because I am not very artistic. I can’t draw or sew or even write in a straight line, but something about food photography really excites me! For Christmas Walter gave me my first DSLR camera! I was so excited, but also nervous, because I had no clue how to use it. I signed up for a DSLR Photography Basics class with a local photography center, Capital Photography Center, and took the class in late January. It was in a class room and the instructor went over all the different features of a DSLR camera. It sounds boring, but it was so helpful to learn hands on about how to change all of the camera settings and how they can work together.

About a month later, I signed up for another one of their classes, Getting Started in Food Photography with Renee Comet. Renee is an advertising photographer that specializes in food photography, she has worked for many well known brands and publications. She often works for the Washington Post Food section and Bonnie Benwick, a writer and food stylish for the Post, assists her with the class. The class is held in Renee’s DC photography studio, a dreamlike place with more photography backgrounds and props than you could imagine! Renee walked us through different projects she has worked on in the past. It was both inspiring and educational to hear how she thinks about the different projects and how she creates a mood to match or compliment the food she is photographing. 

Two Loves Studio: 

Around the same time that I took Renee’s class I stumbled upon the blog Two Loves Studio. A blog created specifically to help food bloggers enhance their photography. Rachel, the voice behind Two Loves Studio, offers a Free 7-Day Email Course for food bloggers to “Boost Your Skills + Become The Superstar Food Photographer You’ve Always Wanted To Be!” I signed up for the course and found it so helpful! Each day she sent a tip or two and gave some background on how she started putting the small things she was suggesting into practice. I really love how accessible the course is, all the things she suggests are very do-able and don’t leave you feeling overwhelmed  or like you do not have the resources to get started. I definitely recommend signing up if you are looking to improve your food photography! 

My Food Photography Then and Now: 

By implementing a lot of what I was learning from the classes and online resources, my photography started to slowly improve and is continuing to improve with each recipe! 



The first photo was taken with my iPhone and the second one was taken with my DSLR, however that is only a small part of why the second photo is so much better than the first. The first photo was taken after sunset in my kitchen without any natural light, it is horribly unappetizing and uses no props or background to enhance the look of the food. The second was taken near a window during peak sun hours, it was photographed at an appetizing angle, with props to compliment and add excitement to the composition. It was also shot on a clean, beautiful background that helps the soup “pop” in the photo! Finding the right props and getting creative about styling is really important to enhancing your food photography. A bowl of carrot soup on it’s own is pretty boring. You have to think about the colors and texture of the food you are shooting as well as the story you want the photos to tell. 

Northern Drops Photography Backgrounds: 

When I first started looking for photography backgrounds I found some beautiful thick slab backgrounds, but they were hundreds of dollars and I definitely was not looking to spend that kind of money. I started searching on Etsy for an alternative and that’s when I discovered Northern Drops!  Northern Drops is an Etsy store for photography backgrounds. I have purchased a bunch of the backgrounds from their “product backgrounds” and “wood backgrounds” and I am loving them! The designs are printed on polyester film that is glare free, which is so important for taking good photos. The backgrounds are very durable and waterproof, making them easy to clean! All of the backgrounds come in varying sizes and are really affordable! 

In an effort to upgrade them even a bit more I took on a small DIY project of gluing the backgrounds to pieces of birch wood. At Home Depot they will cut you a piece of wood in whatever size you need. I had them cut me pieces of wood to fit my different backgrounds and then used a spray adhesive to glue the backgrounds to the boards. I was even able to make them 2-sided! This way they are easy to store and I don’t have to worry about them getting bent or folded. I can also easily move them around the house to find the best lighting! The backgrounds I was working with were $13/piece, the wood was $12 for 2 pieces and the spray adhesive was $6. It was an affordable, easy and fun project! Thanks to Northern Drops I now have an assortment of beautiful photography backgrounds to choose from! 

Giveaway: (CLOSED) 

You could have them too! Northern Drops has graciously offered to send 1 lucky reader 2 – 22X22 inch product backgrounds of your choosing!

To Enter Please Do The Following:

First, like Northern Drops and Chocolate Covered Cheetah on Facebook.

Then, visit the Northern Drops Shop on Etsy, leave a comment below letting us know your favorite background!

**If you have any ideas for backgrounds, add it to your comment below!  NorthernDrops would love to hear any thoughts you have!** 

The Giveaway closes this Sunday (4/2) at midnight! The winner will be announced on Monday (4/3)! Good luck! 


This post is sponsored by Northern Drops. All opinions are my own. 


Let’s be friends! Follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook


This post contains Amazon affiliate links. I only link to products I personally use and believe in. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I receive a small commission, but the price you pay is not affected. Thanks for your support! 

Leave a Comment

  1. Marjan said:

    This is great!! I love all the ones that are rustic and wooden…like the old barn door look. I like the one with white brick too.
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  2. Emily said:

    How can you choose just one?! I love both the Mint Green/Light Teal Wooden backdrop and the White Painted Brick also is so pretty! Beautiful backdrops!

  3. Kat Downs said:

    I love the white washed brick! Great post, Laura. There are some awesome tips here!

  4. Jenn said:

    I love the Colorful Distressed Wood. Not sure what the heck I would use it with, but it’s so pretty!

  5. Michelle said:

    Oh! Your hard work and dedication to learning totally paid off! Good for you!

    As for the northern drops backgrounds, I really like the one that is wooden boards painted blue. It’s very pretty!

  6. Beth said:

    I’m loving the distressed wood board backdrops! For possible ideas for future backdrops, I’d say find some darker natural patterns (wood, tile, slate board, metal, etc.). I feel like I’m seeing a lot of darker, moodier food photos lately.

  7. Karen said:

    Great Giveaway! I love the the wood backgrounds, particularly the Whitewashed Wood in white

  8. Jen said:

    I like the ROUGH SAWN BOARDS (Horizontal) wood floor boards background.