Getting A Grip On Your Food Photography

Getting A Grip On Your Food Photography

Have you ever wished you had an extra hand that you could set a prop in and know that it wouldn't move? Fortunately photographers and videographers have dozens of clamps, clips, stands, and arms that allow them to place any piece of lighting gear, lighting modifier, or prop anywhere they would like to. You could have a model or member of your crew hold a utensil in place, but there is a high chance that they will experience fatigue and drop the food. Here is a solution that uses grip gear to ensure your food will stay in place for as long as you would like.


For this set-up, you will need a light stand, Super Clamp, Flex Arm, and a Nano Clamp. Connect your super clamp to the Flex Arm. At the end of the Flex Arm, add the Nano Clamp. Connect the base of the super clamp to the light stand. You will have to do some maneuvering to get the arm where you will need it, but with the flexible arm will give you a wide range of motion. At the end of the Nano Clamp, add the utensil.

Once the fork is in place, I add the styled piece of food. Here are a couple shots showing the fork in place.


Above I have showed you one example, but there are hundreds of different shots where this would come in handy. Shooting cereal or soup and want to have the spoon hovering over the bowl with the food in it? Clamping your utensil down will allow for you to achieve this shot. Shooting pasta and want to have the noodles perfectly wrapped around the tines of the fork? Once again a clamp is the solution. What are some of your favorite grip set ups?

For more food photography tips, tricks, and tutorials, check out issues 1-7 of photographing FOOD!

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AJ's picture

Seems like this would be really helpful- any cheaper alternatives to the clamps you used?

Taylor Mathis's picture

Hey AJ, There are other companies, like impact, that make them. They should work the same way at a lesser price, but I can't say for sure. The ones I used were the ones I linked to.

muellerworks's picture

But the super clamp shown in the picture uses a knuckle grip style lever rather than the type of lever Manfrotto uses (like shown on the nano clamp). Are you sure the superclamp is a Manfrotto? I'm trying to decide between Manfrotto and Matthews. Matthews has the knuckle grip style (not sure of the exact terminology).

denis's picture

Just Downloaded the book as I have my first serious food shoot coming up. Easily the best $30 i've spent this year! Clean, clear and simple. Thank you.

Taylor Mathis's picture

Thanks Denis! Glad to hear you enjoyed photographing FOOD. Good luck with your food shoot!

Bryon Black's picture

Interesting that you put the fork on the left side. Looking at the photo makes me feel weird since I'm right-handed

modchik's picture

you are not alone, this was not sitting with me quite right. Pun intended.:D

Feral Cat's picture

a white card overhead might help with the odd reflections in the fork. You want the whole photo to look "clean" and appetizing, a spotty fork isn't as appealing. Other than that, it is a nice shot. just my 2 cents.

Vickie Siculiano's picture

Are you kidding me? Is that how they do that? That's awesome. Thanks for sharing!!