Editorial Food Photography – Waffles

Learn how to make the subject the hero of the shot in this food photography class with Karl and professional food photographer and stylist Anna Pustynnikova.

Throughout this video, you’ll learn how to choose a background that complements rather than distracts from the subject, how the choice of outfit can be used to juxtapose the subject and make it stand out, and how you can use effective lighting setups to make the subject pop. Photographing waffles as an example, Karl and Anna walk you through the start-to-finish shoot to demonstrate how you can achieve this eye-catching editorial-style image.

Course objectives:

  • Learn how to photograph food
  • Food photography lighting setup examples
  • Lighting techniques to make the subject stand out
  • How to use colour in photography
  • Outfit choice & styling

If you have any questions about this class, please post in the comment section below.

For this waffle food image, we utilised a number of subtle techniques to really draw attention to the subject and make it stand out.

As you’ll see in the class, one of the first things we addressed was the choice of outfit. Eventually opting for the blue denim jacket, this provided a great contrast with the golden yellow of the waffles, the bright red berries and pop of green mint.

Food photography image

Using colour to make the subject stand out.

Lighting was the other key tool used to help make the subject stand out. There were a couple of techniques I used to do this, including controlled patches of light on the waffles, berries and mint and a beam of light on the background to help draw the eye to the subject.

Food photography lighting setup

The full lighting setup for this shot can be seen in the video.

Throughout this class, you’ll see how just slight adjustments can really help enhance the final image, and in the end I was very pleased with the result.

Food photography waffles

The final waffles food image.


  1. Hi Karl and Anna, thanks for this tutorial. I would like to make a question if still possible, after months.
    How did you come with the choice of the denim jacket, what was the reason behind?
    I am asking because to me this type of outfit gives me the idea of a beer out with friends, rather than a sweet served nicely. This might be a cultural boundary, that’s why I am asking, no polemic intended.
    Thanks if you will find the time to reply.

    Maurizio Caravaggi

    1. Hi Kareas, the main reason is that yellow is the juxtaposing colour of blue which means the waffles (yellow) will pop out more from a blue colour than a warm colour. At the time this was the only blue clothing we had when setting up the shot.

  2. Hi Karl

    What did you use the 1x broncolor Softbox 30×120 for.
    I see a light behind you with modeling lamp in the distance. Is that it? Where was it pointed?

    I clearly see the use of the large softbox, the two picolites, the background light with grid and the reflector but not sure where the other softbox mentioned was placed.

    1. Hi Michelle-Anne, The 30×120 on camera right is to add a bit of light to Ashleighs arm. The light behind me in the distance is likely the video light on me so the cameraman can have enough light to film me.

  3. Hi Karl,

    Lovely shot, as always. One question: if we don’t have the possibility to get pico lights, could snoots work? Any ideas on how to achieve those highlights on the berries and leaf other than photoshopping it?



    1. Hi Jorge, yes a snoot with a tight grid on it can usually get you a small enough patch of light to do something similar.

  4. Ciao Karl and Anna,

    have you ever took photos of ice creams? I am working with a producer and I am finding it really challenging, it would be interesting if you have any advice or tip to treat it for a shooting.

    Best, Matteo

    1. Hi Matteo,

      I have used mashed potatoes and it looks just like ice cream. You can add food colorants to change the flavors. Hope it helps.

      1. Thank you Jorge for the comment, unfortunately I had to use the original one. Nice tip for another shot though 🙂

    2. Hi Matteo!

      I have a couple of tips. If you can substitute the real ice-cream with any other ice cream with the same look, you need to find the ice cream ( or prepare) with less fat and sugar cause it keeps shape for a much longer time. Perfectly it should be really hard in the freezer. I always make ice cream balls in advance, place them on a plate and freeze it before shooting, it also helps them to keep the shape for a longer time, and you can change faster melted with a new one.
      Hope it helps!

      1. Hi Anna, thank you for your kind comment. Unfortunately I had to shoot for a company producing a specific ice cream and I could not make a fake one. I used though your advice, shaping it before and then putting it in the freezer. What I also used is an ice spray, who helped to keep it cold a bit longer 🙂 I posted the photos in the FB community, the banana cup was the most difficult one! Cheers.

Leave a Comment