Diagonal Lines | Food Photography Tip

Leftover Oatmeal Cookies

Composition is, in my opinion, second to lighting when it comes to producing images.  Light is numero uno, composition, dos.  This is also why I love food photography, because food will stay where you put it.  People on the other hand, not so much.

“Blaise, would you please, sit still!” – me


What is composition?  It’s how everything is arranged within the frame.  Where everything is placed, or not placed, impacts the sense of balance, movement, style and energy in an image.

A lot goes into a successful composition, but one tip to help improve your composition is considering diagonal lines.  I live for diagonal lines in my food.  Do you see the diagonal line made with the toppings on the oatmeal?  …and you thought oatmeal was boring.

Leftover Oatmeal

Or diagonal lines can be invisible, made by things lined up in a repeating pattern that stretch across the image.  Like these Leftover Oatmeal Cookies lined up diagonally.

Diagonal Lines

That cookie looks like a frog, now that I look at it.  Right?  A frog face with two bugged-out eyes?  Anyway, back to lines.

Diagonal lines don’t always have to be the food, they can be the utensils.  Like this fork with the Chicken Enchiladas.  I could really go for some of those right now.

Chicken Enchiladas

Or diagonal lines can be in the background like in this salad at Coconuts Fish Cafe in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Coconuts Fish Cafe

No matter where you put them, if they’re in the picture, diagonal lines do a great job of telling the viewer’s eyes where to go.  It takes them from one end of the line to the other, sweeping naturally across the image.

Food Photography Challenge

In the next food picture you post on Instagram, tag #photochickens (because us chickens have to stick together!) and demonstrate the concept of diagonal lines.  I’d love to see your work.  Too, you’ll be able to show off your fancy food to your friends with added flair and dynamic quality.

Joanie Simon

I'm a pro food photographer living in Phoenix, AZ with my hubby and two little dudes. Join me on YouTube for photography and cooking tutorials.

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  • Reply Neha Sharma

    June 22, 2017, 3:29 am

    Thanks for great information,Really this post is interesting,I always appreciate such type of posts, I think the work done by the author is really great.

  • Reply Vivek Wedid

    September 19, 2017, 5:25 am

    Just love the photos of the various food items posted above. The photographic skills have made the pictures look tempting. The above tips offered would definitely help out my friend who practices food photography as his profession. He did benefit a lot from reading this post here.

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