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Food Styling Tips for Sandwiches (without a Food Stylist)

What foods are the most challenging for you to shoot by yourself? I think this varies for every food photographer, but for me it’s definitely sandwiches. I decided to challenge myself and made this garden greens sandwich with a green goddess dressing. I’m sharing some food styling tips for sandwiches that I learned along with this really tasty recipe.

This post contains affiliate links. Read the affiliate disclosure.

Garden Greens Sandwiches with Green Goddess DressingGarden Greens Sandwiches with Green Goddess Dressing

Food Styling Tips for Sandwiches (without a Food Stylist)

1. Use Fresh Ingredients

This may seem obvious, but I’ve tried grabbing what’s on hand in the fridge and it just doesn’t work out. It’s very obvious when ingredients are not FRESH in food photo shoots. And, if the food doesn’t look good, the images won’t look good either.

Whenever I’m shooting by myself, I either buy ingredients the night before or get up extra early on the day of the shoot to buy the ingredients I need.

2. Get Really Good Bread

For styling sandwiches, it’s important to be selective in the type of bread you choose to use. I chose a multi-grain bread (for texture) that was pre-cut into thicker-than-normal slices (for height).  You could also pick up a variety of bread options to see what will shoot best.

Garden Greens Sandwiches with Green Goddess Dressing

3. Build Layers for Extra Height

The goal with sandwiches is to highlight each ingredient so you can see them. I used extra of each ingredient as I layered and although the sandwich looked huge in person, the extra height made it look extra appetizing in front of the camera.

Here’s how I approached the layering of this sandwich:

  1. I chose a thick slice of bread for the base and placed it on top of a small cutting board for additional height.
  2. I added room temperature goat cheese so it was easy to spread smoothly and made sure extra was towards the front of the sandwich so you could see it.
  3. I layered in some curvy lettuce greens and thicker avocado slices.
  4. I added a thicker slice of tomato and a slice of fresh mozzarella.
  5. I added thinly sliced cucumber (I used my mandoline) for some additional thin, curvy layers.
  6. I added some green pepper slices.
  7. I added some pickled red onions towards the front of the sandwich to make sure their vibrant color was visible.
  8. I added more curvy greens and finally topped it with some broccoli microgreens.
  9. I used an eye dropper to carefully add the dressing.

Related Post: Natural Light Food Photography Tips

Garden Greens Sandwiches with Green Goddess DressingGarden Greens Sandwiches with Green Goddess Dressing

4. Use Good Lighting

Lighting the sandwich is really important to make those pretty layers and colors actually show up and not get too dark.

For this shoot, I used natural light, set my camera on my tripod and adjusted my camera settings to let even more light into the shot with a slower shutter speed. I set up my sandwich next to a large window where there was lots of natural light hitting the side and front of the sandwich.

Related Post: Getting Started in Food Photography

I used a diffuser on the window to slightly soften the light on the ingredients without taking away the light. The window and diffuser were on the left and I used a white V-flat (two pieces of white foam board taped together) on the right to bounce light back to the other side of the sandwich.

Studio lights would definitely come in handy as well if  you didn’t have enough natural light to work with.

5. Use Styling Tweezers (Not Your Fingers)

Styling tweezers are an important tool to have on hand for food styling. It allows you to move little pieces without disrupting the other pieces. I have this food styling kit on hand at my home studio which includes a variety of tweezers and special spoons for manipulating the ingredients. Having a food styling kit on hand (or just some styling tweezers) will help you be much more precise and careful.

Garden Greens Sandwiches with Green Goddess DressingGarden Greens Sandwiches with Green Goddess Dressing

6. Practice

I always say the real secret to awesome food photography is PRACTICE – no matter what you’re shooting. I have struggled with sandwiches for a long time and they rarely make it on my blog because of it. But, I hope these food styling tips for sandwiches provide some guidance to help. This sandwich is far from perfect, but it was good for me to practice and share the tips that helped me.

Don’t forget to grab the recipe below!

Happy Shooting!

Garden Greens Sandwich with Green Goddess Dressing

Ingredients

For the Green Goddess Dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons dairy free greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

For the Pickled Red Onions:

  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced

For the Sandwiches:

  • Multi Grain Bread of your choice
  • 4 ounces herbed goat cheese
  • 1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced with a mandoline
  • 1 medium green pepper, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 2 medium avocados
  • Fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced and pickled
  • Microgreens

Instructions

  1. To prep the dressing, mix the dressing ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.
  2. To prep the red onions, whisk first 3 pickling ingredients and 1 cup of water in a small bowl until sugar and salt dissolve.
  3. Place sliced onion in a jar and pour mixture over.
  4. Allow to sit for about an hour.
  5. Drain onions before using.
  6. To prep the sandwiches, slice the cucumber, green pepper, tomato, avocado and mozzarella.
  7. Spread the goat cheese on one slice of multi-grain bread and layer with cucumber, green pepper, tomato, avocado, mozzarella, green goddess dressing and a sprinkle of microgreens.
  8. Top with the other slice of multi-grain bread and enjoy!

*This post contains affiliate links which means if you click or make a purchase through my site, I might make a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote products that I actually use and support. 

All images ©Regan Baroni 2018.

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Dark & Moody Food Photography Tips

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I’m a food photography guru who turned my weekend hobby into a career-changing business. I’m also a cat lover, a moto rider and truly don’t think bay leaves serve any purpose whatsoever.

Hey, I'm Regan.

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Regan Baroni Photography, LLC is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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