Play with your food: healthy edible photo projects to print and frame

Create photographic works of art with everyday food items.
A young girl creating a face out of food on a plate.

It's amazing what you can turn into beautifully printed artwork with a little creative thinking. In this guide, we'll look at how to craft your own fun, food-based art, then capture the results with your camera and make a vibrant print to show off your work. It's an enjoyable project to try out with the family, you probably have everything you need within easy reach and you can eat your creation as a healthy snack afterwards.

1. Select the food

A selection of fruit, vegetables and breads arranged in bowls on a tray.

Raid the fridge for colourful fruit and veg and choose foodstuffs that could work as facial features – spaghetti for hair, strawberries for lips, raisins for eyes and so on.

A mother and her two children arranging food items into a face on a green plate.

Experiment with different pieces of food in order to change your design as you go.

Gather a range of colourful foods for your funny face creations. Fresh fruit and vegetables are ideal, not only are they colourful and easily shaped, they're also a great way to promote healthy eating. Tomatoes, peppers, strawberries and carrots will offer a burst of colour, while smaller berries and nuts can be useful for making eyes and other facial features. Things that can be scattered like dried lentils or seeds work well, too. Some foodstuffs like bagels and pancakes are naturally face-shaped, so can give the kids a head start with their food artwork.

2. Arrange your food

A person made of food, including cucumber, orange and apple, on a white plate.

Making food faces is a fun way to get the family involved in art, and you can snack on the materials as you work. Taken on a Canon EOS RP with a Canon RF 35mm F1.8 Macro IS STM lens at 1.3 secs, f/8 and ISO 100.

Now comes the fun part. Gather the family, pick a plate and arrange the food into a face, a whole figure or any other shape you like. Pick food colours that will complement or contrast with one another and keep in mind that some fresh items turn brown quicker than others, so save your apple or banana slices until last. As for plates and cutlery, plain plates in a variety of colours work best, avoid plates with intricate patterns as they can distract from the food. Keep a knife and board to hand for chopping and shaping the finer details.

3. Sculpt your sandwiches

A mother and son creating a tower of food to resemble London's Big Ben clock tower.

Creating landmarks and towers is a simple and fun way to get your family involved.

A statue of the Big Ben clock tower in London made out of bread, cheese and cucumber.

Aim big and create your own famous landmark out of food, like this homage to London's Big Ben. Taken on a Canon EOS RP with a Canon RF 35mm F1.8 Macro IS STM lens at 1 secs, f/5.6 and ISO 100.

Try transforming an everyday snack into a striking structure like our sandwich-stack Big Ben here. Things like bread, biscuits, cereals and cake can be easily built up – and hidden kebab sticks can keep them from tipping over. The kids will have a great time creating their own famous landmark, and it's just as much fun to demolish it for lunch afterwards.

4. Set up your shot

A mother holding her child as they set up a camera on a tripod to shoot a plate of food made into a face from above.

Turn on soft-touch shutter release if your camera has it, as it means the kids can tap the screen to focus and take the shot in one go.

The vari-angle screen of a Canon camera, showing a 2-second timer set to photograph a plate of food.

Using a 2-second timer prevents camera shake which could be caused by pressing the shutter button. This allows the camera to settle before taking the shot.

Once the food art is finished, grab your camera and set up a shot. If shooting down from above, try placing a piece of coloured paper underneath the plate for a vibrant backdrop. Choose a paper colour that contrasts with your plate of food. If you have one, use a tripod for your shot. A tripod allows you to shoot at slower shutter speeds, which in turn lets you use a lower ISO for images with less noise. If you don't own a tripod then shooting handheld is perfectly fine, but might require a higher ISO. With your camera set up on a tripod, this allows more freedom for changing the composition of your shot.

5. Use window light

A woman photographing a food tower with a camera on a tripod by a large window.

Set up near to a large window to make use of the soft light for your still life photos.

A little girl holding up a blue piece of paper behind a tower of food shaped like Big Ben.

Holding up a sheet of paper can make for a nice neutral background, maintaining the focus on the subject.

Window light is ideal for still life photography like this. A window offers a large bank of illumination that bathes your food in soft, even light. Choose a spot next to a large window – although remember to avoid direct sunlight – and experiment to see whether the direction of light works better from above or to one side. If you find the light is too strong on one side, you can use a reflector or a piece of white paper to bounce light back into the shadows from the opposite side.

6. Choose your camera settings

The back of a Canon camera attached to a tripod shooting from above.

Some tripods like this one have a centre column that extends horizontally, which is helpful for placing the camera directly above the food.

A banana cut and moulded into the shape of a woman in a hula skirt positioned on a black plate with yellow spots.

With some creative experimentation your food art won't even resemble the food they're made of, like this dancing woman made from a banana. Taken on a Canon EOS RP with a Canon RF 35mm F1.8 Macro IS STM lens at 1.3 secs, f/8 and ISO 100.

You can use whatever camera settings you're comfortable with, but here's a handy stock exposure setting for tripod-mounted shots: set your camera to Aperture Priority (Av) mode and use a mid-range aperture like f/8, then set your ISO to 100. The camera will work out the ideal shutter speed for you. With these settings, the shutter speed is likely to be fairly slow, so set a 2-second timer in order to prevent camera shake when triggering the shutter, or use the Canon Camera Connect app to take the picture remotely from your mobile device.

7. Prepare to print

Four photographs of plates of food made into a collage using the Canon Easy-PhotoPrint Editor app.

As well as printing out single images, you can also use the Canon Easy-PhotoPrint Editor app to create simple collages.

Once you've taken photos of your creations, why not make a print? You can prepare for printing with ease using the Canon Easy-PhotoPrint Editor application. Transfer your images onto your smartphone using the Canon Camera Connect app or then open the images on Easy-PhotoPrint Editor app, choose a paper size and use the crop feature to get rid of any messy edges. You can also choose from a range of filters to enhance the tones. Be sure to set the correct Media Type in the Print settings, Matte or Gloss, and set the print quality to Best. It's worth saving a print preset too – in the Preset dropdown – so you can use the same print settings on the rest of your food art with a couple of clicks.

8. Print and frame

A young girl watching a Canon PIXMA TS8351 printing out colourful food face images.

The Canon PIXMA TS8340 is ideal for printing wirelessly from your computer or phone, and lets you create vibrant, detailed prints. Any of the Canon PIXMA range will also be suitable for the job.

A young girl placing a collage of food face images set in a frame on a mantelpiece.

Once printed, frame your creation and you'll have a unique piece of art to showcase on your wall or mantelpiece.

Load a few pieces of Matte photo paper into your printer and start printing. Once finished, consider framing your prints. You could also use Canon Magnetic Photo Paper and stick your creations to your fridge, or use a Canon SELPHY Square QX10 to print directly onto stickable square photo paper! Your colourful masterpieces will look fantastic grouped together into a collage on a wall or mantelpiece, and what better way to cement the memory of a fun afternoon of foodie craft?

Written by James Paterson

Related Products

  • Home Printers


    Treasure your special memories as beautifully crafted prints that you can make anywhere, wirelessly.
  • Inkjet Printers

    Magnetic Photo Paper MG-101

    Inject more creativity and interactivity into your photo printouts with Canon's Magnetic Photo Paper MG-101.
  • Inkjet Printers

    Matte Photo Paper MP-101

    Matte Photo Paper produces high quality photographs, graphics and text with a matte finish. Also suitable for more creative uses, such as greetings cards, displays and paper craft.
  • Inkjet Printers

    Glossy Photo Paper GP-501

    With Wi-Fi and AirPrint support you can print from smartphones, tablets and Apple devices.
  • Related articles