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Food Photography Laws

Joaquimma Anna May 9, 2023
Food photography laws are established to protect the rights of food photographers and the commercial interests of food producers. The legal environment in which food photography is conducted comes with its own set of nuances, posing unique and potentially complicated legal questions that must be addressed. This article will provide an overview of the various food photography laws and regulations in order to educate photographers on their rights when capturing images for use in advertisement, promotion and more.

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Food Photography Laws


Food photography has become a popular niche in the field of photography. Thanks to social media, people can now easily capture and share their food experiences with the world. Food photography is the art of taking photos of food, dishes, or meals to attract customers to restaurants or food products. A good food photograph should be able to evoke emotion and stimulate hunger. However, just like any other type of photography, there are laws that govern it. In this article, we will discuss the various food photography laws that photographers should know.

Trademark Rights

Trademark rights apply to companies that have logos or brand names that identify their goods or services from those of others. In the case of food photography, trademark rights prevent photographers from using logos and brand names without permission from the respective companies.

For example, a photographer who takes a picture of a McDonald’s Big Mac cannot use the McDonald’s logo in their photo without permission. Doing so would be infringing on McDonald’s trademark rights. Photographers who want to use logos and brand names must obtain written permission from the respective companies.

Copyright Law

Copyright law protects original works such as photographs by giving ownership rights to authors. When it comes to food photography, copyright law protects photographers from having their photos used without consent by others.

Photographers need to ensure that they hold proper ownership of their photos before sharing them on social media or selling them for commercial purposes. It is also important for photographers not to replicate other people’s work without their permission since doing so would be violating copyright law.

Model Releases

Model releases are documents signed by individuals who appear in photographs giving photographers permission to use their image for advertising purposes or public display. In the case of food photography, model releases apply when people are present in dining establishments.

Photographers who take photographs of people in restaurants need to obtain model releases from the individuals present. To protect themselves, photographers should ensure that their model release agreements are well-worded and comply with legal requirements set by the jurisdiction in which they operate.

Food Safety Regulations

Food safety regulations ensure that food is safe for human consumption. In the case of food photography, photographers must ensure that they do not create misleading representations of food items or dishes that violate these regulations.

For example, a photograph depicting a raw meat dish being served without proper cooking would be violating food safety regulations. Photographers who take pictures of cooked dishes need to ensure that their photos accurately depict the preparation method and state of the dish.


When it comes to food photography laws, photographers must be aware of trademark rights, copyright law, model releases, and food safety regulations. By adhering to these laws, photographers can avoid legal issues when capturing images for commercial or promotional purposes. It is therefore essential for all photographers interested in food photography to familiarize themselves with these laws before embarking on any food photography shoot.

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