Lighting is the secret to food photography.
All these mouthwatering images you see is produced with proper lightings. There is no best way to light your food. It all depends on the kind of feel you are going after. However, to get started, the rule of thumb is to keep the lighting consistent.
Perhaps you can set it up this way:
1 light soft box right above your food, and another umbrella lighting stand flashed from the side.
This will make sure the food is lit with minimum shadow on the top ( which is where you normally look when you eat ), and is properly the angle that your audience would appreciate more. Another lighting from the side is for giving the dish a little more character. The light shouldn’t be set too strong, otherwise it will create a long and dark shadow that is distracting in an image. The lighting should also be placed a little high up, perhaps try a 60 degrees angle down.
These are the equipments that we would recommend for beginner photographers:
The combination makes it fun for beginner photography to learn the difference between the two kinds of strobe flash, so that you will have an better idea of what to use in what situation. Most important, have fun, experiment with the lighting, try to mimic award winning image to start (learn from the best!), and keep trying!
If you just got a new camera, learn more about how to use a DSLR for free here.