Compelling food photography (also known as food porn photography) begins with nice light. You want the viewer to feel like they are actually sitting in front of the plate and about to dig in. Luckily it's not terribly difficult to find flattering light. Sometimes all you need is one light source. A big window will do; if it's cloudy out, all you need to do is set your display up next to the window. For even softer light, try hanging a white bed sheet over the window to help create more diffuse light.
Unfortunately, you won't always have a window available and/or the shoot takes place at night. In that case, you'll need to create your own light. Don't worry though, you can keep it simple by bringing one light in and either bouncing it through or off an umbrella.
I recently had the opportunity to make some photos for an aspiring chocolatier, Carly Lauricella of Dolce Bella. Her website is about to launch, and she needed some nice photographs of her product to get you all salivating. This was created using one light, bounced through a white umbrella facing away from the subject. Check out the results below.
Most importantly, If you're interested in some of these tasty creations, Carly creates and sells her chocolates right in Geneseo, NY! Just stop by the display case in Crickets Coffee Company on Main Street.