One of the biggest challenges of being a food photographer is tackling food waste. In an effort to reduce my own food waste, I created this budget food photography series using only ingredients from the reduced section in my local shop. It was an interesting experiment that made me think more creatively about how I could construct and style my subjects.

My budget food photography series is made up of a starter, main and pudding, all for under £5 per portion.

(All prices below are per portion and accurate at time of purchase)


The starter was steamed asparagus and a homemade hollandaise sauce (which was surprisingly easy to make, and delicious).

discounted asparagus
asparagus with hollandaise sauce

Makes 2 portions

Asparagus – £1.52⁣
Butter – £0.63⁣
Egg – £0.20⁣
Lemon juice – negligible⁣
Cayenne pepper – negligible ⁣
Salt – negligible ⁣

Cost per portion: £1.18 ⁣

Main course

The main course of this budget food photography series was a vegetarian onion bhaji burger with onion rings and tomato salad. Have to say, these pre-made onion rings were very good, I honestly don’t think I would have been able to taste the difference to fried ones.

uncooked onion rings
vegetarian burger with onion rings

Makes 2 portions

Onion bhaji burger – £0.70⁣⁣
White burger bun – £0.15⁣⁣
Tomatoes – £0.20⁣⁣⁣
Salad leaves – £0.30⁣⁣
Onion rings – £1.13⁣⁣
Olive oil – negligible

Cost per portion: £2.48 ⁣


This toffee apple crumble with Madagascan vanilla crumble was a great ending to the meal.

apple crumble in box
apple crumble closeup

Makes 4 portions

Toffee apple crumble – £0.70⁣
Madagascan vanilla custard – £0.23⁣

Cost per portion: £0.93 ⁣

Budget food photography

I was honestly surprised at what you can make purely from reduced food. The portions were generous and there was loads more crumble and custard leftover (woot woot!)

This budget food photography series has definitely made me re-think my weekly shop. It forces you to be more creative with your meals, trying to think of what you can make from a limited selection of ingredients with a limited shelf-life.

How often do you shop in the reduced section? What’s the most unusual thing you’ve tried and liked?

Thanks for reading this post. If you’d like to see more of my food photography please see my portfolio here. And if you’d like to find out more about my commercial food and drink photography services please refer to my contact page.

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