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Four Tips for Taking Stunning Food Photos

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If you’ve been on Instagram lately (or ever), you know that food photos are the way to make your friends and fellow amateur photogs green with envy. With Thanksgiving almost upon us, you will have the perfect opportunity to snap and post plenty of drool-worthy food shots. Sure you can play with filters to find ways to make your food photos more enticing, but there are plenty of other unique ways to create food images that will inspire photo envy.

Want to snap some images that will make your friends’ stomachs rumble with envy on Thanksgiving? Here are some tips to keep in mind to take the best food photos across social media.


Select Your Subject Wisely

Don’t waste a mobile upload on plain mashed potatoes or everyday rolls. Any photos you post will need to incite jealousy among your peers (and when was the last time anyone was jealous over a photo of plain mashed potatoes?). Pick the foods that offer the most visually appealing color contrast and differences in textures. Think of stuffing with mandarin oranges or gooey marshmallows melting on top of sweet potatoes. You should also consider “framing” your foods on plates that will complement your food items, not make the shots busier.

Light it Right

Anything like the glow of a television in your photo will be sure to distract your followers from the photo’s subject. Make sure you use whatever natural lighting is available (instead of your flash) and don’t hover over your subject—no one wants to see your shadow in the stuffing. If you won’t be eating next to a source of natural lighting, or your meal will take place after it’s dark outside, see if you can use overhead lighting as opposed to a harsh forced flash.

Upgrade Your Gear

If you’re a food blogger (or are just really, really into taking top-notch photos of your meals), consider investing in some camera phone accessories like lens attachments or even monopods (a miniature version of a tripod). There are several varieties of lens attachments you can use to create a perfect shot, such as fisheye lenses, lens filters, and wide-angle lens attachments that snap onto cell phones to increase the quality of your photos.

Frame Your Foods Well

After deciding what you want to photograph, consider cutting it into geometric shapes instead of disorganized blobs. (Have you ever seen a professional photo of a slice of pie that wasn’t triangular in shape? I didn’t think so.) You can also consider stacking foods like turkey slices on top of each other to add more dimension to your photo. Of course, you’d be wise to include some form of contrasting garnish to your dish to not only make it appear tastier, but also offer more visual contrast. Try to find a food that is a contrasting color from the main subject to offer even more pop.

A general tip: You’ll also want to make sure that your photos fill the frame completely. Get as close to your subject as possible and don’t leave a lot of extra space in the image. This will not only make your photos more appealing, but will allow you to capture more detail of the foods you’re trying to photograph. If you’re using a digital camera as opposed to a smartphone, consider using a macro lens when you get up close with your food shots to capture all the details of your delish dish. Most point-and-shoot cameras will offer the macro lens feature, but if you want a macro shot on your smartphone, this macro lens in an elastic band is the perfect companion.

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