Tasty Turkey: Food Photo Tips

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Log onto a social media site Thursday (Thanksgiving Day) and we bet more than half the posts you see will be shared around dinner hour–and will be snapshots of food and drink.

We all want to remember the amazing food we share on Thanksgiving, and your photos can make your food look as good as it tastes

Want to make your food photos look as good as what you see in real life? Here are a few tips:

Natural Light and a Reflector

Too many of those images we see (the ones snapped at an indoor dinner table) have a yellow or green cast. This is due to improper color balance and exposure. First, place your plate aside a window that has great natural light. Rotate the plate so that illumination falls where you wish it to go. Be mindful to not over light areas of the plate.

Second, take a critical look at where shadows (if any) fall. Snap a test photo and look at the image, not just the set-up. Shadowy areas? Try ‘bouncing’ some of the illumination from the window to fill dark spots. Use a white object–a towel, a plate, even a piece of white paper—and hold it out of the frame, and somewhat parallel to the window. Move it around slightly and observe how it directs a bit of light over regions of the plate.

Use photo reflectors to get an even light on your subject

You may need a second pair of hands to help. You could also use a prop to hold-up or balance your ‘reflector.’

Background Simplicity

With food as focal point, keep distracting patterns and colorations on the table or background to a minimum. Pick harmonious props (plate, glass, napkin, table décor). Watch for unwanted reflection or sheen from silverware, glasses, etc.

Try Macro

Shooting close-up? Dial the camera to Macro or a close-up setting. If you wish to blur the background, dial the aperture to a number such as f/1.2 or f/2. But be mindful—the smaller the f/ number, the shallower the depth of field. This means that there is a more narrow plane where items will be in focus.

The macro setting can be used to get great close up pictures of your food

photocredit: thelilypad.com

Steady Girl

A tripod may be overkill at the dinner table, so how about a bean bag, firm pillow or short stack of books on which to prop your camera? Also consider using the countdown or remote shutter operation feature to eliminate even the slightest chance of camera shake when it’s time to fire the shutter.

Food Stylist

You can make the fruit and veggie platter look divine by misting objects ever so slightly with a spritz of water. Condensation makes things look fresh and appetizing. In general, shiny food has more appeal than dull food.

Rule of Thirds

This tip comes in handy even for food. Move your feet, not the food, to get that balance.



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