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If you’re a food-lover like me, your Instagram feed is flooded with food photos and Thanksgiving is, well, the food photographer’s Super Bowl.
Who can resist taking a few snaps of the honey-glazed ham, bourbon pecan pie, bacon and leek stuffing, and, of course, the 20-pound roasted turkey? But all too often the pictures we post are less appetizing than a decade-old can of cranberry sauce. (Need proof? Just take a look at last year’s pics.)
But there are some simple ways to fix that, says Sharon Chen, a Texas-based food photographer and blogger. With some attention to detail and a few basic tricks, you can significantly improve your food photos, even the ones you shoot with your smartphone.
Chen agreed to share some photos and walk us through the techniques she used to make them sizzle. Give her tips a try and you’ll soon have photos that are a true feast for the eyes.
Find the Best Light
With any photograph, light is the most important ingredient, Chen says. And natural light is usually preferable to the artificial kind.
If you’re not inclined to carry your gourmet spread to the backyard, lay it out near a window. Of course, that’s not always feasible, especially when you’re dining in someone else’s home or in a restaurant or bar. In that case, you may want to bring some light of your own. A flash isn’t ideal unless you’re willing to disturb your fellow diners.
Chen says food photographers often use portable lamps. She advises bringing a small, adjustable LED light. A model such as the Manfrotto Lumimuse 3 LED, $45, lets out a steady stream of light that can be increased little by little without causing a commotion. In a pinch, you can even use the flashlight function on your smartphone, Chen says, assuming you have a camera at hand to take the picture. Simply adjust the volume of light by shining it through your napkin.
Choose Your Angle
Chen tends to shoot her food photos…