How to Boast Better: 5 Stylist Tips for Stylish Food Photos

If I’m going to spend an hour or more cooking anything, I”m taking a photo and posting it on Instagram. That’s just the way it is.

But last week, I decided I’d had enough of my mediocre food shots. After all, I don”t cook that often and when I do, I want to inspire envy that must be expressed with a comment, not just a like. Thankfully, I got in touch with Paul Cram of Flare Photography, and instantly knew he could teach me a thing or two. Just look at the man’s work on Flickr.
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© Paul Cram, Flare Photography

He then offered me his top food-photo tips:

1. Have your photo spot ready, before the food”s done.

Hot food photographs best when it is hot. Same with cold food. The longer food just sits waiting for you to take its picture, the worse it looks. Know where you are going to take the photo before the food is ready, and make space for it. That way, once the food is “done” you can simply set it into place and snap the photo.

2. Use natural light when possible.

Natural light usually looks the best, but artificial light is not too complicated to overcome. Nearly every camera has a portion in the settings where you can set the camera”s “white balance.” What I suggest is to experiment beforehand. (There are a lot of cameras with pre-set filters that will make your food photos really “pop.”)

3. Place your light source at 12 O”clock.

For lighting, nearly every dish looks the best when the light source is at 12 o”clock. Say you are taking a photo of a plate. Pretend the plate is a clock, and try to get your light source at 12 o”clock. Usually the light looks best too when placed not directly above the food, but down behind it some. nearly in a horizontal with the plate. It gives a nice look to the food usually.

4. Be mindful of colors in the shot.

Hopefully the colors in your food will stand out just by setting the correct “white balance” in your camera”s settings. But you can help the food”s colors stand out by keeping the shot uncluttered with distracting items. If you want the blueness of the blueberries to stand out- maybe don”t have the shocking lime green napkin in the corner that will steal all of the attention.

5. Take a lot of images (Especially after you have “the one”).

Don”t stop snapping after you feel like you have “the best image.” Experiment. Some of my strongest images I”ve ever photographed came after I thought I had the perfect image. There”s something inside me that relaxes creatively when I “know” I have a good shot. That”s when I really start being creative and try new things with angles and setting. Ultimately, don”t stress. Have fun. Food photography can be really rewarding and fun, and you can oftentimes eat what you are taking a picture of — who doesn”t love that?!