15 Easy Tips to Take Better Food Photos *Without* Special Equipment, According to a Pro

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Have you ever looked at a beautiful photo of food and thought: Why can’t I make my burger look like this? All the time. To learn some tricks of the trade, we asked professional food photographer Christine Han and eight of our favorite food influencers for their best tips for taking better photos on your smartphone (no special equipment required). Here are their 15 easy tips for taking drool-worthy photos as a beginner.

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Meet the expert

Christine Han is a professional photographer with years of experience shooting editorial and commercial food photography, as well as producing cookbooks. She is the owner of Christine Han Photography and the @christineshoots account on Instagram.

What is a common mistake people make when taking food photos?

You’re probably overdoing it. Before adding fancy linens, glassware, cutlery And accompaniments to your food photo, roll it up. You don’t need to fill every inch of space in the photo. “The balance is very pleasing to the eye and the viewer needs a place to rest,” says Han. “You don’t always need negative space, like you’re really close together and filling the whole frame of something, but there’s still a balance.”

You don’t need a great kitchen to take good food photos either. You can use just about anything as a background. If you don’t want to invest in a vinyl backdrop (like this one that looks like a marble countertop), Han suggests using a cutting board, linen, your kitchen counter, or even the back of a ‘a book.

As for accessories, keep it simple. “Less is more!” Focus on the food, then build around it,” suggests Han. “Choose a nice bowl or plate, and maybe a simple cloth or fork to accompany it. Place it all on a nice surface near a window, walk closer and you’ll be surprised how It all comes together beautifully.”

Pro tip: You can often use a smaller utensil than you would actually use for eating, like a salad fork rather than a dinner fork.

How can I get better at food photography right away?

Like everything else, it takes practice. “There is no other way to improve,” says Han. “The best camera is the one you own! Be good with that one. My iPhone has given me many favorite images over the years. You don’t need fancy equipment to take great images.”

It helps to start with dishes that are already photogenic to hone your skills. “A gorgeous fresh salad or pastries often look pretty without having to do much,” notes Han. “If you want a little more, roast whole cherry tomatoes or do something with a well-fried fried egg. Both are very photogenic.” (On the other hand, you’ll want to avoid brown foods and soups until you’re more comfortable.)

What are the simplest changes I can make right now?

Food Photography 101: Natural light is your friend. “Take your food to a window and turn off all the lights in the room. Natural light from a window is often the best light, and turning off competing lights, which are often orange or fluorescent, will do wonders for your image.” , advises Han.

Once you have your photos, you can make some light adjustments to them on your phone. “You can easily increase brightness, contrast, and saturation simply by using the editing tools built into your phone’s camera, which is the quickest and easiest way to make your image pop. You You can also explore different apps like VSCO. I really like their filters.” Han exclaims.

8 More Tips for Taking Better Photos of Popular Food Influencers

Research the photos first

“When I’m looking for inspiration…for example, I don’t know how I want to style an ice cream sandwich…I go on Pinterest and search for ‘ice cream sandwich food photography’ and I see all the Gorgeous ways people have styled their ice cream sammies. I have origins, sheets, cutlery, etc. different, so mine will never be the same. But studying photographs that you think are beautiful can help you begin to develop your own style.

Rebecca Firth of @displacedhousewife and Displaced Housewife

Shoot colorful foods

“Make sure whatever you’re photographing is rich in color, whether it’s in the form of a garnish, an avocado, colorful vegetables, red pepper flakes, etc. You need something that will attract everyone’s attention.”

– Gaby Dalkin from @whatsgabycookin And What Gaby cooks

Consider Patterns and Negative Space

“The eye loves to see a recognizable shape to look at over and over again: circles, squares, swirling lines, etc. They should be arranged in a way that creates structure in what might otherwise be a chaotic dining scene. You see it all the time on Instagram — aerial photos of 12 tightly swirled cinnamon rolls, a close-up photo of a huge pile of ripe strawberries at the farmers’ market — and you immediately want to double-tap. It is equally important to leave enough negative space so that the eyes can rest and observe the object without confusion or distraction.

-Jerrelle Guy from @chocolatpourbasil And Basil chocolate

Flip your phone

“Turn your phone upside down when photographing food. You will get a better close-up angle. Another tip is to make sure you wipe your camera lens every time you take a photo; you’d be surprised how dirty and blurry it gets.

Monique Volz @ambitious cuisine And Ambitious cuisine

Photograph everything (we repeat, everything) in natural light

“Use natural light. The more you shoot, the better you will become. Try shooting at different times of the day, in different lights and from different angles to find the best look.

– Maria Lichty of @twopeasandpod and Two Peas & Their Pod

Organize your food accessories

“I love going to antique malls to buy food accessories. I’m always on the lookout for antique silverware and serving utensils. They look less shiny and you won’t get that horrible reflection when you photograph them. The smaller your plates, the better. When you use large plates, your meal goes to waste. For big meals, I usually put everything on a salad plate so the plate looks full and nice.

-Alex Snodgrass @leplatdefined And The defined dish

Don’t be shy with filters

“I always touch up with editing filters, especially brightness, contrast and saturation, to amplify colors and make foods stand out. It’s a great way to showcase the vibrancy of a healthy, plant-centered diet.

– Gena Hamshaw from @thefullhelping And Complete help

Create a signature style

“Stay as consistent as possible. There are now fabulous apps that allow you to save your own presets or copy your editing history from one image to another. I always recommend tweaking each photo because every image is different, but if you’re just starting to hone your visual eye, presets can save you time and keep your feed consistent.

– Phoebe Lapine of @phoebelapine And Feed me Phoebe

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