6 Secrets to Taking Great Food Photos

Karen Mordechai Photo © Jennifer Causey / Karen Mordechai
By Chelsea Morse Posted September 30, 2014

Blogger and food stylist Karen Mordechai explains how to graduate from clueless iPhone wielder to Instagram authority.

Blogger and food stylist Karen Mordechai explains how to graduate from clueless iPhone wielder to Instagram authority.

It All Comes Down to Lighting. When an image looks muddled, when everything is the same color and texture, it's often a matter of contrast, and that's a matter of light. A flash is never flattering; it gives the dish a glare and changes the food's coloring. Candles can help, but if it's too dark in the restaurant, I won't take the shot, period.

Don't Crowd the Frame. I like to be playful with how I compose a shot and not put the food right in the center. But however you frame it, you want some negative space, like the rim of the plate or the space between dishes, to give the food room to breathe.

Brunch Always Looks Great. It's decadent and fun, with so many colors and textures. Even if the dishes aren't perfect, you can capture the meal's energy by pulling back to take a shot of the whole table, with hands in the frame. It's my favorite meal to shoot.

Matte Surfaces Make Food Pop. I love to shoot against simple, textured surfaces like wooden tables, for a humble look, or marble countertops, for a nice, clean finish. They don't take away from the food, and they don't have a shine that will reflect.

Use an App. to help with color corrections, light and contrast. VSCO, Afterlight and Snapseed are supereasy and very intuitive.

Whatever You Do, just don't be the one in the sushi bar using a flash. It's a rookie move.

Karen Mordechai (@sundaysuppers) blogs at sunday-suppers.com.

Related: Bloggers' Best Food Photography Tips
How to Take Photos of Food

F&W Photo Tour: Brooklyn

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