Does it seem like everyone on Instagram is taking pictures of the most incredible food? Meanwhile, your culinary adventures leave you with lackluster photos that don't show how delicious your meals really are. Let me let you in on a little tip, taking amazing food photos has less to do with what equipment you have and more to do with understanding how to bring out the best of your photos. All you need to do is to focus on 4 aspects: plating, lighting, composition, and editing, and you'll be well on your way to taking mouth-watering photos. 

1. Plating

Plating is a fancy industry term for artistically arranging your food. This might seem vain to some, but in fact, our brains perceive food to be tastier when it's presented in a beautiful or artistic way. This becomes even more important with photography. To plate, start with your base. A classic white plate brings the focus to your food and helps it pop. On the other hand, a wooden background might give your meals a more rustic or homey feel. Deciding on your creative vision will help you choose the right base. Another aspect of plating is symmetry. Often, starting from the middle of your plate and working your way out helps you maintain a decent sense of symmetry. Think of your food the way you would think of art and allow yourself to experiment with what looks good! 



2. Lighting

Alright, this might seem like a no-brainer but you'd be surprised at how often people forget to clean their camera lens before taking a picture. The thing is, just that simple act can brighten your photos and make them look so much more appealing. And while brightening your photos is a good idea, using the flash on your phone is a big no-no. As much as possible, take advantage of the natural light around you. Using flash washes out your photos and makes the food look unappetizing. If you find yourself in a dim environment and need extra light, why not get a portable light. You could also get your friends to use the light on their phones and move it around for more control. A good tip: a lot of food photos do well with a light source coming in from the side rather than above the subject. Lighting it from the side is also a great way to bring out softer shadows and balance the textures of your food. 



3. Composition

Now that you've figured out plating and lighting, you need to figure out how you would like to frame your food. Angles play a big role in composition and you'll want to test out what works best for your subject. Some food like cheese platters look much nicer shot overhead. However, sandwiches or burgers might look more delicious if shot from the side. Playing with color and white space can also transform your photos. Chances are if colors work well together on a color wheel, they will work in your photo. Adding fresh veggies or plain scarves in the background can give your photos a pop of color and tie the image together. Be careful not to overcrowd your photo though. Having too many things in the frame can distract from your focus and reduce the appeal of the image. 


4. Editing

After you've taken a whole bunch of images, choose the ones you'd most like to work with and bring them to life. Editing doesn't have to be extensive. Just a few finishing touches can make your photos stand out. If there's one thing you can take away from this post, it is that saturation is your best friend. When it comes to food photography, a little bit of saturation goes a long way! Saturation adds depth and brings out the colors of your food. Think of a bright, red watermelon, or a good, charred burger. Saturation helps emphasize these food qualities. Another editing trick you can use is to fix the white balance. In general, warm lighting makes food photos look more delicious while the cool setting makes food look bland. Boosting the warmth of your photo just a little bit will make all the difference. Finally, sharpening your images can add more definition and depth to your photos. 

There you have it! By working on plating, lighting, composition, and editing you can elevate your food photography and get everyone's mouths watering. So what are you waiting for, try out these tricks for yourself and share your amazing photos with all of us here at HDPick!