By Leslie Kelly

Here are some tips on making your food photos extra shareable from Kim Lamica, ace graphic designer at Allrecipes. She shoots with Canons, the DSLRS and the EOS 7D, but these easy suggestions are geared toward mobile devices.

Photo by Kirbie, via Kirbie's Cravings

1) Go Into The Light

  • Stick with one light source, natural works best. If you're going to flash, turn those overhead lights off or close the shades. When using natural light, don't stand in front of the source or you might cast a shadow.
  • Cloudy days are better to shoot with than sunny days because overcast skies soften the light, which softens shadows. Direct, bright sunlight creates harsh, dark shadows.
  • Use a white card to fill in light into shadows or a black card to block light. These cards are placed on the opposite side of the light source. If the light source is too bright, you can use a white, translucent sheet to soften it. (Below is an example of how that works, with the second photo looking crisp with a little bit more light.)
  • In low light, use a tripod or anything that can stabilize your camera or phone. Using the built-in timer can help prevent the shaking that happens when pushing down the shutter.
Photo by Kim Lamica
Photo by Kim Lamica

2) Find Your Focus

  • Decide on your point of focus. Do you want the whole image to be in focus or just a part of it?
  • Pratice Rule of Thirds. Setting your main focal point dead center isn't as interesting as it could be as being in the upper or lower third of the frame.
  • You can create depth by adding objects in the foreground or background. It could be ingredients, utensils, napkins, etc. Be careful not to overdo it though. We still want the food to be the main focus.
  • When using napkins, plates, and texture backgrounds, keep it as simple as possible. Sometimes plate and napkin designs or so complicated or bright that it distracts from your desired main focus.
  • Play around with angles. Shoot from above, eye level, at an angle, from afar, or close up. Stacked foods tend to look better at eye level and flat plates, soups,and drinks tend to look better from above.
  • Shoot a couple of shots extra wide, with the idea that you'll crop later.

3) Edit Those Images

  • Helpful tools for bumping up the quality of your photos include using contrast and brightness adjustments as well as warming up colors with the "cast" drop down under color option on iPhones.
  • Play around with various cropping techniques, keeping in mind that horizontal shots look bomb on Facebook, while Instagram is made for vertical photos.
  • When you're ready to save, keep the edited version as well as the original. Just in case you want to circle back and take another shot at making that first photo shine in a whole new light.
Photo by Kim Lamica
That mac-and-cheese is now the focus in this cropped version. Photo by Kim Lamica

Of course, to take droolworthy shots, you've got to start with a good subject. How about macaroni and cheese, fried chicken or prime rib roast? All good looking dishes that make for super shareable photos. Happy shooting!

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