I'm not a professional photographer by any means. I have amazingly talented photographer buds (Casey Howell, Dan Payton and Josh Huskin who shoot our awesome print images, and Helen Montoya Henrichs, photojournalist for the Express-News), but no one's paying me to shoot food images.
Still, with the addition of pretty bitchin' cameras on our phones, we've all turned into food historians of sort. Shouldn't we want to make the best food photos possible so future generations don't look back and ask why we ate overexposed blobs of mush? At the behest of Joy-Marie Scott, our digital content editor, I'm sharing a few tips for how I capture my food adventures without making my meals look vom-worthy.
Photo by Joy-Marie Scott
Use natural light: This one's a bit tricky. During morning and daytime excursions, I tend to sit near windows to glean most of the sunlight. The evenings mean asking to sit near brighter areas (think Hot Joy's bar instead of the cozy booths). Even if natural light or well-lit areas aren't available, please, please for the love of all things good and delicious...
Don't use flash. Ever. That is unless you're using a spare phone's flashlight to add lighting (a tip I learned via John Griffin of Savor SA and Julia Rosenfeld of San Antonio Magazine). I feel like this is still worst case scenario, if you absolutely have to take a photo. The light adds a cold bluish hue to just about any plate that can only be wiped clean with a really great photo app (more on this later). Just don't do it, promise?
Take a million images: OK, a million is excessive, but take at least two or three images of each dish. Any restaurant visit with yours truly involves a mini photo shoot. Friends have grown accustomed (and probably tired) of this, and it usually takes 30 seconds to a minute and then we dig in. I shoot several images, from several angles. Overhead seems to be my angle of choice these days, but I love a good straight-forward shot.
Use the "+" button: This is iPhone specific, but that button really does come in handy when you're shooting with your phone on its side. On that note, get into the habit of shooting horizontally.
Tripods aren't an option: But using your elbows wouldn't hurt, as suggested by the Pioneer Woman in her post.
Get creative: Shoot your drinks, shoot your server grating cheese, shoot the bartender, shoot your plate half empty, shoot a single forkful of spaghetti/noodle/soup, take close-ups, go nuts. Shoot your and your friend eating a sandwich Lady and the Tramp-style. Go nuts.
Just don't use flash, got it?