A Photo Story: Alex teaches Cece how to take more appetizing pictures of food



Last week, I wrote up my recipe for easy chili. Of course, I had to get pictures to go with it. Having to take pictures of food is probably one of the main reasons I didn’t start sharing recipes long ago; It’s pretty intimidating to try and get appetizing pictures of food!

Here's my first pic of the chili. "Let's make it NOT look like dorm chili," Alex said.

Here’s my first pic of the chili. “Let’s make it NOT look like dorm chili,” Alex said.

As I grumbled and groaned with the camera in the kitchen, Alex came to my rescue. He’s got a photographic eye and takes lots and lots ‘o pictures so he was able to give me a few pointers on how to make the food in the recipes I share look as good as it tastes. And we had a few laughs along the way too. Here’s what came out of it:


Step 1: Use a smaller dish. I had the chili in a bowl that was probably about 5 inches in diameter, and Alex switched it to a bowl that was about 3 inches in diameter.

"See. That's less intimidating," Alex says.

“See. That’s less intimidating,” Alex says.


Step 2: Color/ Contrast. The chili is mostly red, so Alex added a plump dollop of sour cream to the top. On top of that, he arranged a beautiful fan of fresh basil leaves. Please note that cilantro would have been more of a choice garnish for chili, but for the sake of this lesson we used basil because we just didn’t have cilantro.

“[Put] Something in a picture that's more visually appealing...as opposed to...not,” Alex says. “Make it look special. Not just like dorm food chili.”

“Put something in a picture that’s more visually appealing…as opposed to…not,” Alex says. “Make it look special. Not just like dorm food chili.”

Step 3: Shape. In the same realm as ‘contrast’ we tried to vary the shapes in the frame by adding basil leaves.

“Because we’re very circular here,” Alex says.

Step 4: Get close. Don’t be afraid to show the textures of the food, and to make readers feel like they are close to this food, getting ready to eat it up.

“If the food is far away, you're not enjoying it,” Alex says. “See. Now you're like 'Oh yeah, I'm enjoying this food.”

“If the food is far away, you’re not enjoying it,” Alex says. “See. Now you’re like ‘Oh yeah, I’m enjoying this food.”

Up close and personal!

Up close and personal!


Step 5: Try different angles. Try pictures from above, straight on, a little further away, from the side. While experimenting with angles, check your foreground, mid-ground, and background to make sure there are no miscellaneous items in the shot.



Here’s the picture I chose for the post:

The final product!

The final product!

Did Alex’s tips work? Does it look better than the first picture I took?

Well, that’s all for now. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how I do!


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