You know the drill: you sit down, get your food and utensils ready, but you don’t dig in immediately. You take a photo first for social media purposes, I mean you have to, right? All plates aren’t created equal, however. Some dishes, especially desserts and fine dining fares, may be photogenic from any angle, but what about your mom’s sinfully good dinuguan? Latte art may be simple to take a photo of on your lazy afternoons, but how do you show off that fancy drink you got at the newest club…in dim light?
For challenges like these (millennials have the oddest problems, right?), we took some advice from B’ley Villones who has been a food blogger and photographer since 2007 during the Play on Plate workshop hosted by San Miguel Corporation. As the founder of Manila Eat Up, she offered up some tricks anyone with a smartphone can do to get better #foodstagrams for a scrumptious feed.
A photo posted by april (@aprilyap) on Mar 14, 2016 at 7:00pm PDT
#1 Don’t forget your flatlay
Food served in bowls such as soup are best captured through top shots. Since you can’t showcase much of the details (I mean, what is there to see in a bowl of cream of mushroom?), B’ley tells us to make use of other props around you. “Flatlays work best for these types of food since the bowl also obscures your view of the food. Work with the details found around your table,” she shares. We’re thinking flowers or maybe salt and pepper shakers?
#2 Get in real close
When it comes to hamburgers, wraps, and other layered food, you can work in a detail shot. Have your burger cut into two and take a tight shot to show off the cross-section. B’ley tells us, “It’s best to present the layers that make the meal and also the colors that have been placed on top of one another.”
#3 Actions make a difference
Filipino food is often given flak for how it doesn’t look as good as it tastes but B’ley tells us there is still a way to make it pretty. “Integrate some action,” she says.”You don’t have to focus of the food per se but how people interact with it and how it’s central to the activities around you.”
#4 Work your angles
When faced with a colorful cocktail with garnish, it’s best to take it at a 45-degree angle so you can see the different details. If you’re really determined to take it while in a dark area, B’ley lets us in on how to make a DIY diffuser. “You can use the flashlight on your phone and cover it with a piece of tissue paper.” But when it’s a pint of bear or a glass of rum coke, it would be good to take the photo head-on to show off the quantity. “But when in doubt,” she says, “just take a photo from all angles possible.”
#5 Don’t overfilter
Unless you’ve taken the photo using natural light, you need to tinker with your photo with a good photo editing app. B’ley personally recommends Photoshop Express, VSCO, and Snapseed. “However, you should be careful in using so many filters or adjusting the photo too much,” she cautions. “Just with basic photography, have a focal point like the cherry on top of the cake and work in the other edits to make the focal point pop.”