Posting snapshots of what's for dinner is a favorite pastime of social-media users, but making dishes appear as delicious as they taste is an elusive skill.
With a few professional tweaks, though, amateur food photographers can give their smartphone-captured meals a major upgrade. Austin, Texas-based food photographer Jody Horton believes nearly any dish can make for a pretty picture -- extensive food styling not required. Items ranging from pecan pralines to barbecue have taken center stage in Mr. Horton's work for publications such as Texas Monthly and Southern Living.
但是，經過幾條專業點撥，業余美食攝影師也可以讓他們用智能手機拍攝的美食照躍升一個檔次。得克薩斯州奧斯汀美食攝影師喬迪·霍頓(Jody Horton)認為，幾乎任何菜肴都可以拍出一張漂亮的照片，同時還不需要做很多的食物造型工作。在霍頓為《得州月刊》(Texas Monthly)、《南方生活》(Southern Living)等刊物拍攝的作品當中，從山核桃果仁糖到燒烤，各種美食都曾占據中心舞臺。
First of all, when taking food snapshots, he says, 'Don't overthink it.' The result should look natural.
While stressing out about perfect plating is unnecessary, Mr. Horton does pay attention to the plate itself. 'You want to be sure that the food will separate from the surface on which it's sitting,' he said, so a red apple on a red plate likely won't photograph well. Consider creating a contrast between the plate and the table, such as white china on a dark wood surface, as well.
But if that's not possible, a white plate on a white surface almost always works. In a pinch, placing a white plate on a white napkin or paper towel allows the food to 'become the star,' Mr. Horton says.
Good lighting is key. Natural light that comes from behind the food is best, he says, so Mr. Horton turns off indoor lights and the camera's flash, and he places the plate in front of a window that provides indirect sunlight.
If it's after dark or natural light is unavailable, he suggests making sure only one type of light is on -- not both a halogen lamp and a fluorescent overhead light, for instance -- and that the artificial light comes from behind the food, if possible.
Restaurants, unfortunately, are inherently difficult spots to shoot food. When taking professional pictures, Mr. Horton usually moves the entire table to the desired light, an option not available to the average diner. But candlelight placed just out of the shot can add nice texture, even if it might take a few tries to find the best candle placement.
The most fail-safe angle for taking a food picture is from directly above, with only the food in the frame, Mr. Horton says. That way, the picture taker doesn't have to worry about a distracting background.
When shooting from overhead, it's helpful to hold a piece of paper out of the frame but opposite your light source to bounce light back toward the food.
Those who want a little ambiance in their photos should consider taking their smartphone camera even higher by standing on a chair. 'Something that I do a lot that people find really compelling is overhead table shots,' Mr. Horton says, adding that they bring in the layout of the table, while still allowing the lighting to be fairly simple. Plus, he says, 'you don't have to worry about people closing their eyes or having weird expressions.'
Certain types of food can be especially hard to photograph well. Foods in 'bland' colors can be problematic, as well as casseroles, because it can be hard to tell what they are. Drinks are challenging because glass is so reflective, and they have a shorter 'shelf life,' with melting ice and wilting garnishes. (One tip: Light them well.)
Food photography can be about much more than the final product on the plate. 'Some of the most interesting moments happen during preparation,' says Mr. Horton.
Something like fried chicken waiting at the table in a brown paper bag, grease spots included, can provide the opportunity to tell a story in a single photo, he says. 'It suggests more before it, and you know more is coming after it.'