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How to take a great food snap

To celebrate the return of MKRNZ, we’re giving away a stack of awesome prizes. To be in to win, all you have to do is snap your best dish and upload it.

The competition is now open. You can enter here

But first, here's some handy tips if you want to make your masterpiece stand out.

1. Colours have BIG impact

The tones in your image affect the overall feel.

Warm, earthy tones invoke comfort, whereas cooler colours suggest freshness.

Use contrasting colours to make your food look vibrant and exciting.

2. Use natural light

Daytime photos always look better than those taken under artificial light.

Indoor lamps or lights can sometimes cast an ugly orange glow over your photo.

You want the fresh tones of your food to shine through, not appear washed-out or off-colour!

 

3. Be wary of filters

Although filters can sometimes improve a picture, they can also be deceiving.

If you do decide to add a filter, make sure it doesn’t compromise the tone or clarity of your dish.

As mentioned above, you don’t want your food bathed in a strange unnatural glow!

4. Utilise the shadows

Shadows can enhance a photo, but they can also draw attention away from the subject.

If you’re shooting in harsh sunlight, take care to position the shadows in a way that fits the style.

In most cases though, softer shadows will be your friend. They’re more flattering, adding depth without dominating.

5.  Your background is important too

If it’s too colourful, the background can be distracting. Go for something neutral.

Darker food looks good on a dark surface, and vice versa.

Use a wooden table, or fabric with a subtle pattern to create texture.

 

6. Let your food breathe

Consider leaving some negative space in the frame.

You want to create a contrast with your background, to make the food pop.

Play around with the position of the dish inside the frame too, sometimes an off-centre photo is more fun to look at.

7. Arrange your food neatly

Presentation is key, don’t just slap it on the plate.

You want to serve up something unique and pleasurable to look at.

Symmetry and balance can make your dish visually appealing, so be thoughtful in the way you slice and arrange things. 

 Also, be sure to clean up any spills before you take the photo.

8. Decorate!

Smaller objects on and around your plate add another element of interest.

You could add a sprinkling of one of the ingredients you used, or position a utensil alongside the dish.

Dried spices, fruit, or even flowers are a great decoration, as they also add a pop of colour.

 

9. Pick the best angle

You want to make the most of your subject.

Shooting from above is often the best angle, that way you can see everything on the plate.

It also eliminates other backgrounds, and creates a nice balance.

However, if your food has interesting layers, e.g a cake, you might get a better view if you shoot from the side.

10. Tell a story

Sometimes, it’s not only about the food.

You might want your dish to be part of a larger frame of mind.

For example, a cup of tea alongside your meal creates a cosy feeling. Or an open book implies leisure and relaxation.

11. Or add a human element

This can also tell a story, and make your picture more relatable.

The presence of a hand or arm in the frame can make the viewer feel more connected. Just make sure to keep your other hand steady when you take the photo!

Or if you have company, try including multiple hands to set a more sociable scene.

 

12. Brighten it up!

If you’re shooting on an iPhone or similar, try editing the photo after you take it.

You’ll be surprised how much better it will look with a little brightening.

Just be careful not to overexpose or oversaturate it, as this can make it look less believable.

13. Simplicity is key

There’s a lot here to think about, we know. But sometimes keeping it simple is the best option.

Don’t overcomplicate your photo with too many elements, sometimes a bold contrast is all you need.

Also, try to use plates or bowls than don’t have a busy pattern.  

 

So now that you’re an expert photographer, get cooking and show us your skills right here!

These delectable-looking doughnuts.
These picture-perfect fruit salads.
This mouth-watering breakfast set-up.
This scrumptious-looking salad.
This cupcake work of art.
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