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The 5 Essential Rules for Taking Food Photos in a Restaurant

Editor
Getting a good shot can be harder than it seems

It’s really easy to take an awful photo of food at a restaurant; just look at basically any restaurant’s Yelp page. Even though it might seem like taking a decent food photo can be a nearly impossible task, we assure you that it can be done. There are just some ground rules you need to keep in mind. Here are five:

1. Never Use Flash
Flash has ruined more food photos than anything else. If the lighting is low, try to place a candle near the food to provide some illumination, or ask your dining partner to turn on the flashlight on their phone and hold it up to the food (but not too close; you may need to play around a little to find the happy medium). Whatever you do, don’t use flash. Ever.

2. Don’t Be Intrusive
While trying to take the perfect food photo, it’s a lot easier to be really annoying than you may think. Flash, for one, can be incredibly obnoxious, especially in a dark restaurant, and the photo isn’t going to turn out good anyway (see above). And if you’re making your dining companions wait to start eating until you’re finished taking photos of each of their plates, that’s a great way to make some enemies as well. Get your photo, and don’t annoy anybody in the process.

3. Use Natural Light Whenever Possible
Natural light is your best friend when taking food photos. Direct sunlight can whitewash your photo; the absolute best condition for a great food photo is in a shady spot on a sunny day.

4. Find the Right Angle
Some dishes photograph best up-close from an angle; others look best when shot from directly overhead. Consider framing: Some photos work better when they include the plate and surrounding glassware, silverware, etc.; others work better zoomed in. Take a few photos from different angles and sort through them later to find the best one.

5. Wait Until You Get Home for Instagram
Eating a meal at a restaurant is the time to be social with friends and family. Wait until after you get home to post your photos to social media. 

Related Links
10 Tips for Gorgeous Food PhotosThe Worst Food Photos from the World's Best RestaurantsThe Life of a Lauded Food Photographer: An Interview with Jeff KauckGoogle Wants to Put Your Food Photos on the Map

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