You lift your camera before you lift your fork? Me, too.
For a recent column, I went through six months’ worth of food images in my iPhone: Burgers at Johnson’s in Siler City, BLT at Merritt’s in Chapel Hill, Saturday morning breakfast in my kitchen.
Readers enjoyed it so much, we held a contest for your favorite food pictures.
You people certainly do travel: You sent pictures of tapas in Spain, flaming woks in Thailand and barbecue in Texas. You eat at home, too: shrimp cocktail with fresh flowers, cupcakes on a rack, and pizza – lots of pizza.
Bert Fox, the Observer’s director of photography, picked the winner of the grand prize, a $50 restaurant gift certificate. He went with a beautifully composed picture by teacher Julie Ruble, who bakes and shoots for her blog Willow Bird Baking.
Second place goes to Joyce Chandler, Charlotte; third, Morgan Hinton, Charlotte; and honorable mention to Sean Cooper, Concord.
If you’re trying to capture your food, here are my tips:
• Use natural light. If you want to flatter your food, go during the day and get a table near a window.
• Vary the angle. Don’t shoot every plate from a 45-degree angle. Try the occasional bird’s-eye view or vertical.
• Get close. You want people to imagine eating the food, so make sure the food is the biggest thing in the frame.
• White grows. If you use a white plate, make sure the food doesn’t get lost. Look for something – a fork or a sprig of herbs – to interrupt the border.
• Check the background before you shoot. Pay attention to tree branches growing out of people’s heads and tablecloths with distracting patterns.
Don’t clean it up too much. Remember: Martha Stewart always leaves a crumb on the plate.
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