White on Rice Couple bloggers share tips on taking great food photos

The holiday season brings out the foodie in everyone: When parties and festive dinners abound, people can’t help but fill up their Instagram and Facebook feeds with food photos – for better or for worse. We all know that food photos can be disastrous, and Instagram photos from Cooking For Bae or even Martha Stewart’s Twitter pics show us that not all “food porn” is created equal. Diane Cu and Todd Porter, also known as the White on Rice Couple, are famous for having some of the most gorgeous, vibrant photos of food on the Internet. The photographers and bloggers shared their secrets on how to take your best shots, even when you’re just using your phone. Metro photo editor Lenyon Whitaker demonstrated Cu and Porter’s dos and don’ts using his iPhone and Financier Patisserie’s tasty mini Yule Log and macarons.

1. It’s all about lighting: Cu and Porter say the best way to produce great food photos is to simply be aware of your lighting situation: Natural lighting is better than indoor lighting. Cu and Porter say lighting can make or break a food photo, even with just a smartphone camera: “Even with an iPhone, you can capture a great photograph by understanding light and how it conveys the story and mood of a food moment.”

final dessert-IMG_7248
Using the red bow gives it the dish a holiday feel and adds a pop of color to the photo. Credit: Lenyon Whtiaker Metro

2. Understand composition and simple styling: Do your research and look at food blogs and magazines and pay close attention to the composition of the photos. You don’t need to take out the glycerin to make something shinier or marbles in that soup. Cu and Porter say all you need is a simple sense of how to arrange your food: “When it comes down to the basics of what can make one food photograph appear more appealing to another is lighting and simple food styling.”


don't overcrowd plate
At least try. Don’t over-crowd the plate. Credit: Lenyon Whitaker/Metro

3. Don’t make it too busy: Cu and Porter say one of the most common mistakes they see in food photography is over-propping. They say, “The hero is the food and the food can be lost in all the propping.” Keep it simple and unfussy as not to take away from the main attraction.


Left: Too many bad filters make a photo look unnatural. Right: If you use an app like VSCO Cam or Snapseed, adjust the settings so you can maintain the natural look of the food. Credit: Lenyon Whitaker/Metro

4. Use a good photo app: Sometimes it’s impossible to avoid low light, especially in a dark restaurant. Cu and Porter say the best way to combat this problem is by investing in a good photo-editing app like Snapseed or VSCO Cam – two of the apps Cu and Porter use every day. “[Use] editing apps that can help add a filter to distract from images with low or bad lighting. Even converting an image to black and white can take a low light image to a whole new creative level,” say Cu and Porter.

Follow Andrea Park on Twitter: @andreapark

Follow Lenyon Whitaker on Twitter: @lenyon


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