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Have you ever wondered how to get that crisp, clear, perfect image on Instagram? How some food photos look good enough to eat, while others look a little… ick?
In this week’s quick tip of the week, I’ll show you how to turn your food photo from “are you sure that’s edible?” to “holy cow, get in my belly now!” in less than five minutes. That’s no joke – it’s THAT easy. Really, the most difficult thing about this tutorial is not eating the cookies before I finished taking photos.
what you’ll need
Here’s what you’ll need to produce a studio-quality image in five minutes flat:
- A spot near a window
- Daylight (clouds or sunshine work!)
- A sheet of white paper
- Your object(s)
This little trick is all about lighting. By using daylight near a window and not in direct sunlight, you’ll create the nice, soft shadows. Is it cloudy out? Even better! The after photo in this post was actually taken on a very overcast day. With sunlight, your shadows will be a bit harsher, but cloudy will give you just enough light, unless of course, it’s thunderstorming.
the set up
The set up is so incredibly easy. Grab a spot near a window. Grab a sheet of white paper – even the simple, day-to-day computer paper works. As long as your object is smaller that the paper, you’re golden. Here’s a look at my crazy simple set up. It’s almost funny how simple it is:
I lightly fold the sheet of paper to more easily prop the piece of paper up against an object behind the subject (in this case, cookies). When you shoot, you’ll be eye-level with your subject, which will give the image a nice, seamless background, much like a mini studio photo! There are more advanced ways to set up a lightbox for images like this, but this is the fast and easy, super budget-friendly method.
See the above photo? The colors are off, the shadows are harsh, the background is dark. All-in-all, not a great photo. Do you know why? It was taken with the curtains drawn and flash on. The iPhone’s flash is not your friend in most situations. Turn it off! Always! Okay, almost always. There’s a time and place for everything, but when natural light is available, there’s no need for it.
You can easily toggle your iPhone camera’s flash: When your camera app is open, in the top right corner is a little lighting bolt. Tap it and three options appear: Auto, On and Off. Tap off and you’re good to go.
Here’s the finished product with natural light. Open up that curtain, let the light in. Jump down to eye level and once your camera app is open, tap your subject on the screen to get that beautiful focus. With my final photo, I popped it into one of my favorite mobile apps, VSCO, brightened it up, sharpened just a bit and lightened the shadows. Easy as pie, right? Er, cookies.
Post in the comments your before and after photos using the 5-minute photo fix or tag me on Instagram @brendagdalton. I’d love to see how you use this quick method to improve your photos.