Make Your Own Meals: Hone Your Food Photo Skills #30DaysofGOOD

Since so many of us virtually share our food with friends, let’s do photographic justice to the awesome meals we’re making.

Things are easier said than done, or so the old adage goes, and we couldn't agree more. That's why we do The GOOD 30-Day Challenge (#30DaysofGOOD), a monthly attempt to live better. Our challenge for June? Make your own meals.

Today’s task is to spend some time online learning how to take better food photos with your phone. Since so many of us virtually share our food with our friends, let's make sure to do justice to the awesome meals we're making. I'm no pro photographer, but having photoblogged about food for several years, I have picked up a few basic tips to keep in mind.

Light: The most critical element in food photography (besides not eating your subject too quickly) is good light. You know when you see pics on Instagram or Facebook that make people's food look sad or gross? Often it's because the room was too dark or the shot was flooded by a flash. If it's light out, bring your plate next to a windowsill or out on the back porch where there's sun. In the evening, make sure to set up under the best lighting in the room.

Perspective: While it's tempting to always snap food photos from a downward 45-degree angle (resembling the way you look down at your plate), it’s not always the most attractive. So experiment and get creative with angles. When searching for your perfect shot, look for food that reflects light and make it a focal point in your frame; some filters turn that gleam into a look that's dewy and magical.

Filters: In short: Use filters! They're fun and they can be extremely helpful in bringing out the surprising beauty of your food. On Instagram, I confine myself to four filters (Amaro, Rise, Valencia, and Hefe) because I find the rest to be too dark and I dislike automatic borders (plus, using just a few filters gives my food photo feed a more consistent look). Of course, there are always exceptions. When a shot is particularly bright, my standby is the X-pro II filter–it's a lifesaver.

Those are just some starting points. There are lots of great resources online to help you perfect your food photography. And remember, practice makes perfect. I'd love to see what you're shooting–please share your food photos in the comments section below.

We're giving away $500 for you to unite your community and "Make More Meals" from locally-sourced foods. Participate in our Share a GOOD Recipe challenge.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user Ross Hill