If I have not had the chance to introduce myself, here's my chance. I'm Tiffany Square, most of our chefs/employees know me as the HR assistant but I also write these blogs and I am the one responsible for posting College Chefs' food pictures onto our social media.
The reason that it looks like we have the best food in the fraternity & sorority catering business is because we do! Most fraternity & sorority kitchens don't have a photo studio in them so we make best with what we have!
On a daily basis I receive dozens of pictures which are then reviewed, cropped, & selected for our social media. The process that I have created for myself allows me to quickly review each photo and select the most appropriate.
There're several key qualities I look for in finding the "winning picture". Some of those qualities include lighting, angle, presentation, and overall creativity.
While I am thankful and appreciative to all of our chefs and sous chefs who take the time to snap pics and send them to me, I have helpful information that can improve food "selfies".
Hope you find this blog helpful.
- Tiffany Square
Lighting...Probably the most important aspect in taking a picture!
This picture is an example of poor lighting. It's a good picture overall but it is dark and could have benefited with some better lighting.
Look below! This picture is very inviting and captures its viewers by its popping color and is a grade A example of good lighting.
Tip for better lighting: Although poor lighting can ruin a picture it is also a very easy fix. Next time you are taking a picture make sure that you are in a well lighted area, if you have to be creative and find a way to position your picture so that it can receive the best lighting possible.
Quick fix: Turn the lights on! Or open a window (even if it's across the kitchen) to let in some natural light. Do you have a white sheet or perhaps a shiny bread pan that you can use to reflect some light?
Angle...Sometimes it's not what you have, but how you angle it!
This picture has good lighting, decent focus, and an okay angle. But look at the picture below to see the difference between an okay angle and a great angle.
Same picture but at a different angle, can you see the difference? This picture speaks volumes and demands attention.
Tip for better angle: Duck down, stand on a milk carton or chair an OSHA-approved ladder, get close, or stand back... get creative with your angles, try any method that creates a picture with a bold statement.
Quick fix: Try to avoid shooting directly at your food from above (often peoples' natural instinct). Try playing around with different angles -- sometimes your camera and dish will surprise you.
Presentation...It's not what you say, it's how you say it!
There's no doubt that this food looks great, however with just a little attention to presentation it will look beyond great!
This is the same food from the picture above, do you see the difference it makes when you present it differently?
Tips for better presentation: Like always be creative, instead of leaving it in a buffet sort of style, make a individualized plate of your dish.
Quick fix: Plate it!
Focus...With anything in life, you must focus!
There's one aspect to this picture that makes it lack that star quality and that is focus. Can you see that the picture is very fuzzy? That's where focus comes into play.
Look at the focus on this picture, it's so focused that you can see the detail in the whip cream's swirls. The focus displayed in this picture is on point and is a great example of a clear well focused picture.
Tip for better focus: Make sure to stand as still as you can when taking a picture, any sort of movement can turn the focus into a disaster. If you're using a camera phone, grab an object that you can rest your hand and/or phone on to steady your lens -- it can make a huge difference!
Quick fix: Try leaning against a wall for better stable support and/or use an object to rest your hand on before snapping the photo. Be still, be stable, be solid.
Here's a handful of more tips:
1. You don't have to get fancy on us, please use your phone to take pictures but if you have a professional camera that's great as well! Most of the photos that are posted on our Facebook are done with a camera-phone.
2. Try to avoid using a flash as much as possible, it really is unflattering in many cases. Want to try something different with your flash? Take a piece of white paper and cover your flash when you snap the photo -- it will filter out some of the 'bad' from your flash.
3. Avoid editing your picture, don't include borders, or other special effects that may over saturate your picture. We are looking for originality and purity of your food. Adding special effects takes away from what we are trying to present to our viewers.