Martha Stewart falls foul of social media’s high standards…

The debate about cameras at dinnertime came to the fore late last year once more, this time thanks, rather unexpectedly, to kitchen goddess Martha Stewart. The offending photo was of something rather innocuous (and probably pretty tasty) – an iceburg lettuce wedge with homemade Russian dressing. Fair enough, you might think. Why shouldn’t she share her lunch with her followers – after all, she’s only one of the most well-known chefs in the world, right? Well, that might be part of the problem. You see, her photo wasn’t quite up to the high standard of the glossy images that usually accompany her recipes. And the people of Twitter didn’t waste any time in telling her.

Much has been said about whether it is appropriate to take photos at the dinner table (frowned upon by some, an essential part of eating out for others) and whether it is ok (or just downright annoying for your followers) to share every snap, including the dud ones. Well, Twitter has spoken, and the answer is a resounding ‘no’. Turns out the internet doesn’t take kindly to average-looking food photos – it has to be mouth-watering, or nothing. Here are a few tips on taking food snaps that won’t end up going viral for all the wrong reasons:

•    Lighting, lighting, lighting. Whether you have a smartphone or a snazzy, top-of-the-range camera, you won’t get far without good lighting. Make sure you sit somewhere with plenty of natural daylight or, if you’re dining in the evening, plonk yourself on a well-lit table. Believe me, Twitter will thank you for it.
•    Editing. No, I don’t mean using a filter to make it look like you’re dining in the 1970s. Clever editing can rescue a not-so-great photo – just make sure you keep it realistic. For example, cranking up the saturation can significantly improve a washed-out photo, but be careful not to overdo it or it’ll look unnatural. Subtlety is key.
•    Context. I know you want to take the photo as quickly as possible so you can start tucking in, but take a few seconds to consider the framing before you start snapping. Even the most beautifully presented dish can look a bit strange up close – gain some perspective by getting the plate in the shot as well or, if you’ve got a colourful cocktail or glass of fizz, get that involved too to set the scene.

Do you have any top tips for great food photography?

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