BUDGET TRAVEL TIPS

How to Take Better Food Photos

Improve your shots in a snap with our nine tips, gleaned from some of the best photographers we know—our readers!

Embrace fuzziness [SEE THE PHOTO]
Resist the urge to make everything in the frame sharp and crisp; a blurry foreground can actually look more artistic. On point-and-shoots, hold down the shutter button halfway to selectively focus on certain parts of the picture. On more advanced cameras, such as digital SLRs, you can adjust your aperture—the pupil-like opening that affects how much light enters the camera.
Our reader pick: John Eiberger, of Chicago, captured this shot of whole fried fish covered in red onions and sliced chiles in Thailand, while working on a study of close-up photography calledInches from Bangkok. He writes, "I'm a big fan of selective focus on one part of a shot with a blurred but busy background—which is easy to find in Thailand!"

Clear away the clutter [SEE THE PHOTO]
Move stuff around! Being a great stylist can be almost as important as having the right camera or finding the perfect light. Start with what's on the table and tweak as needed: Move silverware and glasses, turn bottles toward the camera so the viewer can read exactly what you were drinking, and spin the plate so the most important details catch the eye.
Our reader pick: Lynn Farrell, of Scottsdale, Ariz., shot this plate of grilled calamari in a restaurant outside of Mykonos, on a hill overlooking the sea. We love the way this image encapsulates the entire Greek dining experience. From details like the Greek characters on the beer bottle to the rustic paper place mat to the simple garnish, a viewer can instantly get a feel for what it was like to eat an authentic meal in this unfussy restaurant.

Capture a lost-in-translation moment [SEE THE PHOTO]
Sometimes, beauty lies not in the photograph's subject itself, but in the anecdote that it encapsulates. Mistranslations on international menus, foreign takes on American classics, like a Russian Coke bottle, and other cultural mix-ups can tell a story that will make you smile long after you return home.
Our reader pick: Wendy Dreaney, of Bremerton, Wash., shot this picture in an outdoor café at the Khan el-Khalili market in Cairo. The focal point isn't a local delicacy, but instead an unruly mop of mint leaves jammed into a Nestlé water bottle next to a mismatched cup and saucer. She writes, "My friend from Georgia asked, in her classic Southern drawl, for a tea with mint, and this is what she got! I thought the presentation was so simple and charming."

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