Lifestyle

How to take better food photos with your phone

5 tips from food stylists and photographers

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Taking photos is more than just about getting likes on Instagram or filling up your feed with a certain aesthetic; it’s about telling a story in a visual way. It may be inanimate, but there are many ways you can capture and show happy memories from foodstagrams.

A slice of cake can transport you back in time when your friends surprised you on your 22nd birthday, the same way your family’s Chinese New Year spread can remind you of the time everyone gathered around during the festivities.

Here are five easy tips from professional food stylists and photographers Diona Lee and Sean Ashley on how you can take better food photos using an iPhone.

1. Create a narrative

Shot on an iPhone XS

Good photos are able communicate beyond what’s obvious and the same applies to food. A photo of char siew can be just that — a sumptuous plate of pork — but it can be so much more. If styled and captured with intent, it can convey a festive celebration, an emotional homecoming, or even a set of parents’ labor of love.

2. Add a human element

Shot on an iPhone XS

One way to help create a narrative is by adding a human element or two. A hand with chopsticks reaching out for a piece of roast duck can make a world of difference. Human elements add emotions and warmth to photos and make them feel more real.

3. Inject color

There’s a reason chefs garnish their food after plating. Dishes in a food spread sometimes tend to look alike, so adding props or even adding different colored food to the table can help break the monotony and bring your photo to life. Just make sure to not overdo props; styling is done best within the context of a narrative.

4. Angle your food

Here’s a quick one most of us don’t normally do: You can use napkins to prop up your food and add depth to your photo. This especially works for round items like fruits.

5. Find soft lighting

Shot on an iPhone XS with Portrait Mode

Food is always best captured with natural light, but if that’s not available, your next best option is to find soft lighting and take the photo away from harsh kitchen lights. Most people’s tendency is to put the food right under harsh light fixtures, but if you haven’t noticed by now, that actually adds unnecessary shadows to your photo and some areas may simply end up overexposed.

Need more inspiration? Watch our food photography tips made specifically for iPhones here.

WATCH: 5 iPhone Food Photography Tips

Accessories

Oblio is a 2-in-1 UV-C sanitizer and wireless charging station

Keeping it clean stylishly

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Admit it or not, UV-C sterilizers and sanitizers are now revolutionizing our home and office spaces. At CES 2021, Lexon Design took cleaning accessories up a notch.

Introducing Oblio, this vase-like UV-C sanitizer helps prevent the spread of harmful bacteria found on our smartphones. It has a built-in UV-C LED, which extinguishes the DNA of microorganisms found in viruses, mold, and germs.

Oblio is capable of extensive disinfection, sanitizing your device for a 20-minute cycle. Through lab testing, it has been proven effective to kill 99.9 percent of viruses, including H1N1.

Just like Samsung’s personal sanitizer, Oblio also lets you charge your devices wirelessly. With a 10W wireless charging capability, you can fully charge a smartphone in three hours. Additionally, it comes with an LED indicator. This is so you’ll know the charging status of your device inside.

But what sets it apart from other sanitizers? Apparently, Oblio’s meaning and design. The name Oblio means “forgot” in the native language of Italian designers Manuela Simonelli and Andrea Quaglio.

Its meaning echoes the accessory’s vase shape, ingeniously designed to help people disconnect — literally forgetting their smartphones so they can be more present.

Price and availability

Oblio sanitizes and charges all Qi-enabled smartphones, regardless if it’s iPhone or Android. The 2-in-1 accessory is already available at prominent retailers worldwide such as Best Buy, Nordstrom, MoMA Design Store in the US, Fnac Darty in Europe, and more.

It retails for US$ 79.90 and is available in four colors: White, Gold, Dark Blue, and Matt Black. You can get it through its official online store at Lexon Design.

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CES 2021

Hedgehog protects your smart home from cyber attacks

This homeware keeps people, data, and devices safe

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Protecting your home is more than just smart locks, CCTVs, and firewalls for your digital premises. With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) or those appliances and devices that are becoming smarter, life has been easier. However, the price of convenience comes with the risk of a new threat: cyber attacks.

These days, both enterprises and homeowners must increase security at all levels. As such, we need an extra guardian. Meet Hedgehog, the “world’s first whole home” cybersecurity device.

Launched at CES 2021, Hedgehog was described as a home’s digital guardian, protecting the household from possible attacks that firewalls and anti-virus software can’t.

The digital guardian we need?

Unsure how you can possibly be attacked? Imagine if your smart fridge got hacked, or if your smart vacuum malfunctioned. How about if your smart locks break and make it possible for actual thieves to enter your home.

These situations aren’t far from happening in our reality. After all, cyber criminals are actively and increasingly targeting everyday people. Home networks are easy to target to access personal and corporate data, especially at an age where people are remotely working from home.

Hedgehog aims to protect the entire home and all IoT devices inside a network. From phones, fridges, PCs, speakers, webcams, tablets, and Smart TVs — basically anything that’s smart enough to use the Internet and make your life easier.

A smart, functional homeware

Despite being a digital guardian, Hedgehog doesn’t dismiss your existing firewalls and anti-virus software. Rather, it works alongside those security measures and other home security products, offering holistic protection. It simply shields all the people, devices, and networks within a home.

Even though it’s a smart piece of technology, designed to look like homeware. Its unassuming look helps it blends easily. It’s also smart enough to install itself and connect to an existing Wi-Fi connection.

And when it does, it watches the entire household, identifying anything suspicious, and alerts the home-owner via an app. It also neutralizes threats quickly and effectively, protecting both data and people.

Price and availability

The Hedgehog device and its annual subscription are available to pre-order at a discounted price of EUR 99 with no subscription fees. It’s available in two colors: Orange Belly and Midnight Blue. Get more information about the device and its offers through this link.

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Entertainment

Netflix’s ‘To All The Boys: Always and Forever’ is your Valentine’s Day treat

Lara Jean’s last hurrah?

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The sequel for Netflix’s To All The Boys I Loved Before and To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You is almost here. Premiering this Valentine’s Day, Netflix’s To All The Boys: Always and Forever follows Lara Jean Covey’s senior year in high school.

In the upcoming film, a pair of life-changing trips lead Lara Jean to reimagine what life with her family, friends, and Peter will look like after graduation.

Of course, Lana Condor and Noah Centineo will take center stage. Netflix will also be starring Janel Parrish, Anna Cathcart, Ross Butler, Madeleine Arthur, Sarayu Blue, and John Corbett. The film is directed by Michael Fimognari and produced by Matt Kaplan, with Katie Lovejoy working on the screenplay.

Netflix’s To All The Boys: Always and Forever is based on the novel by Jenny Han. It will be available on Netflix on February 12, 2021. Stay tuned via Netflix.com/ToAllTheBoysAlwaysAndForever.

SEE ALSO: 5 apps to help you plan a cheap Valentine’s Day date | 10 films to Netflix and chill to

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