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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

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Her GadgetMatch

How to be an IG boyfriend: Tips in taking proper Instagram photos

You’re welcome!

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It’s happened one too many times: Girl finds a great spot to take an IG photo, she poses the winning pose, wears the biggest smile — and the photo comes out, well, unsuitable for IG. The girl then gets mad at well-meaning (but completely lacking in the photo department) boyfriend and the rest goes down in history as another couple spat due to unpresentable #OOTD photos.

This being a recurring problem in this Instagram generation, I’ve rounded up a number of things that can help any boyfriend unleash the amazing, great photo-taking IG boyfriend he could be.

So to all the guys, listen up:

Know what type of shot she wants

Any photo, no matter how nice it is, won’t make it to your girlfriend’s feed, if it’s not the type of photo she asked you to take. If she wants to capture her nice #OOTD but you keep on taking portraits, no matter how nice they look and how amazing her smile is in the photo, it still isn’t what she needs for her Insta-feed. Of course, not saying that you shouldn’t try to help with shots, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves; that’s discussed later on in this list.

Take more than one photo

Think about it this way: The more shots you take, the more options your girlfriend has to choose from. Posing is honestly a tricky thing. Sometimes the best shot happens a split second after you’ve actually pressed the shutter button and then it’s gone forever. The only solution? Resolve to take more than one photo. Just keep tapping at that shutter and let your girl decide which one looks best for her. After all, it’s easy to delete shots, but it’s way harder to pose and shoot more.

Lucky for you, there are some phones which have built-in features that allow you to do this with one tap. The Pixel 3’s Top Shot function is perfect for this. The iPhone’s Live Photos is also great at this because it allows you to pick the best still from a series of photos saved from one shot.

Find a flattering angle

I get it, you think your girlfriend looks great at any angle and that’s sweet. But, that sentiment doesn’t automatically mean amazing photos (even if you think so). Now, before you get your panties up in a bunch, I know that no one is perfect and I agree that unrealistic standards on women based on edited social media photos may be harmful. However, there’s a difference between enhancing what you already have with flattering poses or angles, and completely faking a photo. I’m talking about the former.

Bottom line is that you have to make sure that you take photos from non-weird angles and in the best-possible conditions: This includes good lighting, flattering poses, and your girlfriend being comfortable.

Find out what flattering is to your girlfriend!

There are certain aesthetics to photo taking and even though you think that candid photo of her dancing awkwardly is cute, it might not cut it for her feed. It would help your photo taking if you knew what she thinks looks good on her. If you always keep her preference in mind, it assures better chances at shooting photos she’ll love.

Suggest poses and shots

Since you’re taking them, you’re the one who can see the photo preview. It helps so much when you try to guide your girl through the process. Suggesting movements and poses that look good with the framing ups your IG boyfriend brownie points significantly.

Be patient

Stop the grumbling; stop acting like it’s a big deal. You’re being asked to take a photo, not climb Mount Everest. Being a sport about the whole thing makes for a stellar IG boyfriend, even without the the best-looking photos. Photo skills you can learn, but being an accomodating BF is a choice.

Remember: Looking your best and always being presentable is a life skill. Looking great in all IG photos, however, is a gift — one that you can give your girlfriend.

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Her GadgetMatch

Learning the basics of skincare

My personal evening skincare routine

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Skincare isn’t easy. I’d know.

Last year, after months of what I could only explain as adult acne, I went on an enlightening journey towards clearer skin. In other words, I took time to learn about skincare. Dear reader, I, too, like you, did not know squat about how to take care of my face. But, after countless YouTube videos, articles, and consultations with friends, I finally developed a skincare routine that works for me.

To break it down, there are three main steps: Cleansing, toning, and moisturizing. In this video, I’ve modified each step to things that suit my needs and products that work with my skin type. I’ve mentioned just some of the products that have worked for me in the video, but always remember that what works for me might not work for you.

I start off with cleansing using a two-step technique that uses an oil-based cleanser followed by a water-based cleanser. This is followed by an alcohol-free facial toner and topped off by some products that help moisturize my face. Below is a list of the products that I used:

  • Banilla Co. Zero Clean It Cleanser
  • Himalaya Herbals Purifying Neem Face Wash
  • V&M Naturals Witch Hazel Pore Perfecting Toner
  • Klair’s Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Serum
  • Foreo Matte Maniac Charcoal Mask and the Foreo UFO
  • BaeBody Eye Gel
  • Himalaya Herbals Intensive Moisturizing Cream
  • Vaseline

Wishing you well on your own skincare adventure!

Click HERE to watch the video.

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