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This post is not health-related, but it is certainly relevant. Many people who are passionate about food like to share photos of their meals. The better your picture, the more likely people are to get excited about your meal and engage in discussion. As a food blogger and photographer, I’ve been taking pictures of my food for years.

I use a Canon digital SLR. I recently upgraded to the Rebel T3i from my Rebel XS. Regardless of the camera, a digital SLR has a lot of advantages. Here are some things I recommend when choosing equipment.

1. Digital SLR. SLR cameras (Single Lens Reflex) have large lenses that can be removed from the body of the camera. If your budget allows and you aren’t inconvenienced by the larger size, these cameras take superior photos. Removable lenses allow you to switch to different lenses for different shooting needs (macro lens for close-up photos, for example). These cameras also have the most customizable settings to optimize light, movement, and focus.
2. High Image Resolution. If you’re not ready to commit to SLR, there are many point-and-shoot cameras that take high-quality pictures. Look for high image resolutions and shoot at the highest quality your camera allows.

Unfortunately, the camera doesn’t do all the work for you. Here are some photography tips to keep in mind when shooting to optimize your photos.

1. Light. Photography is all about light. You want to avoid using the built-in flash on your camera, so make sure your food is in a well-lit place. Avoid direct sunlight because of the dramatic shadows it creates, unless that’s the look you’re going for.
2. Presentation. Make sure your food is prepared in a way that looks appealing, even if it’s not the way you’d ultimately eat it. You are composing a tiny work of art, so keep in mind colors, shapes, lines, and composition. Also make sure you don’t have anything distracting or unattractive in the background. A blank slate is best—try to find a place where you can have a plain backdrop.
3. Hold steady. If you’re shooting on an automatic setting, your camera will adjust the shutter speed based on how much light there is. If light isn’t plentiful, it will likely leave the shutter open a bit longer, which means your photos can come out blurry. To avoid this, hold very still while you take the picture, or consider using a tripod. Ideally, you will have enough light that your shutter speed will be fast.
3. Edit. Even the greatest photographers edit their photos. Ideally, professional software like Adobe Photoshop is best, but Aperture, iPhoto, and many other photo-editing programs work well. Adjust saturation, contrast, and re-crop for the ideal shot. Many programs offer a way to lighten areas of shadow, which can be very handy for showing all the detail in your food.

Hopefully this inspires photography newbies to snap some shots of their food. Do you have any tips you’d like to add?

Emily Davidson, creator of Healthy Eating, Naturally and Historically Incorrect, is a blogger and copywriter at Lela.com. Lela is a fun, interactive online shopping tool that helps parents find the perfect electronics and baby products using unique and intuitive technology and personalized Product Ratings.

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