5 Ways to Improve Your Food Porn Skills

This is the latest installment from my weekly column, Foodie Underground.

"Ooh, take one of this!" exclaims my mother while rearranging the various plates on the table. Luckily for me, she has yet to get annoyed with my slightly crazy obsession with taking food photos. In fact, if anything, she's worse than I am about making sure we document everything, she's just not the one taking the food photos. But you can't get a colorful dish past her without being reminded that you should snap a shot.

"Have you taken photos of anything besides food this summer?" a friend recently asked. I raised my eyebrows in a "what do you think?" kind of way. We both knew the answer.

Food porn: with digital SLRs available to practically everyone, a multitude of food apps, and a newfound love for DIY cuisine, documenting food is all the rage. But it's not just about taking out your camera and shooting, good food porn takes some time and thought, as well as patience from your friends (skip to #10 to see what I am talking about).

This is not a guide on how to better your photo skills -- you might want more professional help if that's what you're looking for. But just looking to get your food porn skills going? Perfect, this guide is for you.

1. Carry a journal

Your first step in creating good food porn actually has nothing to do with a camera. Food photography is so big these days, sometimes the best way to capture the essence of what you're eating comes from simply putting pen to paper. Carry a journal and make it your food journal. Sketch a few meals, write down some recipes and pretty soon you'll have a collection of art that's equally as functional as it is inspiring.

2. Get an app

If you love food, you should be embracing technology. From photo to food apps, there are plenty of them out there, all to make what you're eating looking even better than it really is and then share it with the world.

3. Fake it

Very few things are serendipitous these days, particularly food settings. Would that fork look better placed in the salad or next to the plate? Should the glass of wine be empty or slightly filled? Maybe someone's hand reaching for the bread basket would give the photo more life? You don't need to create a completely inorganic setting, but thinking about what will go well together will serve your end product well.

4. Photograph the entire process

Part of the fun of food porn is seeing a dish from start to finish. Sure, it's impressive to see a good picture of fish tacos, but it's even better to get a series that includes chopping up the cabbage, breading the fish and a bowl full of limes.

5. Take more than just the food

It's easy to get so focused on the food itself that you forget about documenting what's going on around it, and as well all know, ambiance is just as important to a good meal as the food itself.

Where are the next five? The full list of ten can be found here.