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NPR's Handy Guide To Not Taking Terrible Food Photographs

The real excuse for this handy guide is a project we just launched called Cook Your Cupboard. The idea: You don't always have time for fancy recipes. But you probably do have unused stuff around the kitchen. So post a photo of what has you stumped, and get ideas from other people. Occasionally, we'll even get chefs to weigh in on-air.

And if we're going to ask for food photos (guilty!), we figured we'd at least offer a few basic tips — since slapping on an Instagram filter can only do so much. So let us guide you to the light (the perfectly exposed, natural light, that is, preferably from a north-facing window).

Big Mistake #1: Flash! Nooo! Anything but the flash!

The fix: Natural light is key to photography in general — so maybe open the blinds. It's the best way to avoid weird colors and glare from light bulbs. Plus, that way you don't have to use the flash.

Big Mistake #2: Clutter

The fix: Background stuff is distracting! Find a clean space and try shooting from above.

Big Mistake #3: Blur

The fix: Just back up a bit and show the whole thing. The wider the shot, the more light you'll have, which compensates for a shaky hand.

And voila: Doesn't this look pleasant? Now an expert, you can join the ranks of guilty food photographers and feel confident sharing your culinary oddities on Cook Your Cupboard.

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