We’ve probably photographed close to every type of food there is. We’ve had a lot of fun, survived a few small disasters, (hello, kitchen fire!) and captured some pretty nice shots along the way. Here are some of our favorite tips for those of us who take pictures first and eat second. 

Follow along as we shoot a fresh pasta dish with tomatoes, onion, herbs and cheese that pairs perfectly with Coca-Cola.

Find the light. If you have good light, you’re well on your way to a good photograph. Natural sunlight from a window is best; if you’re up for it, use the compass on your phone to find a window that points north. North light is the most diffuse and casts the most even glow. If this setup isn’t available, cover a window that faces any direction with a sheer fabric to make the light less harsh. And be sure overhead and interior lights are turned off. They can create unpleasant color casts in your picture.

Smartphone food tips
Credit: Johnny Autry

The food! If you feel like cooking, pick a recipe that interests you, and make it look as appetizing as possible. Take your time, but this doesn’t mean make it perfect! A loose, messy style helps create visual interest. And don’t forget, food is beautiful before you cook it, too! Fresh produce from the farmers’ market and breads from the bakery are ready to shoot. No cooking necessary!

Smartphone food tips
Credit: Johnny Autry

So what’s in this shot? Plates, bowls, cups, glasses? Those are props! We like to look for special and unique pieces at antique stores, thrift shops, flea markets or buy directly from local makers.

Smartphone food tips
Credit: Johnny Autry

Frame it up. Pick an angle that shows the food the best. Shooting from overhead can help minimize distractions and make the shot more graphic. Shooting from a lower angle allows you to create a sense of height.

Smartphone food tips
Credit: Johnny Autry

Get a hand! Recruit your friends to hand model. Having a human element in the photograph can help bring the food to life.

Smartphone food tips
Credit: Johnny Autry

Edit. Test out some photo editing apps and find your favorite. Create your own unique filter, save it, and apply it to all your photographs. Well done! Now enjoy your food before it gets cold!

Johnny Autry is a photographer based in Asheville, N.C. He got his start in photography at age 15 when he was given a 4x5 press camera with a broken shutter. His work has appeared in numerous publications both home and abroad. He often works on projects with his wife, Charlotte, a food and prop stylist whose enthusiasm for ramps, sorghum and vintage dishware never tires. When they’re not working, they're enjoying the mountains and riding bikes with their son, Wyatt.bFollow Johnny on Instagram here, and follow Charlotte here.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Johnny and Charlotte recently prepared and photographed several Coca-Cola-inspired recipes for Journey -- from traditional comfort food like pot roast and chili, to creative choices like a Gold Peak MargariTEA mocktail and a Coke Peach Float. Feast your eyes on these images: