How to take the best Christmas dinner photos, according to Platter iOS app

Christmas is a time for sharing - presents, chocolates, the other end of cracker that fails to make a "crack" sound - but in more recent times another form of sharing has been associated with the holidays, that of photos and commentary on social networks.

So what better way to show off the fabulous Christmas feast you are about to enjoy than taking a snap of it and distributing it around to your extended family? Indeed, you can even give yourself the little extra present of smugness should your particular cooking exploits turn out to be a veritable success. Take that Rosie Follstrop and your incinerated goose. Up yours Freddie Musslegrove and your half-baked mince pies. Ahem.

However, as good as your food might look, it could still turn out bland and uninteresting when pictured with a compact camera or smartphone. You don't just want a beige 2D image of essentially beige food, you want it to sing and look like the pictures in the Jamie Oliver cookbook you just got from Granny but will probably never read.

That's why the company behind Platter, the free social food photography app for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, has put together 10 tips on how to make your festive food photos finish fantastically. And that's not so easy to say after 12 glasses of cooking sherry.

Top 10 tips for taking tasty Christmas dinner photos

Do use natural daylight

Window light will always produce the best results.

Don’t rely on overhead lights

They tend to create grim shadows. By contrast, a standing lamp or a table lamp will cast your dish in a more flattering light.

Do choose the right angle for your dish

With flat dishes of many components (think Christmas dinner or a fry-up,) an overhead shot may be best. But with a stacked dish (imagine your fantasy burger, people), shooting side-on may produce more dramatic results.



Don’t overcrowd the plate

The most memorable photos generally show a bit of plate. Less picturesque is a gluttonous trough with gravy cascading over the edge of your crockery, like seas off the end of the world.

Do let other items and objects play a part in your photo

To capture the happiness of being en famille over Christmas dinner, why not pan out to include the victorious half of a Christmas cracker?

Don’t feel obliged to photo the whole plate

Sometimes, a close-up is better than snapping the whole thing. A stack of red cabbage may be boring from a distance, but a close up might reveal hidden spices, like star anise.

Don’t fear the gravy

Few food images could capture a white Christmas dinner better than steam rising off your plate. Except maybe the sight of a drunken uncle eating Brussels sprouts off the snow.

Just try and avoid the gravy steaming up your lens… photo fast.



Do keep a steady hand

Limit yourself to no more than four glasses of champagne during The Snowman. Hold the camera in two hands. And if you’re planning an all-out festive bender, why not rest on your elbows to create an ersatz tripod?

Do take photos of the process and the party around the main dish

Some apps let you animate several photos to tell the full story of a dinner.

Do put down your camera or smartphone and enjoy your Christmas dinner

Or someone will snatch at least one of your spuds. Honestly, don’t bother with more than a couple of shots from a given angle. They don’t get better with repetition.

So there you go, hopefully those tips will help you take some great pics of puddings, pies and other things that begin with "p". You can then share your results on Platter itself, which can be found on iTunes if you've not got it installed already.

It is also offering users the chance to win a bottle of Bollinger Champagne for the best Christmas food photos. Details on how to enter are to be found on the Platter blog. Good luck.