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Jade Nina Sarkhel, food photographer
Photograph: Andy Parsons

Things you only know if you’re a food photographer

James FitzGerald

…according to Jade Nina Sarkhel, 28.

The perfect shot can make or break a restaurant

‘Instagram dictates how some people choose their restaurants now. I took a photograph of a bowl of pasta for a place called Bancone that pretty much went viral, and they’ve grown so rapidly on social media because of it. A poorly done picture of that same bowl of pasta wouldn’t have conveyed the same quality.’

Your phone camera needs natural light to do its thing

‘For the best results, photograph your food near a window on a cloudy day. Yellow artificial light changes the colour of food, so use natural light. And clouds diffuse direct sunlight; if it’s sunny, use a thin piece of napkin instead.’

A spritz of oil makes any dish look more appetising

‘The most common trick we use is to have an oil spray and brush to hand. If something dries out or doesn’t have much glisten, some oil brings it to life. We also use fake ice cubes so real ones don’t melt and dilute the drink, and I’ve used toothpicks to hold a stack of pancakes in place, so they didn’t fall over during the shoot. But most restaurants in London keep things authentic: the food is still completely real!’

Even for a photographer, taste is more important than looks

‘My job is important, but it’s not the be-all-and-end-all. If you’re a real foodie in London, you won’t go off just an image. I live not far from Tooting and there’s a Pakistani restaurant I’ve eaten in for years. You walk past and they’ve got fluorescent lights and football on the TV screens. It doesn’t look fancy at all, but the food is just amazing!’

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