Pederson’s Natural Farms: Holiday Food Styling Guide

Pederson’s Natural Farms: Holiday Food Styling Guide

Holiday Food Styling – How to achieve the picture-perfect tablescape

Holiday food styling guide. The holidays are the most festive time of the year, but they can also be the most stressful. Here are some useful food styling tips for getting that picture-perfect Thanksgiving and Christmas tablescape we all dream of creating.



Main course – tips for the perfect Thanksgiving and Christmas ham or turkey


Side dishes – complement your ham or turkey with color, angles, distance, and texture


Desserts life of the table, where the fun begins


Table lighting tips – setting the atmosphere

food styling

Main Course – Tips for the Perfect Thanksgiving and Christmas Ham or Turkey

Let’s first talk about your main dish, the focal point of your meal. You will want this dish to be the most eye-catching part of your setup. Let’s say your main dish is a big delicious Pederson’s Natural Farms Christmas ham. There are many ways to style a holiday ham. The first is with traditional stylings of cloves placed on the outside of the ham – a great way to keep that traditional look. Another way is to baste your ham, whether you choose orange, cranberry, or just a brown sugar glaze. This gives a delicious spin on the ham. When presenting, you can place citrus halves or slices on a bed of parsley, kale, or green leaf lettuce. Also, fig halves, pomegranates, or cranberries all add beauty and color.
Garnishing your dishes adds color and character.
Using fruit halves, slices, and zest adds color and aroma to your Christmas Ham.
Baste your ham or turkey with glazes for added flavor and visual appeal.

Side Dishes – Complement your Ham or Turkey with color, angles, distance, and texture.

Next, let’s complement your main dish with some beautiful and creative side dishes. Sides are a great way to elevate your tablescape to the next level. It’s always best to have some fresh, vibrant vegetables in the mix for an added bit of color. Using white plates and dishes is visually striking and will achieve better photos because of the contrast. Use different shapes of dishes for each side to bring more dimension to the scape and give more depth and height, adding better visual appeal. An example to create contrast would be to use white serving pieces for dishes that are vibrant in color and darker serving pieces with lighter, more neutral foods. Don’t be afraid to change the distance of your shots. Zooming way out or getting extremely close up to your dishes can create some great eye-catching content. Changing angles is very important as well. Assess different angles of the dish and think about what would look best. Overhead shots (or flat lays) can be eye catching but not for everything. If you have something relatively flat like a crostini or flatbread, add visual interest by stacking a few, and prop one on the side of the stack. Take the photo very close and from the side or at a 45 degree angle. This adds height and texture and is more visually appealing. ​​There are times when extremely close photos of food work well, and, at other times, a wider shot conveys a better sense of place and atmosphere.
ham food styling

Desserts – Life of the table, where the fun begins

Last but certainly not least, the final touch to your perfect holiday tablescape…dessert! This is where you can start being super fun and creative. There are so many different ways you can spruce up your desserts. Use elements you may not normally think of using (like fresh cranberries, leaves, or pinecones) by scattering them on the table. Don’t be afraid to try a variation of presentations to achieve that perfect image! Some clever things to try include:
Serving bite-sized portions
Using smaller glasses, bowls, or plates for individual servings
Garnishing with fruit, candies, nuts, edible flowers, etc.
Decorating with skewers, straws, and toothpicks
Using multicolored foods such as dark, white, and milk chocolate shavings, chips, or wafers for garnishing the tops and sides around your dishes
Sprinkle powdered sugar or cocoa powder on top
Shave some lemon, orange, or lime zest for aroma and color
Use seeds like chia, sunflower or fruit chunks like pomegranate arils and pineapple

Table Lighting Tips – Setting the atmosphere

One of the most important parts of getting the best photos possible is the lighting. Whether you are capturing a bright and cheerful mood or just a warm-night-by-the-fireplace atmosphere, these tips will help you achieve the perfect mood. Natural lighting is always the best as far as getting that perfect mouth-watering photo of your meal. Setting your table close to a large window or glass door typically provides enough natural light to take a dynamic photo. If you prefer a warmer look, take the shot at night with string lights in glass jars, taper candles strewn throughout the middle of the dishes, or tea lights placed around the scape by themselves or in decorative votive holders. If you are reluctant to use open flames, there are many LED flameless candle styles to choose from that will still help achieve a gorgeous glow.
The possibilities are endless for creating the ideal holiday meal. I hope this brings some inspiration and creativity to you this special season!
iPhone Professional Photography 101

iPhone Professional Photography 101

iPhone Professional Photography 101 – Instagram is a wildly popular social media platform. Based on its active monthly users, we’re willing to bet you are familiar with it and most likely an active user yourself. With over 1 billion active users monthly (130 million of those in the United States alone), Instagram has a worldwide reach. As a business owner, there is a high probability that your target market is already on Instagram.

So, how do you get your audience to stop the scroll on your content? The answer is simple in theory. You must stand out in the overload of visual stimulation. The execution is a little trickier. Today we’re going to focus on making your still photography stand out.

Photography Tips 101

We get it. You’re running a business. You’re likely pulled in a million different directions as it is. Who has time to become an expert in photography? And, not to mention, professional photography gear is expensive. Thankfully, these days, smartphone technology has come a long way. With a little practice, you have everything you need to create visually stunning images right in the palm of your hand. Let’s take a look at a handful of best photography practices and how to accomplish them using your iPhone.

Lighting for Photography

Depending on your brand’s aesthetic, it’s imperative to choose the proper lighting source. We can guarantee that source is almost never your iPhone’s built-in flash. There are a few reasons we hold steadfast to this belief. First, your iPhone’s flash is simply not strong enough to evenly light a scene. Second, the flash tends to cast harsh and distracting shadows. While shadows can be an artistic choice, you have almost no control over the built in flash of your iPhone. And, finally, the light from your iPhone’s flash is bounced back to you off of any reflective surface. Think: mirrors, windows, countertops, etc.

If you do not already own (and know how to use) professional lighting equipment, you can experiment with natural light sources. Did you know that shooting in a garage with the door wide open is touted as one of the easiest, most even natural light sources to work with? So long as the sun is not shining directly into the garage, you have a beautifully diffused light source free of charge! This principle can be carried over to other physical areas of your home or business. How about placing your subject in front of an open door where just the right amount of light shines in? Or, perhaps you have space to stage your scene in front of a large window. In any of these cases, the subject faces the light source, and you place yourself between them to shoot. Just watch out for any shadows you may be casting on the subject.

Photography Exposure

Great lighting leads directly into the topic of proper exposure. Exposure is everything! When photographing a subject, an image that is either over exposed or under exposed causes a loss of detail in the highlights or shadows respectively. In the case of product photography, it’s of the utmost importance to depict your goods as accurately as possible to avoid disgruntled customers and decrease returns.

So, how can you accomplish that with your smartphone? Fortunately, the iPhone has an exposure tool built into the camera. Typically, a camera reads the entire scene and automatically exposes the image based on that reading. Are you shooting outside on a sunny day? In that case, your iPhone may naturally want to underexpose the subject to keep the majority of the scene properly exposed. To remedy this, you simply tap and hold your finger down directly over your subject. Once you see the yellow box over your subject and the words AE/AF LOCK pop up, you are ready to manually adjust your exposure. Next to the yellow box, you should see what looks like a sun. Simply slide your finger up to brighten the subject or down to darken it. Voila!

Composition of Photos

There are tons of possibilities when it comes to composing a photograph. Composition, simply put, is the way elements are arranged in a photograph. A central principle in photography is called the rule of thirds. Perhaps you have heard the term before, but maybe you are unsure how to utilize it. Essentially, to use the rule of thirds, you would visualize your image cut into thirds both vertically and horizontally (much like a tic-tac-toe board), and you would place your subject where those lines intersect. The iPhone makes it simple to compose photographs following the rule of thirds. To enable a visual grid when you are taking pictures, simply go to Settings > Camera > Grid. Now, when you access your iPhone camera to take photos, you have the added assistance of knowing exactly where to place your subject. (This works on any of the built in aspect ratios – 1:1, 4:3, and 16:9.)

While the rule of thirds is foundational to good photography, it’s most definitely not the only way to shoot a beautiful, compelling image. Subjects placed directly in the center of the frame can make a big impact if done properly! In this case, simpler is better. Place your subject against a background that allows it to take center stage (literally and figuratively). Avoid busy, overdone backgrounds, and utilize negative space to avoid distraction.

Finally, when shooting multiple subjects in the same frame, employ the rule of odds. The rule of odds is defined by the belief that an odd number of subjects is more visually and compositionally appealing than an even number of subjects. Perhaps your company sells dinnerware, and you want to showcase a table setting on your Instagram account. According to the rule of odds, it would be more visually engaging to have three place settings as opposed to four.

Photo Backgrounds

Backgrounds play a vital role in the impact a photograph makes. Even with the best of intentions, background details are often overlooked. An activewear company may have sourced a fitting outdoor location to showcase their products in a lifestyle setting. However, the details in the background must not go unnoticed. Is there a tree branch extending out of the model’s head? Is there a car in the distance catching and reflecting light that draws the eye away from the subject? Is your own shadow reflected into the frame? Best practices are to scan the scene surrounding your subject to determine if there is anything that would compete with your subject. Adjust the position of yourself or the subject to remove distractions and keep the focus where it belongs.

Bonus iPhone Photography Tip: Portrait Mode

Professional photographs are often recognized and set apart from amateur photographs based on background blur. Background blur is the result of a number of variables such as aperture, lens length, and the distance between the photographer and the subject… all contributing to the shallow depth of field. This is getting a little technical, we know!

All of that to say, essentially, it is a bit more difficult to create a shallow depth of field or background blur using an iPhone. However, using Portrait Mode on your iPhone simulates background blur using edge detection. Unfortunately, Portrait Mode is not usable in every situation. To be able to use Portrait Mode, you have to be the perfect distance from your subject, and this is not always feasible. Additionally, we suggest paying extra attention to the output to make sure the result looks natural.

The good news is that you can still utilize your manual exposure technique and your rule of thirds grid in Portrait Mode. Using Portrait Mode can elevate your images, but an extra level of attention to detail must be maintained.

Post Processing Photographs

While it’s preferable to get as much right straight out of the camera, sometimes you may need to do a little adjusting after the image is already snapped. In this case, there are an abundance of free apps to handle your post processing. One of our favorites is Snapseed. This free app is extremely robust and allows you to adjust the brightness, contrast, saturation, ambiance, highlights, shadows, and warmth of your images after you’ve taken them.

And, that’s only a small scratch of the surface. Is your composition throwing you off, and you wish you’d set up the frame differently? Perhaps your whites have a yellow tint from your natural light source. Snapseed offers a crop tool with both preset sizes and custom sizes, as well as a rotation tool if your horizon is slightly crooked. Use the white balance tool to pull those color casts out of your image. If you find that your images don’t quite meet your standards even after following our iPhone photography tips and tricks, we suggest you give Snapseed a try.

Before and After Our Photography Tips

iPhone photograph

This is the area I was working in. Both images were shot with my iPhone XS.

iPhone photograph before and after

In this before picture, I literally just placed the product on the table and snapped a photo. This is the quintessential “point and shoot.” Here is a sampling of the things wrong with this image:

Lighting – the only lighting I’m using here is natural light, however, there is not enough of it.
Exposure – because there is not enough light, the image is underexposed.
Composition – The product is placed in the center of the frame, which is not always a bad thing. However, in this instance, it does not make for a very dynamic photo.
Background – The background in this image is particularly distracting. The framed print is reflecting the light coming through a window, as well as simply being too busy of a print to let the product shine. Additionally, the corner of the table draws the eye away from the focus.
iPhone photograph before and after

In the after picture, I implemented the following tips:

Lighting – I opened the double doors to the right of my scene to let in the beautiful, diffused, natural light.
Exposure – I used the iPhone’s built in exposure tool to brighten the overall exposure of the image prior to taking the photo.
Composition – I utilized the rule of thirds by placing the main focus of the image on the left line of the “tic-tac-toe” board. Additionally, I brought in two other, smaller products as accents that still allow the main product to take center stage. This is an example of the rule of odds.
Background – I removed the framed print from the image all together, and I repositioned the products in the center of the table so that the edge of the table would no longer draw the eye away from the product. Additionally, I pulled the table away from the wall in an effort to create a smoother, neutral background. (You’ll notice in the “before” picture that you can clearly see the texture of the wall. This is stylistic preference. I preferred less texture for this image.)
Post Processing – I used Snapseed to adjust the white balance, highlights, shadows, and contrast.

With a little bit of effort and attention to detail, you can use your phone, a free app, and the lighting you have available to you to create lovely, engaging images.

Practice your Photography Basics

Here at Root & Roam, we know that you’ve built your business based on your expertise in your field. We understand that becoming a professional photographer may not be in the cards for you or any of your team members. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a beautiful, engaging, and converting Instagram feed! With a little practice and by using the iPhone photography tips above, you can capture and share images that stop your audience in their tracks.

If you’re ready to elevate your Instagram feed (or any medium where photography is used), but you just don’t want to do it on your own, contact us! We have a team of professional photographers on staff with a wide variety of specialties and extensive experience in taking businesses to the next level visually.

The Importance Of Video In Your Marketing

The Importance Of Video In Your Marketing

If you’ve ever taken a class on just about any kind of writing, you’re sure to have heard the words ‘show, don’t tell.’ When it comes to writing, it’s important to let people come to their own conclusions about the actions your characters are taking – instead of telling your readers who your characters are, you show them. When someone is allowed to draw their own conclusions, they’ve invested in that opinion. When you tell someone something, they have to take your word for it. When you show them something, they’re taking their own.

When you think about it, that makes a lot of sense.

This isn’t a little pointer that’s only applicable to writing – it’s a truth we see in our everyday lives. Actions speak louder than words. If we are to be authentic, we’ll let our actions speak for us as much if not more than our words. Video allows us to chronicle how we act while giving us a platform to speak our truths, making for a multifaceted medium more powerful than words or photos alone.

Let’s go back to grade school, back to the days of show and tell. Do you remember picking your favorite toy or bringing your favorite person – because it was something that was important to you, and you wanted to let the world know about it? Video helps you let the world know about what’s important to you, what you’re about. One of the reasons video is so critical to a successful and succinct message is that it has the unique ability not only to tell your story but to show it.

We’re going to be doing a weekly video series on how to do this. We’ll dive into what it is that matters, as well as how to show it in the best light. Here’s a breakdown of what you can focus on to showcase yourself both professionally and authentically, while building credibility and cultivating empathy.



What was your singularity? In physics, a singularity is a point at which a function takes an irreversible path into infinity. Imagine you are a function – what was the point in your journey where all the previous points came together to say “this is what I’m going to do now, and there’s no looking back.” How have you built upon that moment? That’s what your cornerstone is, and it’s a big part of your purpose.



What principles do you look to embody, what beliefs help you manifest your vision into the world? How do you act these values in your day to day life and business dealings? These are the areas that help steer you, your business, your brand, your life. Find examples of how you utilize your core values and beliefs, and show them to people.



At some point, you’ve probably come across the phrase ‘nature abhors a vacuum.’ Replace nature with ‘public image,’ and the same is true when it comes to any public facing entity – whether it be a person or a business. This means it’s your responsibility to prevent a vacuum and to set the record before someone else gets to. We live in a digital world of instantaneous communication. This is a place where ideas or claims that start as 280 characters or less can alter the course of history, not to mention your business or brand’s story. It’s important to provide people with media and information that shows who you are… because you know who you are best. What you establish will act like referential armor if and when someone sees you differently.