James Briscione, director of culinary development at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City offers some of his tricks here, but we wanted to weigh in with some food styling tips as well. As James mentions, it’s important to present a variety of flavors and textures on your plate—and most dishes benefit from a shot of color, too. You don't have to forgo shooting brown foods altogether, but you’d be surprised what a shower of fresh herbs and a sprinkle of salt and pepper can do to wake up the appearance of a dish.
Other things to keep your eyes on: perfection and parallel lines. Despite what you might think, these are the enemies of a beautiful and natural looking plate. Super precise positioning and pristine circles and slices can look fake, so don’t fuss to much trying to get your diced vegetables just right. Instead, let items guide you: Rather than make one-inch cubes, follow the food's natural curves.
When it comes to getting dinner from platter to plate, big spoons with wide, shallow bowls are your best bet. They’re not only perfect for spooning over sauces or gravy, but they're also great for fluffy dollops of whipped or sour cream. Otherwise, let items fall naturally and try not to fuss with them too much. Remember, this is an art project that's ultimately meant for eating.