A picnic is not only the perfect way to enjoy warm summer days with friends, it’s also great opportunity to show off your foodie prowess. And these days, it’s as much about what the spread looks like as how it tastes. That’s why we invited travel, food, and lifestyle photographer Charissa Fay to join us in Central Park and help us create the ultimate spread. And lucky for us, Freds has has a tasty Room Service to-go menu, which took the pressure off the actual food prep. For our picnic, we selected some of our favorite dishes, including the Chopped Chicken Salad, Lobster Club, Penne Primavera, plus plenty of tasty fruits and cheeses.

Below, we share Charissa’s iPhone snaps from our indulgent afternoon in the grass, plus some of her expert tips on how to style and capture the perfect #picnic.

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JARS Plume Dessert/Salad Plate With FREDS Lobster Roll/ KIM SEYBERT Crackle Cereal Bowl With FREDS Seasonal Fruit/ BARNEYS NEW YORK Braided T-Strap Sandals / TREESTUMP WOODCRAFT Cheeseboard & Spreader With FREDS Cheese Platter

“The golden light of late afternoon or the even the diffused light on an overcast day are the most flattering for photographing food. Try to avoid harsh direct sunlight or dappled light, which cast strong, uneven shadows.”

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TINA FREY DESIGNS Trio of Bowls on Dish With FREDS Seasonal Fruit/ KAREN WALKER Helter Skelter / MAKAUA Woven Round Basket / SIMILAR: KPM Arkadia Apollo Oval Platter With FREDS Asparagus / SIMILAR: MATCH Convivio Dinner Plate With FREDS Pasta Primavera

“The food should be the star of the picnic, but use plates in various shapes and sizes, pretty cloth napkins, beautiful utensils, and fun cups to create more of a visual feast. Try incorporating some wicker and wood (baskets and cutting boards work) to add a classic rustic touch.”

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TREESTUMP WOODCRAFT Cheeseboard & Spreader With FREDS Cheese Platter/ RANDOM HOUSE My Paris Dream / STELLA MCCARTNEY Oversize Square Sunglasses / BARNEYS NEW YORK Backgammon Medium Set / BERNARDAUD Bulle Salad Plate With FREDS Chopped Chicken Salad

“Play with composition by varying placement of various colors, shapes, sizes, and textures. Also, don’t be afraid to use negative space in your shot. Try different angles using the picnic locale you’re in and the position of the sun. One no-fail shot is the birds-eye view that gives you the feel of the scene. The photo should tell a story of the afternoon and make the viewer want to be there.”

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TREESTUMP WOODCRAFT Cheeseboard & Spreader / SIMILAR: GINGER BROWN Parchment Tray / MATCH Convivio Dinner Plate With FREDS Cheese Platter

“Choose sturdy foods that will hold up well, like salads and sandwiches, and try to avoid super-soft foods, soups, or gooey desserts. This will make eating, documenting, and cleaning easier!”

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BARNEYS NEW YORK Backgammon Medium Set / TINA FREY DESIGNS Trio of Bowls on Dish With FREDS Seasonal Fruit / FREDS Chocolate Covered Pretzels

“Bring some fun summer accessories to create the mood and feel of your picnic, and to add fun to your photos. I love anything striped or gingham, Mason jars, paper straws, and card or board games.”

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BARNEYS NEW YORK Braided T-Strap Sandals / RANDOM HOUSE My Paris Dream / SIMILAR: KPM Arkadia Apollo Oval Platter With Seasonal Fruit

“Don’t go too overboard with color. I prefer to keep blankets and extras fairly neutral to let the food pop. Berries and watermelon are great color touches and are perfect for nibbling!”

For a complete Room Service menu, contact Freds Madison Avenue, 212.833.2200; Freds Beverly Hills, 310.777.5877; or Freds Chicago, 312.596.1111.

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