Here’s a quick tip for when you’re photographing a bowl of chili, beans, or any type of real chunky stew: you really want to add some bulk to the bowl so your food doesn’t sit too flat. I’ve written about this before with pasta (link here) but you don’t always need to use a piece of styrofoam to add that bulk. That stuff can get expensive and I only use it when necessary.
So, for this shot I just took a separate smaller bowl and turned it upside-down. This allowed the chili to pile up on top of the small bowl and give it a plump, appealing look in the final image. I also did some of the same shot with a smaller bowl, so I just took a paper cup and cut it down about half-way, then I turned it upside down to get the same effect.