Tips for the Insta Food Photographer

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


There’s a joke about social media sites like Instagram, that they exist primarily for people to show off pictures of their food and their kids. It’s funny because it’s true: There really are a lot of people who like to frequently photograph their offspring (myself included), and there really are a lot of Instagrammed food photos.

But of course, the side effect of this is that there are a lot of bad photos of food on Instagram—photos that are poorly lit, strangely composed, or simply not very appetizing. If you want to show off the culinary adventures you’re having, that’s great, and Instagram is a great place to do it. Don’t settle for bad food photos, though: Take some time to brush up on your Instagram skills to ensure that your culinary items look as appetizing as they taste!

Instagram is my favorite social media site and I've learned quite a few tricks and tips over the years. I'm constantly trying to improve my photos and thought I'd share a few important tips for you!

How to Ace Your Insta Food Photos

A few food photography basics:

-Remember that the setting is as important as the food. You want to put your food on a table or tablecloth that’s plain and unobtrusive—something that won’t distract from the food itself. And you want to plate it on dishware that offers a good, colorful contrast. White food on a white plate doesn’t look sharp or crisp, for instance. A red plate might look a lot better.

-Lighting is critical. You don’t want to take food photos with the flash on, because it will make the food look flat and washed out. Instead, you want to try to position your food near natural light—an open window, maybe—or at least some indirect light.

-Stillness is also critical. This probably goes without saying, but using a tripod is likely best—and if you don’t have one handy, just make sure to avoid any movement or blurs.

-You always want to take a lot of pictures—as many as you can, really. Move all around your food. Take various pictures from various angles. Give yourselves plenty of snapshots to sort through and choose from.

-Close-ups generally work best for food photography. If you really want your food to appear tantalizing, make sure it fills the frame.

-Don’t delay! Be quick to take pictures of your food. Quickly snapped food photos will look fresh and appealing, but cold, congealed meats and wilting salad greens just won’t have the effect you’re hoping for.

-Finally, remember that some foods just aren’t going to photograph well. Don’t waste your time photographing a lumpy brown casserole—which may taste great, but is never going to look appealing.

Follow these tips and maybe your food-centric Instagram feed will transcend the jokes, and become something truly whistle-whetting!

And connect with me on Instagram, @lindsaytolar, I'd love to hear from you!


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