I know, I know. Some of you may cringe at the idea of taking photos of your food in a restaurant or a bar and posting it on Instagram for likes and comments. Just enjoy it instead!
Well, like it or not food is one of the most popular types of content on Instagram and for a lot of people part of the enjoyment is taking a photo and sharing it with others. So you take out your phone and snap your meal, stick on a filter and share it.
However, when you see what some of the big foodie accounts are doing you see that their Instagram photos are a rainbow of colour and yours are fuzzy and grainy. You look at the pros and you are hungry but when you look at your own you think – “How did they do that?”
Well the pros do things a bit differently than you do so lets have a look at how you can improve your food snaps and get your Insta account hopping.
Use Natural Light
Light is the most important factors in getting a great shot. Indoor lighting at home can be harsh and create a flat colour cast. Look for the best source of natural light at home. Make sure that natural light enters the shot but not too much natural light as this can blow out the image. Follow the light so that there is not a shadow cast over disrupting the shot.
Many foodies on Instagram actually put the plate down on the floor to get the right shot with lighting (but don’t do this in a restaurant)
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Focus On The Food
It sounds basic and kind of dumb when we say this but the fact of the matter is that there are more fuzzy photos of food on Instagram than there should be. Photos of food that lack the very basic of using the focus on your camera. Make sure the phone is steady when you take the shot and tap the screen on a point you want to focus on before you press the shutter button.
You can also use the tilt shift editing tool on Instagram to add more of a focus to a specific area of the shot.
Compose The Shot
Not every photo of food you take on Instagram needs to look pitch perfect. Photographers will be familiar with the rule of thirds as it is one of the most well known rules of composition for creating balanced and interesting shots. You can read more about the rule of thirds here.
Think of different ways you can compose your photos and different styles you can use so wait for the ice cream to start dripping or take a scoop out of the cottage pie and leave the full fork on the plate. Arrange items and utensils in different formats around the plate.
You don’t have to go overboard to the point where your food starts getting cold but just think about playing around with compositions to create different effects.
Don’t Be Afraid Of Shadows
I mentioned above to move around the light so that shadows are not cast all over your food but by the same token you don’t need to fear shadows as well. What you don’t want is to see a shadow of your frame over the plate in every single image but in certain circumstances you may be able to use the shadow and lighting to your advantage.
If you are shooting in the shadows what you will need is a light part of the photo. If the entire shot is a shadow the composition will look terrible so you need to make sure you have a bright spot and a dark spot to create the best level of contrast. Use different apps to edit your image and get the balance of light and dark correct.
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Fill The Frame
Get close to the food and fill the frame with detail. Getting close allows you to pick up on details in the food you may not pay attention to with the naked eye.
Use Different Angles
Not everything has to be overhead looking down on the plate. While it is popular to stand over your food to get that shot, think about ducking down to meet the plate at an angle. This gives a different perspective and results in a completely different style.
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Keep The Background Clean
Dirty utensils, half empty boxes of flour or the chaotic mess of the aftermath in the kitchen is not something you want to capture in the background of your shot when you are framing it. Even if you focus on the food a messy background will catch peoples eye and that is a big no-no.
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Use Different Apps For Editing
Instagram gives you access to many basic editing tools and filters but there are also a massive range of filters you can get access to from different apps such as Snapseed and Afterlight. Using multiple editing apps for the one image can help you get the right look you want.
Snapseed can help you with the composition and can help you with brightness, contrast and temperature. Afterlight will give you access to a big range of filters that you don’t find in Instagram. Once you are done simply save it to your camera roll on your phone, open Instagram and upload it from there.
Practice makes perfect, take a few photos of the same dish and play around with composition, filters and editing tools. You will get more comfortable with editing as you learn the features of different apps the more you use them. If you are a food blogger or a restaurant reviewer or if you just want to share some of your awesome home cooking then Instagram is a platform you just cannot ignore.