You know those photos that make your mouth water? The ones that make you NEED that chia pudding NOW!? That is food styling at it’s finest and it’s so important for food blogging and instagram to post beautiful, colorful, well composed photos of your dishes. I am going to share my top Instagram Food Photography Tips that will transform your instagram and food blog. If you are interested in monetizing your food blog, your food photography is the number one most important aspect to focus on, and will increase your visitors and followers.
The top Instagram Food Photography Tips below will help you create pictures to drool over. In a sea of food blogs, you want to stand out. Be creative and be unique…be yourself. What foods do you crave? Photograph that food and then analyze your photo. You may be surprised to see that the picture doesn’t look as good as the one in your mind. It’s up to you to create the fantasy. The photo of a perfect veggie burger should look big, juicy, colorful, stacked with veggies, dripping with sauce, and way too thick for any regular mouth to bite in to…it should make you crave that veggie burger. The kind of craving that gets you driving miles. You all know what I’m talking about! 🙂
Instagram Food Photography Tips
A simple peach is beautiful, but not so beautiful if it has a bruise. It’s so important when you plate the final dish, that the food has pops of color and no visible flaws. The camera picks up on every little detail, so it’s important after you take the photo to analyze it and make sure everything is in place. And add fresh herbs or edible flowers to garnish your dish. It makes a HUGE difference in the final product.
Create delicious recipes. Your food photos don’t need to be over-the-top. But they do need to be inspiring. Don’t post photos of your bland cereal. Do post photos of your healthy, overnight oats that are so simple, yet still unique. Think about the reason you are posting the photo in the first place. If you are posting to entice and inspire people, get creative but keep it simple.
Bright and textured
Bold colors are aesthetically pleasing, however don’t discount beautifully muted neutrals. If the food looks a little monochromatic, add a pop of color with garnish. If you’re plating lentils next to rice, add in some nice fresh brocolli for a pop of green against the neutral colors. No matter the color scheme, remember to add a variety of textures which can make a photo come to life. Like the creaminess of an avocado against the graininess of a corn tortilla. Your placemat, plate or dish, and napkins should all have beautiful variations of texture to make the main focus, the food be the shining star.
Once you have your dish plated, lighting just right, remember to add in a flower arrangement or a succulents. Maybe add a spoon into the dish or a bite taken out. Add some sprigs of lavender or fresh rosemary to the plate. Or add a wood board as a back drop. Keep unique dishes on hand. I love beautiful wooden accessories and marble pieces. I also love a pop of copper or muted gray accessories. Always look at the photo as a whole and ask yourself if it paints a picture. The photo should speak to you, and tell you a story. Props really help with this.
You don’t need a fantastic camera, as the iPhone and smart phone cameras work great for food photography. But you must make sure the food is in focus. It is the subject after all! I use my iPhone 7 and it works beautifully, but I always keep my main subject in focus. Flat photos seem to be trending amongst Instagram photos, meaning the background is also in focus. I like the look of both, depending on the picture. Play around with it. Focusing in on the most important part of the photograph is a must though. This is just one of the Instagram Food Photography Tips that will make a big positive impact on your site.
Photograph the process
Don’t just take a photo of the final product. Take pictures from start to finish. Tell a story throughout your blog. Photograph the gorgeous basil, or one juicy lemon. Take a picture of the sizzling garlic. Capture the swirling of the blender. This will add a visual step by step tutorial the way videos do, to really help your audience make your recipes at home.
This is the art of plating. When you plate your food for the final photo, be sure to look at the final composition. Does it look symmetrical? Do the colors go together nicely? Should you add another tomato to the left side or the right side? All of these details matter. Food photography is like a painting. When you get it right, it’s a work of art! A masterpiece!
Using small plates, bowls and accessories looks better on camera. The camera picks up on every detail, magnifying the picture. So be sure to use your small dishes for a beautiful final photo. This is one of those Instagram Food Photography Tips you wouldn’t think about until you analyze the difference between large plating and small plating and see it for yourself.
Have you ever heard a celebrity say they make friends with the lighting guy? A beautiful photo is all in the lighting. Natural light is the absolute best for photography, especially for food photography. Keep it soft and beautiful. Make sure there aren’t any harsh shadows. Light photos pop as opposed to dim, dark photos. Highlight the subject with glistening light on the main dish. If you are shooting at night, use professional lights to help create a natural light without shadows. I use white lights that work beautifully and mimics daylight. Don’t use your flash!
Have a few different backdrops on hand such as white marble, rustic wood, gray slate and different colorful dishes. If your kitchen doesn’t come with gorgeous marble or granite, get some inexpensive backdrops. Each of these backdrops should be rich with texture, but should not be the main focus of the picture. A good backdrop will allow the eye to focus on the main dish. Your plates should be either simple or unique. There should be texture, dimension and lovely shapes added under your main focus, the food.
Another friend you want to make is with the editing guy 😉 We all want to show our best sides, and this goes for food too. Crop out any unnecessary extra details. You don’t want the eye to wander from the main dish. Take photos from all angles and when you compare photos, you will instantly see one that is ‘prettier’ than all the rest. I like to use post-editing apps, especially VSCO, Snapseed, and Afterlight. They are phenomenal to make your image more vibrant. Yellow tones are liked less than cool tones, so be sure to decrease the warmth if needed. Play with the saturation, decrease the contrast, add a little brightness, and voila…you have a professional looking photo.
Your instagram feed and blog should have a specific style. You should always look at your instagram feed as a whole before posting a new photo. You may see that a certain color scheme is needed next to the photos surrounding it, or maybe a specific angle of an image will look great next to the photo next to it, so be sure to analyze this before posting. When you look at the feed or your blog as a whole work of art, you realize each photo is an added detail of the full masterpiece. It’s like a puzzle. Finding the perfect piece that fits takes a lot of time, but the reward is great.
Perfect is boring
Make it a little messy. Don’t perfectly place each berry on the pancakes. Sprinkle a little cocoa over the dish. Sprinkle some sprigs of rosemary. Let the salsa drip from the taco. This is what makes the food look real. And real is edible. With that said, if you are shooting against a white backdrop, be sure there isn’t a random streak of food that detracts from the main subject. If you’re using a black backdrop and accidentally sprinkled a little flour on it, the white specks will really distract the eye. So be sure to clean up any messes and let your food shine!
Food photography is an art, a work in progress, and you can always get better with practice. Following my Instagram Food Photography Tips will certainly help your Instagram page pop and your food blog look dreamy. It is a lot of work, but it should be fun. Get creative, play with the plating, find your unique style and then start shooting.
I would love to hear some feedback after you have tried out some of these Instagram Food Photography Tips! What works best for you? And what are your favorite tips? If you are staring to join the video blogging bandwagon, check out my tips on creating Instagram and Food Blog Videos!
Mama on the Glow