Admit it: Every time you scroll through Instagram, you can’t help but wonder, how do other people make their food look so amazing? You’ve tried and tried, plating food differently and playing with the app’s filters, but no luck: your meals still look boring. What’s the secret? What does everyone else know that you don’t?
Don’t worry: We’re here to let you in on all the tricks. You’re just six easy steps away from posting your own gorgeous, appealing food photos on Instagram!
Lighting is everything in an Instagram image. What kind of mood do you want people to feel when they see your photo? For a breakfast shot, make the scene bright so it feels like morning. Natural light is always best, so take the picture by a window if you can. If your image looks a bit dark, turn up the brightness in the Instagram app. Tip: Take advantage of golden hours, the times just before sunrise and sunset, when natural light is warm; it’s the perfect time for taking photos outdoors. (Picnic, anyone?)
People love to see “progress shots” of a meal, especially dishes that are made at
home by real people — not like those meals made by robots. Prepping a salad topped with avocado? Take three shots: one with your ingredients, one showing your prep work, and one revealing the perfectly plated salad. Tip: Presentation is everything — place everything in separate bowls and on separate plates — and don’t overwhelm the shot with packaging.
The best way to take photos of food with a phone is to shoot from overhead. Smartphones don’t have the best depth-of-field, so the bird’s-eye view ensures the whole dish will be in focus. This is why you see food bloggers teetering on chairs in restaurants, holding their phones over their plates. (Annoying? YES. Gorgeous photos? DEF.) When taking an overhead shot, the entire plate or bowl of food is visible, so it’s important to fill the space. Tip: Use smaller plates so the meal looks bigger.
Instagram’s editing tools are the foodie photographer’s secret sauce. Playing with brightness and contrast features should be your first attempt to make an average image graduate to greatness, but filters are where it’s really at. Choose a filter that accentuates the color of the photo, making it pop. Tip: The Clarendon filter, set to 30 percent – 50 percent, does this well.
Other Instagram users might love your nice food photos, but they’ll stick around for more shots because of you. The best advice anyone ever gave you — Be yourself!
— is the best advice for Instagram, too. Stand out as someone who’s interesting to follow. People love to see the good, the bad, and the hilarious, so don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through in your food photo captions.
Hashtags are necessary if you want new people to find your content. They allow other Instagram users to find photos of things they love. In the food world, you have to think big and small. The tag #vegan has over 26 million posts, so yours could get lost in the shuffle easily. But using the tag #veganlove will put you in a pile of fewer than 300,000 posts, and your photo is much more likely to be seen.
This works for any kind of niche you are targeting. You can start by typing in the first part of your niche (e.g., vegan, paleo, clean eating, etc.) or the type of food you’re shooting — avocados! — in the Instagram search bar, and a list of all tags associated with it will appear. You can use 30 hashtags per post so use them wisely and add them in the comment section below your initial caption. Tip: Less is more. You may be able to use 30 hashtags, but don’t, because that’s annoying.
Now go get shooting! Practice makes perfect in food photography, so head over to Instagram and get started. Be sure to tag @avocadosfrommexico to show the world how you’re using avocados!