Last updated: 23.04.19

How to Take Better Photos of Your Food for Instagram

Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has grown from strength to strength, with more than 1 billion monthly active users logging in to share photos of our pets, partners, holidays, and of course, food. For many of us, taking photos of our food before sitting down to eat has become compulsory. Better yet, a study by Maru/Matchbox in 2017 found that 69% of millennials take photos of food before eating!

As part of our using social media to promote your food business series, we’re looking at how you can improve your food pics with our top five on taking better photos of your food for Instagram and how you can grow your following organically.

1. Lighting

Whether you’re using your phone or a professional DSLR camera, light is the most important element to successfully taking any photograph. But using the right light can be the key to taking those awe-inspiring food photos on Instagram.

View on Instagram (@sarkababicka)

Natural daylight really is the best lighting for any food photography. Move your plate closer to a window and make the most of your iPhone’s automatic exposure settings by tapping the darkest area of the image to increase the exposure and brighten the whole image.

2. Composition (and angles!)

Shooting from above is often the best option when taking photos of food, allowing you to include everything on your plate and to give you the control of arranging what you’re photographing. It’s much easier to create a balanced composition from above and avoid any distracting backgrounds.

View on Instagram (@whatiateforbreakfast)

Sometimes, a slightly different viewpoint or composition can make your photo stand out. Showing the layers in a cake or a dish with a lot of ingredients can work well with a close-up side shot. Experiment with different angles and find a style which works for you!

3. Backgrounds

Although the background shouldn’t outshine the food, decorating the scene can add personality. Tightly cropped frames can work, but showing ingredients, cutlery or cooking utensils can bring your photos to life.

View on Instagram (@clairegunnart)

Otherwise, keep it simple. Consider what background might give the best contrast for the food, whether it’s marble, slate, or a wooden cutting board.

4. Focus

Nobody likes blurry photos. Consider buying a tripod to steady your camera and focus on a point near the center of the dish to get a sharp shot. The use of depth of field and selective focus can also work!

View on Instagram (@pasta)

If you’re shooting on your phone, finding focus is as simple as tapping on the area you want to focus on. However, you might struggle to focus if you’re too close – if so, consider purchasing a macros lens or a clip-on macro lens for your iPhone.

5. Editing

Instagram has plenty of options when it comes to editing. There are over 40 native Instagram filters available, yet according to Iconosquare, filters are used just 10.5% of the time. Many professional photographers edit and add ‘filters’ long before uploading their image to social media. Editing can make a huge difference to your photos and popular editing apps such as VSCO, Snapseed and Foodie are good alternatives to an Instagram filter and will allow you to create a look which stands out from the rest.

View on Instagram (@minimalistbaker)

Some simple editing techniques to improve your food images include sharpening the image, fixing the white balance to make your photo look ‘warmer’, boosting the brightness and contrast, and slightly increasing the saturation. Again, experiment to find a style which suits you but remember not to go overboard – the food should look edible, and not radioactive!

Most of all, have fun with your food photography and take lots of shots. Practice makes perfect and as you take more photos, you’ll become more comfortable with your camera and its benefits and limitations. Food photography is an art, not an exact science – don’t be afraid to push the boundaries, break the rules sometimes and create imagery to stand out from the crowd.

To find out more about how Virtual College can support your food business’s growth, contact us to speak to one of our Learning Technology Consultants or find out more about our training packages to boost your team’s training and development here.