Did you know that #food, #instafood, and #foodporn are among the top 100 hashtags on Instagram? Yes, they are and they are attached to more than 438 million posts on the social media site! This isn’t surprising since food photos are easy to create, easy to upload – look, Ma, no lengthy descriptions needed – and relevant to everybody.
But taking Instagram-worthy photos can be challenging for beginners for many reasons, not least of which the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of photos being uploaded every day! How can your food photos stand out and earn likes? How can your dishes attract the attention of the movers and shakers, the influencers?
Well, we have to say early on that it takes time as well as passion, patience and perseverance to become a food influencer in your own right on Instagram. But it’s always best to take the first steps in making your photos Instagram-worthy.
Assert Your Personal Style
Keep in mind that there are literally hundreds of thousands of people who specializes in food photos on Instagram and many of them are actually influencers. You must then develop a distinctive style in your food-related photos so that your account can stand out from the rest of the competition, so to speak.
You won’t develop your style overnight, of course, so you have to keep shooting. You may also want to check out the styles of other Instagram accounts to get ideas on this matter. You should also sit down, reflect on the types of images you love, and browse through your own collection.
You may even find that you like the styles of others and take your inspiration from. You may, for example, choose high-contrast, super-saturated close-ups or bold, bright and colourful photos with you in them.
Focus on the Food
If you’re planning to be a food influencer, however, you should think twice about putting yourself in one too many photos – balance is the key here. You should focus on the food more times than you focus on your OOTDs, for instance, since you want the food to be the star of the show.
This is true whether you’re showcasing the exquisite beauty of a French Laundry dish or the colorful variety of your homemade dish. Your food photos should be drool-inducing, even encourage people to try it out at your favorite restaurant or try the recipe at home. You can do so by putting the food front and center, not the sideshow of your photos.
Fill the Frame
Since you’re focusing on the food, you should fill the frame. Your photo should be brimming with food, so to speak, so that the readers’ eyes are drawn toward it first, not toward the accessories and background.
A few tips on filling the frame:
- Get as close to the subject as possible; crouch or bend down, if possible, for the close-ups.
- Keep your colors to a limited number, say, just two or three so that the frame doesn’t look crowded.
- Look at your photos in thumbnail – if your eyes are attracted to it, then you’re doing the right thing.
- Keep your background simple, such as a white plate or a plate in solid color or a placemat with minimal style.
Compose Your Photos
Yes, Instagram supports horizontal and vertical layouts of photos but it must also be pointed out that it’s still a square medium. You must then compose your photos so that the medium can be optimized. You can, among others, use the rule of thirds in composition, take a spoonful out of the dish, or experiment with the placement of utensils.
You will only need a minute or two in photo composition but it’s worth the effort. You can take photos of each composition and then choose the best one that will reflect your style and highlight the food’s beauty.
Use the Light
Of course, natural light is usually the best since it allows nuances in light and dark that artificial light cannot give to photos. You may place your newly-baked apple pie on the windowsill and photograph it there, perhaps add gauzy curtains to act as a natural filter.
But if natural light isn’t available, you can use artificial lights like the flash feature on your phone. The great thing about artificial light, too, is that you have greater control over it, especially when it’s used alongside filters and the like.
Yet another thing that you can control is the angle from which the photo will be taken. You can shoot it from a 30-degree or 45-degree angle from the table or counter. You may also move the bowl or plate until you have the best shot.
Lastly, don’t just shoot photos from your smartphone. While smartphones have photo-related features, these are limited in comparison with dedicated digital cameras since the latter offer better features.