Food Photography Tips for Instagram

December 12, 2018

Instagram has quickly taken over as THE social media platform to be on, and it is easy to understand why. Tapping into the millennial’s penchant for photos and live updates, Instagram has grown from a mere photo sharing app to a colossal social giant. 

For the field of photography, this is a second lease of life where photographers can showcase their work and build their skills/reputation in a way that was unimaginable until recently. But the best thing about Instagram is that there’s no specific genre that you need to subscribe to. You can post photos/blogs on anything you’re passionate about and like minded people who are interested would congregate around the page. 

This is how food photography had burgeoned overnight in a big way. Everybody relishes food, and turns out they all love looking at delicious gourmet as well. To that end we’re lucky enough to have Paul the in-house photography expert from Canvas Factory here to give us some tips on food photography for Instagram.

1. Natural is the way to go

Very few people actually take into consideration that lighting plays as big a role in food photographs as it does on portraits. Indeed, for a beautiful image, you need the right lightning. So try to avoid indoor lighting when possible, as they tend to make your food look flat or give it an unappealing tone. 

Try and use natural lightning as much as possible. This means restaurants (though unavoidable for a food blogger) aren’t always the best venue for photos, but cafes can often work well. 

2. Apps are the perfect photo hacks

Filters have become ubiquitous with Instagram, and there’s a very good reason for it. While the photos on your iPhone won’t have great sharpness or white balance as one taken by a DSLR, you can still use various filters to make them look amazing. Just be careful with choosing the right filters because you don’t want your food to look pink or green. Use multiple apps like Snapseed to edit the brightness, temperature, horizon of the photo and then add in filters on top of it. Make sure you don’t overdo it because you want your blog to look authentic and not tacky.

3. Reflectors can be handy

While most people can’t take DSLR photos without a reflector, they seem quite content without one when it comes to food photography on their iPhone, which is ludicrous. Reflectors can be as cheap as a foam board, yet it’ll allow you to bounce off the light into the shadows of your frame, and sometimes even diffuse the light. These days they can be acquired at a very cheap price also, so don’t let that hold you back.

4. Everybody loves a story

Food photography isn’t just taking pictures of your afternoon lunch, or sumptuous but meaningless meal. Every photograph needs a story to captivate the audience, so try and construct a story behind it. Whether it’s the chaos of a birthday party, exotic food you’re tasting in a foreign locale or the everyday sweetness of your SO making you breakfast, try and tell a tale that resonates with your fans. 

5. Take your time

Even thought it’s just a picture of the food you’re going to eat, and you’re sort of worried of it becoming cold, it’s highly recommended to take your time with the shots. Set them up, and compose each shot; use ideas like rule of thirds or leading lines to serve as inspiration.

6. Shadows aren’t all bad

While natural lightning is amazing, don’t be wary of the shadows either. Shadows can be a significant asset, especially if you use the right app to edit the photos. In fact, with split lightning, your phone could actually meter off the light in the photo, making much easier to bring out the contrast in the pictures. 


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