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How to Instagram Food

You don't need a fancy camera to capture the perfect shot for Instagram. Amaetuer and professional food photographers are alike in their only limitation: creativity. There are so many factors to consider when composing your shot, such as color, texture, lighting, timing, composition and the aesthetic of your background. But more than the technical considerations, the most important thing to use is your imagination. How creative can you get? The more bold you get with your shot, the more your photography will reflect being pushed out of your comfort zone.

Whether you're standing over the table in the middle of a restaurant, or finding natural lighting in your kitchen to compliment your perfectly cooked breakfast, our 10 steps on how to Instagram food will help you on your way to growing an Instagram following.

Smartphone Capturing Food

Before you can get photographing, first you have to consider what tools you're working with. You don't need a fancy DSLR or film camera to capture a great shot. Even with your smartphone, you can capture a stunning photo with some creativity and ingenuity.

Don't have a tripod? Make one yourself! A small stack of books will get your camera at the right height for a great side-angle, or if you want to get extra-ambitious, grab some PVC piping and duct tape to mount your smartphone on a DIY overhead tripod for the perfect hands-free flatlay!

Ice Cream in Natural Light

The best food photos are well lit with natural light. Pull a table up next to the sunniest window you can find and turn off any overhead lights. Artificial lighting casts a strange color over the photo that no amount of editing will fix. When in doubt, take the photo in underexposed lighting, because you can always boost the exposure with editing! You don't want an odd blue or orange tint can quickly ruin a great photo.

Ice Cream at the Beach

Think about where you're taking your photo. Are you in a restaurant or in your home? Do you have access to a complementary background? Are there items you could add to the photo that could add depth and character? These small touches will help bring the photo to life and evoke a real tone. Consider the ideal vibe of your photo and build an environment around your focal point that compliments it.

Salad on Instagram

Color is the main ingredient of a great food photo. On Instagram, food with lots of bright, natural color are the most eye-catching and the most aesthetically pleasing. Think about the colors of the food you're photographing. Could it use a little accent color or garnish? Playing with color can sometimes feel like a trial and error approach, but it is always worth it for the perfect shot.

Pancake Illustration with Toppings

Texture plays a large role in convincing your audience to crave the food you share. If you're photographing food that is relatively smooth in texture, think about toppings or accents you could add to really give the image some dimension. Photographing pancakes? Toss some toasted coconut or raspberries on top. Get creative with it!

Illustration of Hot Coffee

The moment you finish preparing your food to photograph, a ticking timer begins while your food starts losing its natural texture and finish. All foods interact differently within their environment, so consider what you're photographing and calculate how quickly you'll need to get the shot. Get everything set up and ready to shoot, so as soon as your food is ready for the spotlight, you can quickly snap your image.

Don't be afraid to enhance your food either. Is your beer losing it's frothiness? Stir it with a fork. These small tweaks can make or break an Instagram photo.

Instagram an Acai Bowl

Have you ever seen people standing up on their chairs in restaurants or cafes just to capture the perfect food shot for the 'gram? Don't be afraid to be bold with your photography pursuits! Whether that means getting some good aerial distance, or up-close-and-personal, you'll never know what looks best until you mix it up and play around with your composition. Your attempt at a new angle could be the best shot of the day!

Editing an Instagram Photo

The worst thing you could do with a great food photo is ruin it with a terrible edit. And we've all seen it, the over-saturated, too-warm, too-cool, tastelessly bordered photo that does absolutely no justice for the overall image. The best thing you can do is invest in an editing app that allows you to have detailed control of the photograph. VSCO and Adobe Lightroom are great tools because they have such a diverse range of filter options, you can really fine-tune the color, saturation, exposure, sharpness, contrast, temperature, etc. Whether you’re an ameteur or advanced foodie, a great editing app is so worth the purchase.

Phone with Emojis

Instagram is a community based platform that gives each photo an opportunity to really tell a story. Using the tone of the image, the location, and the caption, even food photography is a chance to *say* something. So, what will you say? Think about the audience you’re speaking to, who you want to engage with, and what you want your audience to feel when they see your image.

Illustrated Phones on Instagram

Owner of the popular meal-prepping account @workweeklunch, Talia, is an expert meal-prepper who learned how to build a booming business out of her food photography. She says that one of her main strategies is something so simple: listening to her audience. She tracks her posts that perform best and why, she asks her audience questions to help inform her content, and she actively engages and responds to her followers. Something as simple as listening can turn your passion for food photography into your dream job.

Whether you’re an amateur or professional food photographer, creativity is the only limit for you to improve your Instagram-worthy photography skills. Don’t be afraid to be bold, to try something new, and to use the Instagram community to share and support your work.

Our Favorite Instagram Photos

Explore some of our favorite food-related Instagram photos using our tips for capturing the perfect shot! All you need is an Instagram account, your smartphone and a delicious plate of food to get started. Once you master a shot follow and tag @KitchenCabinetKings using the hashtag #HowtoInstagramFood to find inspiration from other Instagram users getting started on growing their following.

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