How to Take an ‘Instaworthy’ Food Photo

You're gazing over the menu at a restaurant and imagining how the food is going to be presented to you...and trying to think of a clever caption for the Instagram post that is awaiting. Your food comes and looks perfect, so you try and restrain yourself from taking a bite until you can get a photo of it. In an attempt to minimize the time spent lingering over the plate in front of you, here are some quick tips for taking the perfect picture! 


Easily the most important component of the recipe for a high quality photo, the light on your plate will greatly affect the way others perceive it. If you're in a dark room, you won't be able to make out the details, but if the light is too bright, you'll be overpowering the real look of your meal. The best way to avoid this is to use natural light from a window or outside, and turn off the flash entirely.


What's more appealing? A box of doughnuts or a pyramid of doughnuts? I mean the doughnuts as is already make your photo great, but don't be afraid to play with the way things are set up on a plate. Move around your vegetables, stack your cooking, place one drink in front of the others for a focal point, and get creative to make your food look more interesting.


Whether it's a cute tablecloth, a fun menu, or colorful napkins, utilize your surroundings to add an extra pop to your photo with props and accessories. If you made cupcakes with sprinkles on top, add some sprinkles to the plate or have the container visible in the background. Not only does this give the photo an extra element, but it gives your viewers a hint about what you're eating. 


Bring your camera down to be level with your plate, and test how your photos look from various angles. Shoot from the front, side, straight above, or even zoomed in. It’s a lot of trial and error, but the more photos you take, the better you’ll be able to judge which angles make your dish look best.

Sometimes I look at the food photos I took before I learned about food photography and cringe, but you can avoid this awkward phase by following a few of these tips. Don't feel awkward about preserving the memory of your delectable dish - after all, we eat with our eyes first!


Image credit: Photos taken by the author, also used in her blog.