Picture-perfect food shots for Instagram posts

Salmon Appetizer

We’ve all salivated over food photos in our Instagram feed. The colors, the textures, the lighting, the mouthwatering detail; they all come together to create a photo that you can almost taste.  But clearly, some photos are better than others.  Following are some tips from the pros on how to shoot food pics that will leap off your Instagram feed.

Focus in on the food, literally

While that sounds like a “no-brainer”, it’s important to get close to your subject. If you’re using an iPhone 11 or 12, take advantage of the portrait setting to zero in on the center point of the dish, which will blow out the background and give your shot a dreamy feel.

Compose the photo

Remember that while Instagram supports both horizontal and vertical images, the medium still prefers a square orientation.  Be sure your image will fit within a square format and design the composition in that way.  Put on your food stylist thinking cap…capture the steam coming off a rich, thick chowder, let the ice cream drip down the cone just a little, leave the fork on the plate with a stylish cloth napkin nearby.  Experiment with utensil placement and add floral touches for an additional pop of color.

Beef Skewer Appetizer

Get up close and personal

Nothing looks more delectable than a food image that fills the entire frame.  Look for unique patterns and pleasing composition from the food itself–like the perfect sections of a lemon slice or marbling in a prime piece of beef.

Shortcake dessert closeup

Lighting is key

If possible, it’s best to shoot in natural light.  Natural light captures nuances that camera’s flash cannot.  Shoot near a window if the light is diffused. If not, throw up a gauzy piece of cloth to filter bright light.  If you’re looking for extreme shadows, shoot in direct sunlight at an angle for a dramatic effect.  If you’re at a candlelight dinner with friends, have them turn their smart phone lights on and aim them at the dish you’re shooting.  That way you’ll capture the ambiance and still be able to distinguish the dish in lower light.  You can also bounce light onto your food by using a white napkin or piece of paper between the light source and your subject.

Take multiple shots

Try the same shot from different angles, and move the plate around.  But don’t settle for just one take.  Many shots might turn out blurry or less than perfect, so shooting multiple shots can typically yield one perfect one.

When in doubt, shoot from above

Nothing gives you a “studio” look better than shooting a dish from above.  Almost all food looks great when shot in a clean, birds-eye style.

Tablescape from above

Break out the camera

While shooting from a smart phone can yield great results, there is still something special about pulling out the 35mm camera and capturing the image that way.  Most cameras today offer fully automatic focusing and lighting control, giving you a professional result no matter your skill level with the equipment.

Appetizer display

Start with gorgeous food

 New Orleans caterers like Messina’s Catering and Events are experts in preparing and displaying visually stunning dishes. They can also help with venue selection and best places within those venues for natural light and ambiance.  They have six decades of experience in preparing and presenting food that’s always ready for its close-up.

Don’t forget the hashtags

Once you get the photo that makes your stomach growl, don’t forget to add hashtags when you post!  Hashtags are clickable, and followable, and used to categorize content and make it discoverable.  Here are some of the most popular food-related hashtags right now:

#food  #foodporn  #foodie  #foodphotography  #eeeeeats  #foodporn  #foodgasm  #forkyeah