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5 Easy Tips for Taking Stunning Food Photos

Some expert advice to help you turn your food pics on Instagram into Insta-Stunners.

You’re not truly a modern foodie unless, when a delicious meal arrives at your table, you make it a priority to take a snap and post it for the world to see, like and comment on.

Most of us with an Instagram account think that we can take awesome pictures.  But what makes a photo of your everyday serve something that will stop traffic?

First and most obviously, it’s the presentation of the food because looking at a pile of mush isn’t pretty. But once you’ve got the items nicely plated, or at least arranged to your satisfaction, it’s time to go pro with that phone.

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1. Take a picture with your phone camera first before using Instagram

Now we know you love your Instagram app but don’t use it to take the actual photo! When you take photos within the Instagram app you can’t zoom in as well and it will automatically crop your image into a square.

Instead use your basic phone camera function to access features like HDR (which is great for shooting non moving objects) as well as control lighting, focus and colour.
Also, you’ll be left with a copy of your original photo so if you want to edit it from there, it will be in your photo library.

Some additional things to remember

  • Always tap on your screen to get your camera to focus on the object (you don’t want it to be blurry).
  • Try not to zoom in because it will affect the image quality. Always get closer to the  object rather than zoom in.
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2. Sometimes being the centre of attention is boring

Pay attention to composition. We usually like to place our subject in the middle of the frame, but playing around with it like could make the image more interesting and eye-catching.

Being in the centre could just appear too static and common, you know, “just like any other picture”. Whereas tastefully positioning the subject and surrounding objects slightly off centre will give your picture character.

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3. Find perfection in imperfection

Try something different! Think that you have to refrain from eating before getting snappy happy? Go ahead, take a few bites or steal a piece and take a shot.

Being perfect and untouched is great for menus, but we want to see that this gorgeous moist chocolate cake has been loved.

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4. Simple straight forward angles

Keep it simple! Remember that dishes that aren’t higher than 3 inches should be taken directly from above or at a slight angle from above. This gives a full panoramic view of their textures and colours.

It also lets the viewer feel like they are the one about to devour the offerings on the plate.

Remember you can also include your cutlery for an authentic setting. It will give the impression that this dish is not plastic and will be eaten!  

For dishes and and drinks that are higher than three to four inches, taking the picture directly from the side displays their impressive cross section and layers. Who wouldn’t want to suck down this milkshake cos it brings everyone to the yard?

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5. Find the light

When it comes to photographing food, harsh shadows and dim lighting are the enemy! Ideally you want ample soft light but in some places this can be hard - particularly in romantic or moodily lit restaurants.

Get creative and find the light! Perhaps slide your plate to a corner of the table that has a little more ambient light . Or if there are candles on your table try and introduce these to your shot for a warm glow.

Most importantly remember the golden rule - never use flash!

Free apps to give your pics the touch of a pro

Free photo apps give you instantly beautiful professional looking photos. Here are a few apps that the Intertain team swears by:

Adobe Photoshop Express (for iOS, Android, Windows Phone)
Just like the PC version, the mobile app has controls for cropping, straightening, rotating, flipping, colour adjustment, red eye removal, brightness and contrast. You can also add borders and frames to your favourite pictures. There are a number of cool filters to give your photo that extra oomph, but doesn’t take it overboard.

AutoDesk Pixlr (for iOS, Android, Windows, Mac)
AutoDesk Pixlr features over 2 million combos of effects, filters and overlays. If you love collecting and collating all your foodie pics into a collage, it has a feature that allows you to do just that with various layouts and backgrounds.

PicsArt (for iOS, Android, Windows)
This smart little app can edit photos to make collages and drawings. If you want a bit of an animated look in your seemingly edible images, try this app for its built-in social networking for photo sharing.

Foodie (for iOS, Android)
If you want your food snaps to look simply stunning, but don't want to take spend much time editing, then this is for you. While it’s got all the editing power of a regular photo editing app, it’s secret lies in it’s 24 filters developed especially for photographing food. From pasta dishes to a perfect latte, this app has you covered.

Published 11 May 2017

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