7 Tips for Taking Delicious Instagram Food Pics

Katie Sweeney

I just got the March issue of Bon Appétit in my mailbox, and it’s a pretty interesting issue because it’s the first time they have devoted the entire magazine to the culture of food. In the editor’s letter, Adam Rapoport explains that they are tapping “into the intersection of food and music and entertainment and politics and more. We poke just a bit of fun at how obsessed millennials are with eating (can you imagine saving up your hard-earned drinking money when you were 23 to go to a Scandinavian pop-up dinner?). And we break down the finer points of Instagramming. Because if you don’t snap and share a photo of your meal, it never happened, right?”

Being that I’m constantly Instagramming food, whether it's polenta hearts that I made at home or the fancy bouillabaisse I’m tasting at a hot new chef’s counter like Sous Beurre Kitchen in San Francisco, I was curious to see what the food magazine had to say. I thought you might be too, which is why I’m sharing their tips for taking perfect food Instagrams below.

  1. Always use natural lighting. As Bon Appétit  puts it, “thou shalt worship no other god besides natural light.”
  2. For the most flattering photo, shoot from directly above. For foods with height, like burgers, sandwiches, and milkshakes, shoot directly from the side. Avoid taking any shots with a 3/4 angle of the food.
  3. Edit the photo before you post. BA recommends using the app VSCO. Download their extra filter packs, then bump up the contrast, cool the temperature, and sharpen the image.
  4. Only post once a day—even when on vacation! You don’t want your followers to feel like they are being spammed.
  5. If you’re at a bad restaurant and the lighting is awful, don’t Instagram it. BA says it like this: “Don’t gram a dark photo just to broadcast the restaurant you visited. Even without the pics, it did happen!”
  6. Don’t tag your photos with overly used hashtags like #dailycortado or #avocadotoast.
  7. Want lots of likes? Photos of meals with vibrant colors, fried eggs, dripping foods (like caramel, maple syrup, and chocolate), sweets, and dishes that are universally liked are all good things to Instagram.

To really master food photography read From Snapshots to Great Shots.

What’s your secret to taking a great food photo for Instagram?

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