Bring your food into focus
Pro tips to up the most important part of your Instagram game.
We might all scoff at the sight of others doing it in a busy restaurant, but we know that as soon as that spatchcock chicken with charred greens hits our table we’ll be whipping out our phones and thinking up the right hashtags #foodenvy. If, like us, you can’t let a single morsel of food pass your lips before it’s posed for some Instagram-worthy snaps, make sure you know how to take the best, most professional images that will get the stomachs of your friends and social followers rumbling.
Light, light, baby
“Stick to daylight wherever possible,” BBC Good Food in-house photographer, Emma Boyns advises. “If you’re at home try to shoot your food by a window and put something up like a white bit of paper or a white chopping board to bring out the shadows a bit. If you keep it to daylight, it’s going to have nice shadows and a natural colour balance. When people turn their flash on, that’s the worst thing you can do.”
Don't have perfect lighting? You can fine tune your image’s light balance by gently tweaking its brightness, contrast and saturation levels to give it more depth and pop before posting. For this, the professional-quality level adjustments in Enlight Photofox can help.
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Work the angles
“What sort of angle you should take depends on the food,” Boyns tells us. “Top down shots work nicely if you've got a good mix of foods, different shaped bowls or a whole table spread, but if you’ve got something with a bit of depth to it like a burger, it will look way better if you can see everything inside.”
“With something like a burger you would want that as the main star of the show so would either arrange it on its own, or you put something like fries or a drink in the background and keep the burger as the main focal point. With Portrait mode, it’s really easy to make that jump out on its own.” If you want to enhance this depth, Infltr builds on Portrait mode's filter options by letting you customise your own overlays in real time. Just slide your finger up or down to alter the filter's intensity before capturing your snap.
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Fine tune your filters
When it comes to filtering food photos, like the dish’s seasoning, less is more according to Boyns. “Stick to the filters that don’t look super sepia or faded,” she suggests, and here, Instagram’s famous filters and effects are your best bet.
“I sometimes just use the adjustments rather than a full filter, and just stick to pulling the shadows up a bit and bring the lux up,” she says. “It’s about enhancing the natural tones of the food rather than making it look artificial.”
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Do your research
You’re not the only one photographing your food, so see what other people are doing. And we don’t just mean your friendship group. Instagram is filled with as much professional-looking food photography as app cook books and food-focussed apps.
“Looking at other people’s photos for inspiration is really interesting and gives you fresh ideas,” Boyns explains. “The BBC Good Food app is a really good place to look at examples of food photography – and it’s not all mine.”