6 Tips for Improving Your Food Photography Instagram Game

6 Tips for Improving Your Food Photography Instagram Game

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Interest in food photography is on the rise thanks to platforms like Instagram and the ability to snap a quick photo of every meal thanks to smartphones. If you’re seeking to one-up your food photography game, you may not need much to make an impact. Keep the camera you have and don’t add any gear to your toolbox. Instead, adjust your perspective and add simple elements to make your dish more natural-looking.

Here are six tips for different food photography angles that you can capture of a dish to get unique shots. All the photos were taken using a DSLR camera and natural light.

1. 45-Degree Angle Shot

This is the most common food photography shot out there: the 45-degree angle shot taken from the perspective of someone sitting at the table. There’s nothing wrong with this shot, as it’s the common view of a dish that most diners can associate with. But it’s a little boring in the sense that almost everyone with a camera will automatically snap this angle.

6 Tips for Improving Your Food Photography Instagram Game

2. Top-Down-Shot

Another food photography angle that is becoming increasingly popular, but can be a little more difficult to achieve is the top-down shot. It’s a bird’s eye view of the dish that can be hard to do from high tabletops or without a wide-angle lens.

This also may or may not be a flattering angle for your food (for example, typically not the best angle to photograph sandwiches or burgers). However, this shot is most effective for showing off a dish with lots of components that can’t be easily seen from the 45-degree angle. It also works very well for displaying a full table spread with many dishes.

6 Tips for Improving Your Food Photography Instagram Game - overhead shot

3. Macro Shot

Now we’re treading into slightly more advanced food photography territory. The macro shot is an extreme close-up image that often reveals fine details that aren’t easily seen by the naked eye. Historically, this type of photo was difficult to achieve without a proper camera and macro lens.

However, many smartphones and even entry-level cameras come equipped with a macro mode that enables you to capture close-up shots. Use that mode to get a new view of your food. Below is a sous-vide egg covered in caviar and flecks of gold. Given its small size, it is best photographed in macro mode to show off those small details.

6 Tips for Improving Your Food Photography Instagram Game - macro

6 Tips for Improving Your Food Photography Instagram Game - macro egg

4. With Another Dish

Don’t just photograph the dish by itself. Instead, show some scale or just add an extra element to the background by sliding in another dish. When possible, make that extra dish complimentary to your main subject. For example, a burger with fries, or a Caesar salad with entrees.

6 Tips for Improving Your Food Photography Instagram Game - other plates

5. Incorporate Restaurant Interior

Besides focusing on the food, take a look at your surroundings and see if there are any interesting elements in the restaurant that might make for a good photography background. The examples below utilize a restaurant’s unique wallpaper and a patio wall of ivy as makeshift photo backgrounds.

6 Tips for Improving Your Food Photography Instagram Game - ice cream

6 Tips for Improving Your Food Photography Instagram Game - background

6. Use Your Hands

After you’re done capturing beauty shots of a perfectly composed dish, take it apart! By adding hands or even utensils pulling food apart, this adds authenticity, as it shows someone actively engaging with the dish. In some instances, this action is almost essential for showing food in its best light. Consider pasta or noodles. Oftentimes, it is covered in sauce or garnishes, making it difficult to see the noodles underneath. This is easily addressed by having a fork or chopsticks dig in there and pull up a bunch of noodles. The same goes for burgers and sandwiches. Photograph it whole, but then slice it in half to show a more organic side to the dish.

In some instances, this action is almost essential for showing food in its best light. Consider pasta or noodles. Often pasta is covered in sauce or garnishes, making it difficult to see the noodles underneath. This is easily addressed by having a fork or chopsticks dig in there and pull up a bunch of noodles. The same goes for burgers and sandwiches. Photograph it whole, but then slice it in half to show a more organic side to the dish.

The same goes for burgers and sandwiches. Photograph it whole, but then slice it in half to show a more organic side to the dish.

6 Tips for Improving Your Food Photography Instagram Game - noodles

A noodle soup dish served as-is, where the noodles are very hard to see.

6 Tips for Improving Your Food Photography Instagram Game - noodles and hand

The above noodle dish being pulled apart by chopsticks.

6 Tips for Improving Your Food Photography Instagram Game - burger

A burger by itself.

6 Tips for Improving Your Food Photography Instagram Game - burger sliced

That same burger sliced in half and held up by a hand.

In Conclusion

Food photography needn’t be super complicated with tons of lighting and food styling. Instead, you can create beautiful and unique food photos by just changing your perspective and adding a few simple elements to give your photos a more natural feel.

Do you have any food photography tips of your own? Feel free to add them in the comments below!

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category

Suzi Pratt is an internationally published Seattle event and food photographer. Her photos appear regularly in Eater and Getty Images. She is also a blogger who teaches others how to run a successful photography business.

  • Hi there, Thank you so much for sharing this amazing 6 Tips for food photography.

  • Khaled Eid

    thanks a million, I’ll try those steps next time I go to restaurant 🙂

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