Admit it, we all can’t help Instagramming that pretty latte art in your coffee cup, or that steaming hot bowl of ramen, or that beautifully decorated plate of steak and leafy greens.
My Instagram feed will be full of these photos of food everyday, and somehow they have me wondering: how the heck do some people take amazing Instagram photos worthy of a magazine cover with just their phones?
If your #Foodstagram photos suck as much as mine, don’t cry. Here are some tips from Foodstagram pros all over the world and, surprisingly, they’re all easy to do.
- Let there be light!
Natural lighting does the trick. Instagrammers would typically ask to be seated on a table near the window so they can have access to natural light. This means, it is advisable to take photos during day time. But if you can’t, best to sit in a well-lit part of the restaurant. And don’t use flash.
- Composition is everything.
Probably why we fail at this is because we just randomly snap photos and post it without giving composition a second thought. Pros take the time to find the right angle, like overhead shots, close-up or a 45-degree angle (or maybe they don’t take the time, they just know). We’ve also been hearing about this “rule of thirds” thing, which is essentially a good way to balance your photo. Other food bloggers recommend leaving a negative space in your photos to add interest. Visual artist Charli Burrowes said that you should start by creating something that you would enjoy looking at before sharing it with others.
- A little styling goes a long way.
The food speaks for itself most of the time. But most Foodstagrammers often add a few elements like flowers, herbs, cutleries, wooden boards, colorful table napkins or candles. They add character and spice up your images. If you don’t find any, pros suggest putting a designer bag or a pair of sunglasses on the table.
But be careful with styling, though. You don’t want to overdo it and overshadow the real hero in this photo, which is the food.
- Use the right filters.
Instagram has built-in filters that you can use, Valencia is actually one of the most popular. But Foodstagrammers suggest veering away from the built-in features as some of them can reduce the quality of your photos instead of improving it. Food writer and baker Edd Kimber recommends using VSCO to edit pictures. Other editing apps you might want to try are Snapseed, Hipstamatic, Photo Mirror and Priime, which is a newbie in the photo-editing app game.
- Use your background.
You can never go wrong with overhead shots, but according to lifestyle blogger Niomi Smart, it would also be great to capture a little of your background scenery. If you’re eating by the beach, or somewhere that offers a breathtaking view of the city skyline, or in a restaurant decorated with quaint items, take a shot at a side angle to show a view of your food and a little of the wonderful surroundings.
- Imperfect is perfect.
According to Good Food editor Cassie Best, you should stop trying to make your food look perfect. Most of the time, food that’s messy, splotchy or drippy is often what looks more delicious. After all, food is a mishmash of protein and carbs and everything, so why bother? Keep it real and don’t fuss about the food too much.
- Develop your own style.
Some of the best Foodstagrammers have incorporated their own unique trademarks in their photos. It’s best if you create your own style or simply have a theme. For instance, shoot all your photos on that bright yellow plate together with that little potted succulent. Or go for a saturated tone in all your photos. Or always include a “book of the day” on the table with your food. Michael Zee, creator of the cult Instagram page Symmetry Breakfast, always takes photos of two sets of symmetrical breakfasts. His page is so popular it’s now turned into a cookbook.
- Have faith in your smartphone.
A great-looking photo has much to do with art as it has with your smartphone camera’s capabilities. As what food and travel Instagrammer Alpana Deshmukh suggests, maximize your phone camera’s functionality and interesting features. Explore your phone’s built-in filters. Use the gridlines. Know how to focus. Use the timer. Find the right exposure.
Take as many pictures as you can with your phone so you’ll be more attuned to how it works and know more about its strengths and limitations. As you become familiar with your phone’s camera, you’ll learn how to set it right, come up with the right framing, adopt your own style and create amazing food images.
And if you’re wondering which smartphone gives the most sumptuous-looking food photos, look no further—OPPO has the answer to that.
The new OPPO F3 is hands down your best bet if you want to be a pro Instagrammer. After all, it won’t be called the #SelfieExpert smartphone for nothing. Its all-famous dual selfie camera feature is the real deal: there’s one 16MP camera for taking selfies and one double-view camera for taking groufies. So you can take photos of you and your whole squad during that boodle fight. The 13MP rear camera is also great for taking photos in low light, so you’re sure to have good food photos even in a candle-lit dinner table.
Also, remember those shaky hands (I have this problem) that are keeping you from taking good close-up shots? F3’s clever anti-shake feature will—thank goodness—save your photo from being an abstract blur.
And since we’re talking about being a pro here, the OPPO F3 will actually make you an expert—with its “Expert Mode”. Once active, the Expert Mode lets you adjust the focus, ISO, exposure, white balance, and so on. So you’ll be snapping photos like a pro, just like that. All of these features packed inside a sleek metal body equipped with 64GB internal memory.
So let’s start snapping like a pro! Do you have any other tips to add? How do you take the perfect Instagram photo? Let us know in the comments below.