Foodstagramming: the act of taking photos of your food and posting it on social media. Reports claim that this pre-meal ritual is becoming a cultural norm and can actually make us enjoy the meal more. Sound familiar? Chances are you are already taking part in this phenomenon. With photography standards increasing and aesthetically pleasing photos filling the gram, the struggle for the perfect foodstagram is as real as ever.
Want to join the trend, but don’t know where to start? Here’s how…
Lights, camera, action
Emphasis here on lights – not all lighting will create prime conditions and the perfect shot hangs in the lighting balance. In the foodstagramming game, soft, diffused lighting will show off your meals, and with that being said natural lighting should be your go-to. This means fighting for the table near a window or opting to sit outside if conditions allow. If natural lighting isn’t possible, try using a friend’s phone for background lighting instead of electing for flash which can create harsh and unforgiving shadows.
Set the scene
Let’s talk about composition. What do you want to focus on? Do you have one plate, or a banquet of dishes? As tempting as it is to fill the frame, don’t be afraid of using negative space. Not only will this create a story – giving viewers a taste of the meal, you also won’t be struggling to cram everything in. As an added bonus you’ll get a series of photos out of one meal, giving you more content. Additionally, work your angles – try from directly above, or at a 45° angle to find your foods best side. If this means standing on chairs or bending over at weird angles, trust me this is a no judgement zone, do whatcha gotta do.
Fresh is best, not only for your grumbling stomach but also for the food’s photogenic lifespan. Straight out of the kitchen allows for ideal shooting conditions – I’m talking steaming burger buns, shiny glaze and crisp leaves, plus the quicker you get the shot, the quicker you can eat. Let’s avoid having any hangry friends and snap quickly for happy bellies.
Back to telling a story – this comes down to the props you use adding a personal touch. Think about subtle hand placements (bonus points for nice nail polish or arm candy), strategically cut into food, bunches of flowers and scattered placements of items such as car keys and wallets. This gives the photo great texture and levels, but be careful not to overdo it, let’s keep the balance – think of the food as the hero and your props as the sidekicks.
Add a pop of colour in whatever form you can get your hands on, this can come from the background, props, or the food itself. If your dish is lacking a punch of colour ask for a side of sauce, add a stand out drink to the frame or find a funky background. Here is where you must resist temptation, I know the urge to order the ‘pretty’ food item on the menu is tempting but try not to let that dictate your food choices – as you can make even the blandest meals stand out by adding colourful props.
Practice makes perfect
For the foodies out there who have perfected the art of the foodstagram – I take my hat off to you. Nailing the shot takes time, practice and a whole heap of patience. Don’t worry if you don’t get it right the first time, part of being a human means you need to eat, so lucky for you there will be plenty more foods worthy of a snap in your future.