How To

How to Take the Most Instagrammable Summer Food Photos

taking photos of food for instagram on your phone

Capturing your Instagram photo is everything. Sharing a drool-worthy image not only gets your friends asking you “where can I get that?”, but increase your presence on social media. A nicer image means more likes.

In this post, we will discuss some key points to create a better image. Understanding the various aspects of what makes a great photo allows you to improve your photography skills and capture your best food picture. Check out some of our tips below to capture your most slurp worthy summer drink image!

Want to learn how to take Inspiring Instagram photos like this?

roasted vegetable lasagna in natural light by dessert for two

Photo: Christina/Dessert for Two

Lighting for Food Photos

Natural Vs. Synthetic Lighting. Whether indoors or outdoors, natural or synthetic light can give you a beautiful photo. A good tip though, is to not mix the two types of lighting. Set your mind to one and commit!

If you are using a camera on your phone, New Orleans based commercial food photographer Matthew Noel  suggests to focus the image on the darker part in the frame in order for the rest of the image to lighten.

Flash. Using flash tends to create a light-distorted image. Whether using natural or synthetic lighting, try to avoid the flash.

Be aware of when using your flash to ensure no other items in the shot are reflective and will create a bounce-back of the flash. You don’t want your image ruined by too much lighting!

Props and Backgrounds for Food Photos

Props. Having ingredients that your drink is composed of around is a great way to add detail.
Other ideas to include in the image frame can be mixing spoons, cocktail shakers, fun straws, a fun placemat, or even just your drink in a pitcher with glasses surrounding it.
Though it is good to note that too many props create clutters. Food blogger Kate of Cookie and Kate, recommends that if the props do not add anything to the image remove them. Clutter creates a messy photo.

Backdrops. To create an image with a dark background or pure white, it is common to use various board materials to create a synthetic background. Using pieces of wood, poster board, or even tile allows a backdrop and base to be crafted that eliminates any background noise from the area you are taking an image. This set-up also allows for lighting to be better directed.

For ideas on what materials can be used, check out the suggestions from A Beautiful Plate.

Angles for Food Photos

Try all the angles you can! Try a shot up close and focuses or from further away to capture your drink and some details of ingredients. You never know which angle will produce the best image, so click away!

What Camera to Use for Food Photography

Phone Vs. Professional. There is a debate about which is better, well as always, the answer is- it depends! If you are just about grabbing that Instagram worthy image, a phone camera is just right for you! The smartphone camera has come a long way and has some great features to grab light, focus an image, and capture a great photo. Smart-phones also give you the options to edit images right on your phone with various applications.
But if seriously considering amping up your food photography skills, you might want to look into a professional camera to capture your best foodie moments. Professional cameras give you the option to test out different lenses and create crisper images.

food photography lighting photo from pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

Tips on Food and Drink Photography

How to Take Better Photos of Your Cocktails

Cookie + Kate: Food Photography Tips for Food Bloggers

The Serious Eats Guide to Food Photography

A Beautiful Plate: 10 Affordable Everyday Food Photography Backgrounds

Our Favorite Food Photography Books

food photography nicole young

Photo: Amazon

Food Photography: Pro Secrets for Styling, Lighting & Shooting

Food Styling: The Art of Preparing Food for the Camera

Plate to Pixel: Digital Food Photography & Styling

Food Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots

A Sweet Pea Chef: 18 Food Photography Tips


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  • Reply Bhuboy April 26, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    Thanks for this very useful tips about photographing food.

    • Reply Hannah Bertiger April 26, 2017 at 9:02 pm

      Hope you take some great pictures!

      • Reply Bhuboy May 23, 2017 at 5:11 pm

        Thank I am a beginner photographer too, I just bought a new camera and a macro lens. By the way, i made a new blog post about food photography , was wondering if you can add me it to your resources above, would really appreciate it

        • Reply Hannah Bertiger May 24, 2017 at 1:06 am

          Thanks for sharing!

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