How to take better food photos for Instagram

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Instagram is full of amazing photos of the most delicious looking food in the world.  But how can you make your spaghetti bolognese look like that?  Well, the pros do things a little differently than you do. Here are a few simple tips that will immediately improve your food photos for your Instagram feed.


Composure

While Instagram now supports vertical and horizontal photos, the medium is still very much square. Take a moment to frame the image. Try the rule of thirds.

Start thinking like a food stylist. Wait a minute for the ice cream to drip. Take a scoop out of the cobbler or lasagna and leave the full fork on the plate. Ruffle the cloth napkin near the dish. Experiment with utensil placement.

 

Natural Light
Natural light allows for nuances in a photo that a phone flash does not. If you’re shooting your big baking success, take it to the window in your home that provides the most light. If that light is harsh, consider hanging gauzy curtains to filter the bright light. You can illuminate the shadowed portion of your dish with white poster board. To do that, have someone else hold the board so that the dish sits between it and the window, which will reflect more of the light onto the dish.

 

Unique Style
Pay attention to the kinds of images you like, and your favorite photos of the ones you’ve taken. Try to continue in that vein as you hone your style. Some people live to like supersaturated, high-contrast close-ups, while others desire the cool, blue hues of a Kinfolk table. The followers of our NYT Food account are partial to the eye-popping, the drool-inducing, the unfathomable mash-up.

 

Use a high-end camera
Many of the best photos on Instagram are shot with cameras, not phones. Cameras with manual settings offer better control in low light, which describes just about any restaurant after dark. You will have to use your desktop computer to crop the photos to size (1080 pixels by 1080 pixels). Email the photo to yourself and save the image to your phone. You can upload it from there.

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